Creatine is one of the most popular supplements with proven benefits for improving muscle performance, strength, and growth, as well as increasing athletic performance. It’s also been shown to be one of the most effective and safest supplements to use.
But knowing the best way to take creatine is debated, and you’ll see pros and cons to both powder and pill forms of creatine. So here I’m going to explain these pros and cons so that you can make the best decision for you when using this supplement.
What Is Creatine?
To briefly cover what creatine is, as I’m sure many of you will already be familiar with it. Creatine is naturally occurring within the body as a compound similar to an amino acid. The majority of the creatine found in your body is within muscles, in the form of phosphocreatine.
To increase the amount of phosphocreatine, you can take creatine supplements. By increasing the amount, your body is then able to produce more of what’s known as ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate).
ATP has a crucial role in exercising, given the role it plays in energy.
Essentially, when your body has higher levels of ATP you’re able to perform better during a workout. As your workouts progress though, ATP is depleted especially with muscular contractions. Therefore, increasing these levels through the use of creatine supplements can be hugely beneficial to improving your workout performance.
Is Creatine a Pill or a Powder?
Creatine comes in different forms. As a supplement, it’s most commonly available as either a powder which you mix with liquids like water and drink as a shake or in the form of a pill. There are pros and cons to both these types of creatine.
Which Form of Creatine Is Most Effective?
The quality of creatine shouldn’t vary between powdered forms and pill forms. As a result, creatine should be just as effective in terms of goals for muscle growth and workout performance regardless of whether it’s in a powder or pill form.
Although creatine should be equally effective regardless of whether you’re taking it as a pill or as a powder, there are pros and cons to both to think about. A lot of this will come down to your own personal preference. I’m going to cover the main advantages and disadvantages of both now so that you can decide what works for you.
You should also check out this video which talks about some of the pros and cons of creatine powder and pills:
Let’s firstly look at the pros of creatine powder. One of the main pros of creatine powder is the cost.
Creatine powder is cheaper than pill forms of creatine when you compare it gram for gram, as well as the number of uses you can get from the average box of powder compared with a pack of pills. So in terms of overall cost-effectiveness, powdered forms are cheaper.
Powdered forms can also be easily combined with other powdered mixes, like pre-workout or post-workout mixes, as well as other powdered supplements, like L-glutamine. If you’re already using powdered forms of products, then using a powdered form of creatine makes sense as you can easily combine it into your existing routine.
There’s also some debate around absorption. Creatine powder is rapidly absorbed by the body as soon as you drink it. Creatine pills are encased in a pill coating, which needs to be dissolved first before your body can absorb the creatine inside. So you might have seen it suggested that creatine powder is better as it’s absorbed faster.
However, there are drawbacks to powdered forms of creatine. If you’ve ever used powdered forms you’ll know that what you measure out isn’t what you end up consuming as it often clings to the sides of the container as well as the mixer or bottle you use.
Unflavoured powdered forms can also taste pretty badly. This is especially the case with that part towards the end where the creatine hasn’t fully mixed or dissolved into the liquid which often tastes like chalk.
Although these aren’t major complaints they are things to consider when deciding between pill and powder forms.
Creatine Powder Pros
- Easy to mix with other supplements
- Fast absorption
Creatine Powder Cons
- Doesn’t taste great
- Difficult to mix and dissolve correctly
In comparison to creatine powder, creatine pills have their own advantages.
One of the main advantages of creatine pills is that they’re easy to transport. You don’t have to worry about transporting a bulky box of powder as well as shakers or bottles like you do with powdered forms. This is ideal if you’re looking for something that’s easy to carry around.
As I mentioned, another advantage is knowing exactly how much you’re taking, as unlike powdered forms there’s no risk of losing product in the glass or shaker. If total accuracy is something that’s important to you when it comes to supplements, then pill forms of creatine may be the better option.
Another plus is that as pill forms are accurately measured out and don’t need to be mixed like powdered forms they don’t require any cleanup and produce less product waste.
Like powdered forms though, there are some drawbacks to creatine pills. The main drawback with creatine in the form of a pill is the cost. When you look at gram for gram, pill forms are more expensive than powdered forms.
This increased cost can quickly add up, especially when you’re in the loading phase and taking higher doses of creatine each day. So using pill forms is likely to cost you more.
It’s also been suggested that creatine pills are less easily adsorbed or that they absorb more slowly than creatine powder. However, the difference in absorption is unlikely to be big, considering that the pill coating is going to start being dissolved once it’s in your system.
There’s also nothing to suggest that the speed of absorption makes any difference to effectiveness when it comes to creatine.
Creatine Pill Pros
- Easy to consume
- Easy to Transport
- Provide accurate doses
- Don’t need to be measured or weighed out
Creatine Pills Cons
- Less easily absorbed
Creatine Pills vs Creatine Powder?
The bottom line is that choosing between powdered and pill forms of creatine is a matter of personal preference. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Powdered forms are cheaper, can be easily combined with other supplements, and are more easily absorbed. Pill forms on the other hand are more convenient to transport, require less clean-up, and contain more accurate dosages. Choosing between the two then will be a matter of personal preference.
Creatine is one of the most researched and most popular supplements on the market so it’s not surprising that this supplement is available in many different forms. The two most commonly manufactured forms of creatine are creatine powder and creatine pills.
Both are effective forms of supplementation and when it comes to the question of creatine pills vs creatine powder – the best option will depend on personal preference.
Creatine powder is cheaper and easy to mix with other supplements but creatine pills are more convenient and provide a more accurate dosage. There is no specific best option so consider both pros and cons and see which option is best for you.
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