Complete Guide To Creatine Supplements for Muscle Mass

does creatine expire

The truth behind what creatine supplements actually do

When it comes to purchasing your supplements like your protein powders and pre-workouts, don’t forget to grab your creatine as well. Creatine supplements have increasingly become more popular as athletes everywhere want bulk up and really add to that muscle density. As a great supplemental aid to adding some serious gains, the effect creatine’s benefits can have on you is immense and should not be overlooked. For many fitness enthusiasts, creatine is considered one of the most popular and effective supplements for building muscle. As a smart and safe way to see gains, creatine supplements are a must have in your routine.

With so many supplements and supplement companies claiming they know everything and that their product is the best, it can be challenging, and quite frankly, overwhelming as you search for the best supplement to boost your goals, putting on that strength and muscle mass. With creatine being so popular and widely used, finding the right product for you is not as hard as you may think. With proper care and a serious work ethic, creatine can give you gains like the best of them.

So, while this decision can be difficult, this complete guide to creatine supplements will hopefully help change the way you view and shop creatine products. With so many choices yet such great benefits, the right supplement is out there.

What Is Creatine?


Creatine is an amino acid found in your muscles and your brain. The stores of creatine your body has are primarily used to:

  • Spark energy and improve performance
  • Increase strength and size during heavy lifting or exercise
  • Avoid muscle protein breakdown.
  • Retain muscle mass for men more effectively than leucine alone

Though you can get creatine in your diet, it is not always enough, and by taking a supplement, you work to restore those fuel stores so you’re ready to tackle any workout that comes next. With similar properties to other amino acids, creatine is great for muscle growth and recovery while also working towards a host of other bodily functions.

How Creatine Works In The Body

Your body’s energy source of ATP allows you to focus on taking down any grueling workout. During that workout, you use all that energy and potentially dip into those vital energy stores. A byproduct of using this energy then becomes ADP, which is essentially useless for the body. Enter creatine. By taking a creatine supplement, you are working to, in a way, recycle that useless ADP into reformed ATP, which if we go back to the top of this paragraph, is our body’s energy and helps maintain muscle mass.


Benefits of Creatine

Let’s take a look at some of the great benefits creatine has to offer.

  • Promote strength and size: By causing your cells to inflate, you provide for more muscle pumps and increased blood flow through those overworked muscles (1).
  • Boost performance: By refueling those energy stores and enhancing your power output, you support growth and recovery to allow for better overall performance (2).
  • Improve metabolism: Through the control of insulin sensitivity and glycemic control, it provides fuel and helps lead to fat loss.
  • Increase cognitive function: Increasing oxygen utilization in the brain, you can boost memory and processing speed during those grueling workouts (3).


Different Types Of Creatine

There is not just one type of creatine, there are actually multiple types of creatine, and each will have a different effect on your body. Let’s take a look at creatine in some of it’s forms and what exactly they will do for you.

Creatine Monohydrate: Since this is a pure form of creatine, it is the most popular and it can work to increase endurance and remove lactic acid from your muscle more efficiently. On top of that, it will aid in muscle growth and calorie burn (4).

Creatine HCL: This is creatine bound to hydrochloric acid which will work towards increased bioavailability and reduce side effects (5).

Creatine Anhydrous: The most potent of forms, it can increase muscle mass and enhance performance.

Tri-Creatine Malate: A combination of creatine and malic acid, this will help your body absorb more creatine, thus leading to higher ATP levels (6).

Creatine Pyruvate: A great mix of creatine and pyruvic acid, it’s good absorption properties are great for growth and recovery.

Magnesium Creatine Chelate: A unique combination of creatine and magnesium, this will enhance endurance and reduce muscular fatigue to keep intensity high.


Safety & Effectiveness

Creatine is one of the cheapest, most effective, most researched, and safest supplements around. With so many studies supporting these finding and many athletes gravitating towards creatine to beef up their strength, size, and performance goals, creatine is widely accepted as a great supplement for men looking to improve. With this occurring naturally in the body, you are only lending a helping hand to make sure those fuel stores stay stocked and your gains are taken care of (7).

Best Time To Take It

For men, taking creatine after a workout is the general consensus among many experts. This is because it will work to restore those depleted energy stores while aiding in recovery for that increased growth. However, some say before a workout will allow your muscles to put out maximum effort. Regardless of what you decide, whether it be pre- or post-workout, creatine can work wonders for your gains.

Side Effects

Many people state that creatine causes side effects such as hair loss, gynecomastia, acne, or liver damage, but these are side effects commonly associated with anabolic steroids. Creatine is not an anabolic steroid, and the main side effects that could potentially come from it are stomach discomfort and dehydration. That being said, you need to make sure that you are staying hydrated while using the supplement.

Our Choice of Creatine

Many creatine supplements exist and many of them are actually great products. But for your gains, you should only be looking for the best of the best because your body works hard and needs proper fuel. This creatine supplement from Transparent Labs is an awesome product to help get you to where you want to be.

Nutricost Creatine Monohydrate

Get all of the benefits of micronized creatine without breaking the bank and activate muscle building quickly.

Nutricost Creatine Monohydrate is a creatine monohydrate supplement that aims to provide users with a convenient and high-quality source of this essential compound for a great price. Nutricost Creatine boasts a simple and effective ingredient list, with 100% creatine monohydrate as the sole active component. Nutricost even boasts the purity of its creatine supplement by subjecting it to rigorous third-party testing, so you know exactly what you are getting and what it does. This commitment to quality ensures that users can trust the product’s potency and integrity.

Nutricost Creatine Review

Price: $21.15 for 100 servings

Use the promo code GENIRON10 for 10% off! Check out our individual review for Nutricost Creatine Monohydrate!

Check out our list of the Best Creatine Supplements for some great creatine products!

Wrap Up

Creatine has the power to really work wonders for our training and performance goals. As a widely researched and popular supplement, it is no wonder why so many have gravitated towards creatine. With many benefits, scientifically backed research, and incredibe safety and effectiveness, creatine can work absolute wonders for you. This complete guide will hopefully help you navigate the world of creatine so the choice for you becomes a little easier. Look into a good creatine supplement today and see what this can do for all of your goals.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Transparent Labs and Envato


  1. Francaux, M.; Poortmans, J. R. (1999). “Effects of training and creatine supplement on muscle strength and body mass”. (source)
  2. Kreider, Richard B. (2003). “Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations”. (source)
  3. Avgerinos, Konstantinos I.; Spyrou, Nikolaos; Bougioukas, Konstantinos I.; Kapogiannis, Dimitrios (2018). “Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials”. (source)
  4. Kerksick, Chad M.; Wilborn, Colin D.; Campbell, William I.; Harvey, Travis M.; et al. (2009). “The Effects of Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation With and Without D-Pinitol on Resistance Training Adaptations”. (source)
  5. De Franca, Elias; Avelar, Bruno; Yoshioka, Caroline; Santana, Jeferson O.; Madureira, Diana; et al. (2015). “Creatine HCL and Creatine Monohydrate Improve Strength but Only Creatine HCL Induced Changes on Body Composition in Recreational Weightlifters”. (source)
  6. Sterkowicz, Stanislaw; Tyka, Anna K.; Chwastowski, Michal; Sterkowicz- Przybycien, Katarzyna; et al. (2012). “The effects of training and creatine malate supplementation during preparation period on physical capacity and special fitness in judo contestants”. (source)
  7. Jagim, Andrew R.; Stecker, Richard A.; Harty, Patrick S.; Erickson, Jacob L.; Kerksick, Chad M. (2018). “Safety of Creatine Supplementation in Active Adolescents and Youth: A Brief Review”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.