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Do you want to build muscle, strength, or athletic performance?
If you’re vegan, you’re probably aware that a plant-based diet does not have any creatine in it, as creatine is only found in animal sources such as meat and fish. So, the exercise and muscle-building benefits you could obtain from increased creatine phosphate stores are not there. This is where a creatine supplement may be highly beneficial.
To quickly summarize, here are the best vegan creatine supplements:
#1 – Transparent Labs Vegan Creatine HMB (Editor’s Choice)
#2 – Bulk Supplements Vegan Creatine Monohydrate
#3 – Naked Vegan Creatine
#4 – Optimum Nutrition Vegan Creatine
#5 – EFX Sports Vegan Creatine
#6 – Vegun Nutrition Creatine
Read the entire article for a more in-depth analysis of our best vegan creatine supplements, as well as key insights and considerations on the topic of creatine for vegans.
What To Consider Before Buying Vegan Creatine
There are a few things you should consider before pulling the trigger on creatine.
Always keep an eye out on the ingredient label.
Some creatine supplements contain various ingredients (besides creatine) to support each other and further improve your body’s endurance and recovery.
However, that shouldn’t sacrifice the amount of creatine it should have. Some creatines have a little amount of creatine and have a lot of fillers, sugars, and artificial ingredients. Avoid those.
Finally, the ingredients must be synthetically made, because the only natural sources that contain creatine is both meat and fish.
Type of Creatine
The best type of creatine is creatine monohydrate.
It is the most researched and best-supported form of creatine with multiple studies behind it. No other form of creatine has more than five studies, and enough evidence to support their effectiveness. This includes hydrochloride, nitrate, Kre-Alkalyn, and more.
There is only one exception. If creatine monohydrate gives you stomach cramps, go for other creatine forms like hydrochloride or nitrate, as they may be easier on your stomach.
Value for Money
I’ve always been very conscious of the money I spend and it is still a highly important aspect for me when I’m planning to purchase anything.
What’s the point of paying $35 for creatine that contains the same ingredients and dosages as the one that costs $15? Well, the brand may be more reputable, and the contents may be purer, and the supplement may have been fully tested and is exempt from harmful properties.
However, until I find compelling reasons to choose the $35 supplement, I’ll choose the better-valued one every time.
Before writing any of the short reviews, I needed to organize data based on reports given by people to the brands. Therefore, the following short reviews about vegan creatine supplements are a compilation of all that information.
Best Vegan Creatine
Transparent Labs Vegan Creatine (Editor’s Choice)
Transparent Labs is not only a highly reputable company in the United States, but they’re also very transparent about every ingredient used on their products, including dosages.
This includes ingredients not required to be on the label, such as stevia and blue raspberry flavor. In addition, they also include the optimal dosages of each primary ingredient: Creatine, β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (HMB), and BioPerine.
HMB provides you with a similar effect to creatine monohydrate, as it has been shown to increase strength, lean body mass, and decrease fat mass, when used in combination with resistance training. Bioperine, on the other hand, is an absorption enhancer that makes each nutrient more bioavailable to your body, and this, of course, includes the nutrients within the supplement.
Transparent Labs has truly made an effort with this amazing supplement, which is easily apparent with the 400+ 5-star reviews acting as a testament to its quality.
Last but not least, if you decide to order this supplement, you can choose between unflavored and the three flavors: Strawberry Lemonade, Tropical Punch, and Blue Raspberry.
All of which are very delicious.
Bulk Supplements Vegan Creatine (Best Budget Option)
If you want a creatine supplement that provides you more value than the money it costs, this creatine powder by Bulk Supplements is super affordable with 400 servings per container.
However, each serving is about 2500 milligrams of creatine monohydrate, so you need to adjust if you want to do load up on creatine. Still, when you compare the amount of servings between this and supplements of the same grade, the price on this one is unbeatable.
In fact, that’s one of the most mentioned aspects when you first glance at the reviews. So, if you want to save more money over time, this is probably the best option.
However, anything that is affordable also has its costs, and according to some of the complaints put forward by some reviewers, there are some things this supplement doesn’t have:
- It doesn’t include a scoop, so make sure you have a TSP measure
- It’s not easy to rezip the bag
- And the taste is not the best (though, that’s the smallest of complaints, to be honest.
Other than those complaints, this supplement is still a very attractive offer, especially when we consider the price and popularity it has among buyers.
Naked Vegan Creatine
According to the manufacturer, the Naked Creatine is the highest grade, fastest dissolving, and rapidly absorbed creatine monohydrate available.
When you check the ingredient label, there are no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors.
What I love the most about Naked Nutrition is their transparency. They are open about the levels of heavy metal contamination in their product.
As you can see from the testing results above, their heavy-metal contamination levels are within safety standards, which is a very much appreciated report by Naked Nutrition.
However, this supplement is not the most affordable, and according to reviewers, the serving size is actually mislabelled. Apparently, each serving amounts to 3 grams of creatine, and not 5 grams.
Keep that in mind when calculating your daily intake.
Optimum Nutrition Vegan Creatine
When you think about supplements, the name Optimum Nutrition comes to mind.
By going with the Optimum Nutrition brand, you know that the content is 100% micronized creatine monohydrate, with no weird fillers or substances added to the mix.
Plus, for a brand with such reputation, the creatine is actually quite affordable. With 5 micrograms per serving to load your muscles, you have enough quantity for 4 months.
However, if you decide to follow the instruction on the package, and happen to take the creatine three times a day, it won’t last you more than 40 days.
So, in terms of value, there are supplements that give you a better bang for your buck.
Still, Optimum Nutrition is a brand you can trust with a fair amount of ease.
EFX Sports Creatine
KRE-ALKALYN EFX is a creatine monohydrate synthesized to pH 12.
According to the manufacturer, their patented pH-correct creatine stabilization technology allows them to buffer the creatine to pH 12, producing a stable creatine molecule that your body can assimilate and use more efficiently.
This also means that you don’t need to do a creatine load because the supplement is effective in storing up creatine phosphate, unlike average creatine supplements.
According to EFX sports, 24 athletes from the Bulgarian National weightlifting team participated in a double-blind clinical study, comparing Kre Alkalyn and standard creatine monohydrate.
After 60 days, the group of weightlifters supplementing 7.5 g of Kre Alkalyn per day experienced an overall strength increase of 28.25% in comparison to the ones taking standard creatine.
However, this is the only study put out by the company, so we can only evaluate the results by taking a glance at the reviews. And according to reviewers, the supplement is definitely high-quality, and easily provides you with high levels of creatine phosphate.
Vegun Nutrition Creatine
This premium performance creatine by Vegun Nutrition, and unlike the previously mentioned supplements, it’s actually more than just creatine.
According to the manufacturer, their formula contains 5 grams of Creapure creatine, 2,5 grams of Betaine, 2 grams of Peak 02, and 50 milligrams of Himalayan Salt.
Therefore, it does more than just increase your creatine phosphate stores.
To better understand what this supplement does, we need to have a close look at each component and understand what they do:
This being said, this creatine contains 30 servings and is way more costly than the other supplements. Even though it has 2-3 more special ingredients, the price may not be worth it.
What is Vegan Creatine?
Creatine is a molecule naturally produced by the body. It’s made in the kidneys and completed in the liver with the help of three amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine. However, our body only produces creatine in small amounts and actually excretes it daily.
That’s why people look for external sources such as supplements and creatine-rich foods.
Unfortunately, creatine-rich foods are meat and fish, so as a vegan, you can only find creatine in purely synthetic creatine supplements.
How is Creatine Manufactured?
There are two ways creatine can be obtained: naturally or synthetically in laboratories.
Natural creatine is not vegan because it is obtained from animal-based sources such as beef, red meat, tuna, and salmon. Fortunately for vegans, synthetic creatine exists.
Synthetic or Monohydrate Creatine is produced in laboratories by combining Sarcosine and Cyanamide. Sarcosine is sodium salt, and Cyanamide is a white organic amide compound.
Keep in mind, “Cyanamide” is different from Cyanide.
Although these chemicals are not fit for human consumption when isolated, when combined, a compound that is safe for human consumption is created.
They’re combined in a steel reactor, where they are heated under pressure to form creatine in crystal form. These crystals then go through a centrifugal process that removes any unwanted residual particles.
Finally, to increase dissolubility and absorption rate, the creatine crystals are milled and converted into fine creatine monohydrate powder.
How Does Vegan Creatine Work?
Once creatine enters the body (or is produced by the body), it first binds with a phosphate molecule to form creatine phosphate.
ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the body’s energy source, and when your body oxidizes macronutrients, it does so to create ATP. Also, ATP is the energy that stimulates almost every process in the body by hydrolyzing a phosphate group.
When a phosphate group is hydrolyzed, heat energy is given off and used to drive several processes, including muscle contraction.
Because phosphate is used as fuel, ATP becomes ADP (adenosine di-phosphate), and you are left with a rather useless byproduct created from ATP hydrolysis.
Because ADP has no value to the body, you need to re-introduce ATP (or convert ADP into ATP) by using creatine. The creatine donates its phosphate group to the ADP to re-create ATP, which allows you to store more ATP and subsequently have more fuel to burn during training.
So, What Does Creatine Actually Do?
Supplementing with creatine allows you to produce more ATP, allowing you to increase the intensity of your workouts, especially when it comes to short, fast, and explosive motions.
Creatine is also a fuel source within itself. Whenever you perform an anaerobic activity (such as lifting weights), your body’s preferred source of energy is creatine phosphate. By supplementing with creatine, you are essentially storing more of that particular source of energy.
Creatine also contains an anabolic component that can hydrate muscle cells and consequently increase your protein synthesis. Besides, by holding more water, your muscles tend to look bigger and more pumped up.
A creatine supplement is majorly popular for its muscle-building effects, but there are also many other benefits associated with taking creatine.
What Are The Benefits of Creatine?
For the great majority of people, creatine is used to boost athletic performance.
In fact, it’s also one of the world’s most popular and effective supplements for building muscle and strength. Let’s take a quick look at all its awesome benefits:
Helps Muscle Cells Produce More Energy
Conversely, creatine phosphate helps create adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule your cells used for energy and all basic life functions.
When you exercise, ATP is broken down to produce energy.
Improves High-Intensity Exercise Performance
Because creatine directly affects ATP production, that means it can also positively impact high-intensity exercise performance.
In fact, numerous studies are proving that creatine can benefit:
- Spriting ability
- Muscle endurance
- Muscle mass
- Resistance to fatigue
- Brain performance
- and more.
Plus, creatine does not only benefit high-level athletes, but it can also benefit average people.
Aids Muscles In Other Functions
Besides being able to produce more energy in the cells and enhancing your workout performance, it also aids your muscles by activating and boosting the formation of proteins that create new muscle fibers that lead to muscle growth.
Besides, it’s capable of raising the levels of IGF-1, a hormone that promotes the increase in muscle mass. Also, because it increases water retention, your muscles gain more volume.
If you’re in the gym trying to build muscle mass, then creatine is definitely useful.
In fact, one study found (over the period of 6-weeks), that participants who used creatine added 4.4 pounds (2kg) of muscle mass, on average, when compared to the control group.
May Help Fight Neurological Diseases
Apparently, a key factor that influences several neurological diseases is the reduction of creatine phosphate in the brain. Because creatine can increase levels of creatine phosphate, it may also be capable of slowing down the progression of these diseases.
Research conducted on animals, suggests that creatine supplements may help with the following neurological diseases:
- ischemic stroke
- Alzheimer’s disease
- brain or spinal cord injuries
- as well as Parkinson’s disease.
However, because a lot of this research is conducted on animals, the validity of the results cannot be clarified until more studies are conducted on humans.
May Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Some evidence suggests that creatine may actually help lower blood sugar levels.
For instance, a 12-week long study examined the effect of creatine on blood sugar levels after a high-carb meal. People who combined creatine and exercise had better sugar control than people who only stuck to exercise.
Apparently, the short-term blood sugar response to a meal is an important marker for diabetes, and the quicker your body clears sugar from the blood, the less risk of diabetes you have.
This being said, more data is required to evaluate the long-term effects of creatine on blood sugar levels.
Can Improve Brain Function
It turns out that our body requires a considerable amount of ATP to perform brain-related tasks that require speed when processing data.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, creatine can increase the creatine phosphate stores in your body, which are used to produce ATP.
Because ATP is also associated with brain health and function, the role of creatine in improving brain function is significant. In fact, creatine may also help increase brain function by increasing dopamine levels and mitochondrial function.
Different studies were conducted on older individuals, which found that supplementing with creatine may improve memory, boost brain function, and protect them against neurological diseases, as well as reduce age-related muscle loss.
May Actually Reduce Fatigue
Creatine supplements can also reduce fatigue and tiredness.
For instance, creatine reduced fatigue in athletes taking a cycling test and has been used to decrease fatigue when exercising at a high-intensity.
That happens mostly because creatine provides your brain with additional energy and by increasing dopamine levels.
Does Creatine Have Side Effects?
Many studies have been conducted with creatine and they’re pretty much established to be a safe supplement to take. In fact, leading researchers who have studied creatine for several decades conclude that creatine is one of the safest supplements in the world.
While you may find the occasional person experiencing stomachaches, that is usually due to over-consumption of creatine, or by taking it without food on your stomach.
Also, although you can easily find claims about creatine’s side effects and safety hazards, none of them are supported by actual research.
How Much Creatine Should I Take?
If your goal is to build muscle, strength, improve your performance, and boost up your recovery, then you may be wondering about how you should take creatine for the best results.
And if you wish to know how much creatine you should take, then you should start to be familiar with the term creatine loading.
The theory regarding creatine loading is the following:
Early on, you want to take more creatine so your muscles start storing creatine phosphate in greater quantities. Then, you can reduce that consumption because your muscles will be saturated to their max with creatine phosphate.
Why should you do that? Well, studies have shown that it’s the most effective way of incresing creatine levels in the muscle. Although, the results may not turn out to be the same for everyone, so stick to what works for you whenever you can.
Put very simply, here’s how you can creatine load:
- For 5 days, you consume 20g of creatine to load your muscles;
- After that period ends, you reduce your intake to 3 to 5 grams of creatine per day.
If you’re not too adamant about taking 20 grams of creatine per day, the other way to go about it is by simply taking 3 to 5 grams of creatine per day until your muscles are loaded. That process should take between three to four weeks.
The reason I say this is because some people may feel stomachaches, therefore they may not be able to take 20 grams per day. If that happens, stick to 3-5g of creatine per day.
That’s the strategy most people follow, at least according to what I’ve observed.
That brings us to…
What is the Best Time To Take Creatine?
Typically, there are four options: before a workout, after, both, and anytime.
Researchers have analyzed the differences between taking creatine at distinct times and the differences are very minor. What is most important is consistency.
At the same time, there are also researchers suggesting that taking creatine at specific times may grant better results. The common recommendation is after a workout to maximize benefits.
However, there really isn’t a consensus on this one.
Should I Supplement With Creatine?
That’s quite a pertinent question.
The regular non-vegan person does not need to supplement with creatine.
However, that’s because they include a little bit of meat in their diet, which allows them to consume and build up their creatine phosphate stores.
Vegans, on the other hand, do not consume any meat or fish, which is why it may be beneficial to supplement with creatine to steal some of the benefits we’ve mentioned earlier in this post.
This being said, I believe as long as you follow a healthy plant-based diet, you shouldn’t need to supplement with creatine or any other supplement. You can find every nutrient (required to build muscle) on a plant-based diet.
Though, if you want to take advantage of the muscle and strength-building perks that come with creatine, that is fine to do so as well.
Alright, that wraps up the article on vegan creatines, and also a quick guide on the benefits of creatine for people who desire to build muscle and strength. (That should be, you?)
While I would love to hear what you have to say about any of the products we’ve recommended, I’d rather know the following:
- How was your experience taking creatine?
- What results did you see?
- Am I showering creatine with too much praise when there is no creatine in a vegan diet?
Because I’ve always been a gym rat, I’ve experimented with different supplements once upon a time. However, now I just stick to pea protein, because I’m at a stage in my life where being more toned (and seeing abs) is more important than going for the most muscular appearance.
Let me know in the comments about some of the questions I’ve made.
Editor’s note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The content of our articles is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or exercise routine, or trying a new supplement.