Whenever we grow some muscles without any change to the overall body system, creatine pops into our minds. In contrast to many supplements and drugs, creatine is organic and doesn’t interfere with body chemicals.
But what if you don’t want to take creatine or any supplement and have all-natural muscles? Are there alternatives to creatine?
Beta-Alnine, BCAA, Whey Protein, Hydroxymethylbutyrate, or Nitric Oxide supplements are the most effective and safest alternatives to creatine. You can also get it from natural sources of creatine like red and white meat, fish, and egg. Pick the source according to your preferences.
So, why do we avoid creatine sometimes, even with all the benefits? Find out!
6 Alternatives To Creatine
Our body makes creatine, but this isn’t enough for the energy to convert into cell growth. If you want to grow muscles faster, especially if you are an athlete or bodybuilder, you will need to rely on supplements. At least 5 g of creatine daily can help you grow muscles quicker and boost your overall performance.
However, many people doubt taking creatine regularly due to its side effects. Hence, you can try any of these supplements similar to creatine that can work for the same purpose.
This is also a naturally created body compound, namely an amino acid. It works to increase carnosine synthesis levels in the muscles. This acid is the one to make your muscle grow so that it doesn’t get tired quickly.
So, when you take this amino acid as a supplement, you add more to it to increase muscle-building activity. You are also more focused in your workout sessions. This feels more like caffeine.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
These are amino acids with a branched chain. Not only do they build cells for muscles, but they also repair them. Besides, they reach the muscles directly. So, the supplement is beneficial for more protein in the body. This also tastes amazing.
If it tastes bad, the BCAA must have gone bad or expired. It’s better to discard them.
As you gain more energy, you have more focus mentally. The amino acids as supplements are also natural and safe to take regularly. They don’t remain in the liver for long and go straight to the cells to provide energy.
This is one of the most common supplements taken by bodybuilders. When you are taking whey protein as a supplement, it helps you to rebuild the tissues that may tear from an intense workout. This also ensures that you don’t suffer from protein deprivation. You need more protein to grow large muscles.
Different types of whey protein that you can take as creatine alternatives are:
- Whey protein concentrate: Low in fat and carbs
- Whey protein hydrolysate: Protein is hydrolyzed for quick absorption
- Whey protein isolate: A more processed protein to remove lactose and fat
This isn’t any protein, but you can take this in supplements for strength and reduce body fat. But this is more suitable for regular people occasionally. Professional athletes or bodybuilders will need something more effective.
Nitric Oxide Supplements
Other than protein, you can also try nitric oxide supplements. This helps to lower fatigue and have more oxygen travel to the cells. Your blood vessels will become larger for this purpose and to prevent blood clots or plaques.
People taking this supplement have fewer problems with muscle soreness and high blood pressure from workouts. It can also help ease diabetes.
Some leafy greens like spinach or celery can also provide nitric acid. But for supplements, you have options like Primary Nutrition Nitric Oxide, Nitric Oxide Booster by Snap Supplements, and LA Muscle Vasculator.
Other Amino Acids
Amino acids form proteins, so having a good amount of these chemicals is essential. So, a supplement form, either in powder or liquid, is useful for muscle development, repair, stamina, and burning fat.
You also feel energized with less pain. Some useful amino acids you can take artificially are NOW L-Glutamine and Essential Amino Energy by Optimum Nutrition.
5 Best Natural Sources Of Creatine
Creatine is undoubtedly a beneficial supplement for improving overall health with added energy. However, is it indispensable for all? Creatine has side effects and other issues that might make you skip it.
Health-conscious people worldwide are now mixing creatine with regular foods like overnight oats and beverages to boost the effect.
But how to have the benefits without creatine? How about trying out foods that you can find naturally? All are organic and have little or no side effects. You will be surprised to find these natural alternatives to creatine supplements. They are already inside your pantry or freezer.
There is 0.9 g of creatine in red meat. So, whether it is ground beef, hamburger, or steak, you can gain a lot of creatine and protein from red meat.
Some pork items, like chops, tenderloin, ham, etc., are excellent sources of creatine. Once cured, any pork item can offer 0.6 grams of creatine.
How about some seafood or sushi? Not all fishes have sufficient creatine, but salmon and herring are definitely on top of the list with 0.9 g creatine. So, you can have around 1.5 g or more creatine with salmon sushi.
A tuna is also a great option with half a gram of creatine. Another option is cod with ⅓ of a gram of creatine. Raw fish will give more creatine, but you can eat cooked filets for almost the same amount.
Last but not least, we have chicken, everyone’s favorite. It is in the same line as tuna with ½ gram of creatine. But chicken is alright for every consumer, with minimal health hazards. Hence, you can eat more chicken per day for extra creatine.
If you are a vegetarian or want something that isn’t meat, then you can eat eggs. However, eggs don’t have as much creatine as fish or meat. In that case, you will need to eat a lot of eggs.
Can Regular Food Sources Offer the Same Result as Creatine?
Foods rich in protein, like meat and fish, are said to have a lot of creatine. However, these don’t come close to creatine supplements. Usually, people take supplements to speed up the process of muscle building.
But this doesn’t mean that eating creatine-rich foods can’t have the same effect. Earlier, bodybuilders relied on protein-rich foods and were very good in shape. Supplements do have the most creatine. But natural foods are going to keep you away from side effects.
Creatine Supplements for Women
Creatine powders are equally beneficial to women as men for energy, effective workout sessions, and bodybuilding or shaping. If you are specific about the best options in the market, try out any of these:
|Creatine Supplement||Use and Effect|
|Transparent Labs StrengthSeries Creatine HMB||Increases muscle tissues and overall strength with no artificial additives.|
|Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder||The best option for improving overall health and workout performance.|
|Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Capsules||The best option for taking creatine in capsule form.|
|RSP Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate||No artificial flavors or additives.|
|BPI Sports Best Creatine||Suitable for professional athletes and bodybuilders for advanced use.|
|Thorne Research Creatine||Perfect choice for athletic women.|
|Nutricost Creatine Monohydrate||Gluten-free capsules.|
|Evlution Nutrition Creatine 5000||Improves both physical and mental health, increasing focus.|
Creatine For Vegan
Although creatine as a supplement is vegan-friendly, some of them might be made using extracts from animals. Besides, if the supplement is in capsules, there will be gelatin, which isn’t a vegan choice.
Hence, you can take any of the following options
- Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
- Genius Creatine Powder
- BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate
- NOW Sports Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate Powder
- Kion Creatine
These are guaranteed to be vegan. It is better to go for powder versions as these won’t have any gelatin or other animal extracts.
Why Should You Avoid Creatine?
Even if there are various benefits of taking extra creatine, it is still processed and not natural food. There are good reasons to avoid creatine, even for bodybuilders. No wonder some of these effects will make you think about alternative to creatine.
Increase in Water Weight
When mixing the powder with water and taking it regularly, you gain weight from water. Creatine transfers energy from the cells to the muscles inside the body. So, water is also moved to the muscles during this process.
Excess creatine in the body leads to hair loss. Although this is yet to be proven, creatine does cause more DHT, which usually contributes to baldness. So, hair loss is still possible even if this isn’t common.
What Can You Take instead of Creatine for Hair Loss?
Studies have said there might be a relationship between creatine and hair loss. It is also claimed to be a side effect. Perhaps this happens as DHT levels get higher after taking creatine. But this alone can cause hair loss and subsequent baldness. It might occur due to other medications or illnesses.
Besides, if creatine were to cause hair loss, then any supplement would have the same result. If you are concerned about hair loss, then better to avoid taking supplements. Consult your doctor before you choose creatine or any of the substitutes.
The best thing you can do is go for natural food sources to increase muscle development and provide energy. Otherwise, limit creatine intake to 20 gm per week.
Internal Organ Damages
People with liver, heart, or kidney problems should think carefully before taking creatine. Long-term use can cause damage to these organs, especially from doses higher than 20g. Subsequently, it may lead to kidney stones.
Decrease in Sports Performance
While you plan on building muscles with creatine, it can also backfire after excess use. You will gain water weight and have bloating. This can slow down your athletic fitness, where you perform poorly.
There is a popular belief that creatine enhances the power to be intimate with your partner, but the finding is not conclusive yet.
Another common but wanted problem is to have digestive issues. This can be gas, loss of appetite, and even nausea. But this isn’t usually the case with small or regular doses as recommended.
When you are taking creatine, you must skip the coffee. Otherwise, it can be fatal. If you want to take some caffeine, do it rarely or consult your nutritionist before drinking either creatine or coffee.
Creatine vs Protein: Which One is Best For You?
So, which supplement works the best? Regardless of the reason, either bodybuilding or regular health-boosting, check if creatine or protein works best for you.
|Increases energy for intense exercise.||Increases muscle tissues with cell growth.|
|Taken before exercise or sports.||Taken afterward.|
|Complications from higher doses.||Tolerable even at high doses.|
|Only offers high volumes of creatine.||Good source of regular protein and amino acids.|
|Recommended for those who do intense training and workout.||Recommended for anyone with protein deficiency.|
Creatine is very useful for the body, but there are protein alternatives if you don’t want to take it artificially. It is also a form of amino acid to help develop muscles and overall growth. Whether you are a sportsperson or a regular exerciser, creatine will help you perform better.
If you are bothered by the potential side effects, go for protein and amino acid supplements. But the best way to prevent health risks and still grow muscles is definitely natural protein sources.
I started my professional career as a sports medicine consultant in Rola, Missouri. My primary role was to suggest suitable supplements for my patients according to their pre-existing conditions and lifestyle goals. I believe a healthy lifestyle is the most important if you want to make your life really meaningfull.