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Creatine is responsible for ATP production which is a substance that fuels your muscles and helps them energize your body. There are plenty of creatine-based supplements out there, but if you’re not that into them, you will be glad to know there are other choices to consider that provide the same or similar results. Below, you will discover some of the best creatine alternatives worth considering.
- 1 The Best Creatine Substitutes to Try – Top 5 Choices
- 2 1. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
- 3 2. Whey Protein
- 4 3. Beta-Alanine Amino Acid
- 5 4. Nitric Oxide Supplements
- 6 5. Other Types of Amino Acids
- 7 Creatine Overview
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions: FAQs
- 9 Let’s Recap
The Best Creatine Substitutes to Try – Top 5 Choices
1. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
If you’re an avid health and fitness supplements consumers, you have probably heard by now of BCAA powders, although, most people don’t give these essential compounds much of a thought. Still, they provide plenty of positive effects on your organism which is why you should think about supplementing your daily diet with a natural, effective, and safe BCAA-based product.
Amino acids, in general, are known to develop protein blocks in the body, and BCAAs make no exception. Each branched-chain amino acid group provides an almost specialized benefit. Some of them such as leucine support muscle growth and repair. Others increase your endurance and improve mental focus. Unlike other kinds of amino acids, BCAAs don’t remain stored in your liver for a very long time. This means they can go directly to your muscles and fuel them with energy. What’s even better is the fact that, nowadays, BCAA supplements are quite tasty as well as affordable.
There are three main categories of branched chain amino acids:
Here are some of the most important benefits that BCAAs offer to consumers:
- They lower both body and mental fatigue during workouts
- These elements reduce muscle soreness after an intense physical activity
- They may lead to muscle mass growth
- BCAAs are said to regulate your blood sugar levels
- They help consumers lose weight a lot easier and quicker
- Some specialists even state that BCAAs might lower the risk of liver conditions
BCAA Supplements to Consider Buying
- Nutrology BCAA Natural – it comes with great dosages of valine, leucine, and isoleucine. It is free from artificial sweeteners and flavors. All the ingredients are non-GMO and sourced from plants;
- GNC BCAA Complete – provides an advanced and complete amino acid profile that supports muscle growth and recovery. One serving has 7 grams of BCAAs, and the ratio is 2:1:1. This supplement enhances the production of electrolytes which are very beneficial for body hydration
- OWN PWR BCAA Powder – one container of this supplement offers 60 servings of micronized BCAAs. It is an unflavored dietary supplement so you can add it to any smoothie, shake, or beverage of your choice. One serving provides 6 grams of branched chain amino acids
2. Whey Protein
This is by far one of the most popular ingredients added to fitness and health products. It is a very common type of protein included in the formula of muscle growth and bodybuilding supplements. In many situations, without the help of protein powder, getting enough of this compound to grow lean muscle mass might be tricky, especially for those of you who have busy lives and are always on the go. Also, protein powders are less expensive, and they can be bought from a wide range of sellers. On top of all that, these products also come in many different flavors, most of which have a decent taste but that depends a lot on the brand.
Consuming the proper amount of protein is crucial because during training sessions, your muscle fibers are tearing and protein helps them grow and rebuild themselves. In fact, these are the main tasks of any protein-based supplement. Furthermore, without protein, you will never be able to get more muscular. To be honest, a diet that’s poor in protein leads to several issues like muscle mass loss.
There are several different types of whey protein, and supplements’ manufacturers must specify what kind of whey protein they add in their formulas:
Different types of whey protein
- Whey protein concentrate – comes with a low amount of carbs and fat
- Whey protein hydrolysate – because this compound goes to the process of being partially hydrolyzed, it is also known as whey protein’s “predigested” form. It is quickly absorbed by your body
- Whey protein isolate – this type of whey protein is even more processed in order to take out all the lactose and fat content
But, let’s see more regarding this element’s benefits and why you should consider taking protein supplements:
- Whey protein supports a healthy weight loss and lowers one’s cholesterol levels
- It might even prevent a number of health conditions such as cancerous diseases, respiratory problems like asthma, and cardiovascular issues or complications
- This element is known to regulate blood sugar level
- It has strong anti-inflammatory properties
- May treat or alleviate the symptoms of type 2 diabetes
- Boosts your body’s immunity and antioxidant defenses
- Lowers hunger and cravings
Popular Whey Protein Supplements
- Gold Standard Whey by Optimum Nutrition – ON whey protein is definitely one of the most popular and most effective whey protein products on the market. It has been that way for over 24 years, and it still remains a go-to creatine alternative. Consumers can choose from no less than 20 different flavors like key lime pie and cake donut
- Pro JYM Supplement Science – this is actually a protein blend made from whey, eggs, and casein that fuels your muscles and helps them recover a lot quicker. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the delicious flavors of this supplement: gingerbread cookie, banana cream pie, chocolate mousse, etc
3. Beta-Alanine Amino Acid
Just like creatine, this amino acid occurs in our organisms, in a natural way. The blocks that proteins create are called amino acids. Well, beta-alanine is nothing else but a type of amino acid. You are probably wondering how this compound works. It increases your muscles’ carnosine levels. Don’t beat yourself up if you have never heard of this element because, until recently, I didn’t know what it was, either. Carnosine is an acid that is present in the muscles and positively impacts them. What I mean is that carnosine slows down the rate in which muscles get tired. Therefore, this amino acid enhances one’s athletic performance.
Consuming beta-alanine supplements is good for the following things:
- You can use this element to improve your physical performance as well as your workout capacity
- It is also consumed to boost stamina and endurance while also lowering the fatigue state
- Leads to lean muscle mass growth
- Improves the general physical functioning, especially when it comes to the elderly
It is recommended to consume approximately 4.8 grams of beta-alanine per day if you want to achieve all the effects detailed above. This amino acid creates a positive domino-like effect. If you consume it, you will gain the ability to train longer and harder. This further leads to boosted body strength and a more muscular figure. So, as you can see, beta-alanine was linked to improved muscle endurance, and I am not the only one saying that. These facts are backed by science because there were several studies performed to discover the real effects of this amino acid.
- Transparent Labs Beta-Alanine – this is a pure beta-alanine powder that is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. One container comes with 50 servings, and you will get 3 grams of beta-alanine per portion
- Pure Beta-Alanine by Bulk Supplements– this is an affordable yet pure dietary supplement. The product’s purity and quality are guaranteed by lab tests and independent verifications. It lowers fatigue and boosts your body power
4. Nitric Oxide Supplements
As most of you probably know, creatine’s main benefit is given by its capacity of producing more energy to fuel your muscles. Still, there are also other alternatives to consuming creatine that can help you obtain the same or at least similar results. One of these other choices is nitric oxide supplements. Their compounds feed your muscle mass with more oxygen which lowers fatigue and increases their endurance. Therefore, you will be able to exercise more.
But, how exactly is nitric oxide doing all that? For starters, it causes vasodilatation during which your blood vessels become wider. Due to the vessels’ new width, they can transport more oxygen to your muscles. Long story short, nitric oxide, which is nothing else than a colorless gas, is very beneficial for your body and I am not talking just about your training performance but also regarding health and well-being. Due to the fact that it widens blood vessels, this compound might prevent blood clots and plaque from forming.
Most important benefits of nitric oxide:
- Lowers muscle soreness
- Improves your general workout performance, making it more productive
- Lowers blood pressure
- Treats or prevents erectile dysfunction
- It is said to help people manage type 2 diabetes
Most nitric oxide supplements are supposed to be safe, but sometimes, there might appear several mild discomforts such as diarrhea or dark red stool.
Besides supplementing your diet with nitric oxide products, you can also increase this compound naturally by doing the following things:
- Consume more veggies that are rich in nitric oxide – cress, lettuce, spinach, celery, etc.
- Raise your antioxidant intake. Some of the best antioxidants are vitamins C and E, glutathione, and polyphenols
- Engage in regular, if not daily, physical activities to get your blood flowing
Nitric Oxide Supplements You Should Consider
- Primary Nutrition Nitric Oxide – this muscle building support comes in tubs of 90 capsules each and it is a popular yet affordable supplement;
- Nitric Oxide Booster by Snap Supplements – this is a GMP product (good manufacturing practices) and the facility in which it is processed is registered by the FDA;
- LA Muscle Vasculator – this is a strong and effective nitric oxide supplement with an award-winning formula.
5. Other Types of Amino Acids
You can find amino acids in proteins. As I previously mentioned, amino acids are nothing else but blocks of muscle tissue created by protein. These days, you can find amino acid supplements everywhere and in plenty of varieties, and they can come in different forms: tablets, powders, liquid, etc. Amino acid supplements are one of the best creatine alternatives worth considering. These compounds help one’s organism recover on its own after an intense workout, they also increase your energy and endurance. What’s even more important is the fact that amino acids play a major role in a lot of biological processes.
The foods that contain high amounts of amino acids are fish, eggs, dairy products, quinoa, raisins, olives, chicken, beans, avocado, peanuts, leafy greens, etc. So, besides taking supplements, you should also make sure to include these foods in your daily diet as much as possible. Below, I have listed some of the most essential benefits of amino acids that should convince and encourage you to consume them:
- Support muscle mass development
- Boost one’s endurance and stamina
- Speed up the process of fat burn
- Lower the state of exhaustion
- Increase your concentration and mental focus
- Provide a quicker muscle recovery
- Lower muscle soreness; etc.
Amino Acid Supplements to Try
- NOW L-Glutamine – there are 120 capsules in one container of NOW L-Glutamine and the amount of this amino acid per serving is 500 mg. The recommended dosage varies between 1 and 3 capsules per day, taken between meals
- Essential Amino Energy by Optimum Nutrition – this supplement provides a complete amino acid blend (glutamine, arginine, valine, taurine, leucine, alanine, etc.) that aids in muscle growth and muscle recovery
What It Is
Creatine is a compound that’s naturally found in our muscle cells. It fuels the muscles and helps them create more energy, especially when we’re engaged in high-intensity workouts. Creatine leads to the production of another substance which is called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This element enables muscles to contract while also preventing tissue damages. You can also increase your creatine levels by consuming foods that are rich in protein such as fish and meat.
- Boosts your energy and endurance
- Supports many muscle functions
- Improves your athletic performance
- Supports lean muscle mass development
- Might prevent certain diseases like neurological conditions
- It can regulate blood sugar levels
Natural Sources of Creatine
- Red meat
- Organ meats – kidneys, liver, etc.
- Dairy products
- Muscle cramps
- Water retention
- Gastrointestinal pain
- Weight gain
Frequently Asked Questions: FAQs
If you are not a shake lover or want to vary a little, you can also add creatine to your recipes. You can add it to your orange juice, or even make some peanut butter cups or other healthy snacks with it.
Like everything else, creatine should be taken in the right doses. If you take it correctly, it will have amazing results, but if you exceed the recommended amount, it can produce kidney and liver damage, weight gain, bloating, muscle cramps and digestive issues.
You can find some percent of creatine in your meals. Especially the ones recommended for athletes or people who exercise. Some of these meals are chicken, cod, liver, tuna, pork meat and salmon. Even though you can find creatine naturally, if you want to experience the real creatine effects, you will need to add a creatine supplement to your diet.
Although creatine consumption is pretty much safe and it doesn’t lead to severe side effects (the ones mentioned in the list above don’t happen too often), some people simply aren’t on board and would like to take other types of supplements that offer the same muscle-related results. It doesn’t really matter which of the alternatives presented in today’s post you opt for. What truly matters is the fact that you will achieve your desired fitness and muscular goals by taking BCAA supplements, beta-alanine products, or whey protein dietary options.
- Cellucor BCAA vs Cellucor Alpha Amino: Which is Better for You?
- The Best Creatine Supplements for Women [My Best 3 Picks for 2018]
- RSP Amino Lean Review: Is This Supplement Good Enough?
- How to Take Creatine Monohydrate Effectively
- When to Take Creatine – Taking Creatine Before or After a Workout?
Last updated: December 16, 2019
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Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.