Creatine Pills vs Powder
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Let’s face it:
You’ve heard of creatine, and you want to try it. It’s a safe supplement that works.
But you’ve probably noticed that creatine comes in different shapes and sizes. A standard comparison relates to creatine pills vs powder.
So, if you feel a bit unsure which form to go with, read on. We’ll break it down for you today.
Creatine Pills vs Powder: What Makes Them Different?
Creatine pills and powders are essentially the same product, but in different forms. In both cases, you cover your creatine needs and saturate the organic acid inside your muscles, allowing you to reap the benefits. (1)
The primary difference between the two is that powdered creatine gets absorbed more quickly. In contrast, your body has to break down the pill before it can absorb its nutritional value.
So you’ll realize the same benefits from powder vs pills in equal doses. You’ll just receive the nutritional benefit quicker with powder.
It’s a similar effect to the reason hospitals use IV’s to administer medication. There is no delay with IV’s – the medication is infused directly into the bloodstream. Powders are not as quick and efficient as IV’s, but it’s the same concept: speed and efficiency.
Price Difference: Pills vs Powder
Creatine powder is also more affordable than pills. For reference, you can pick up around 500 grams of creatine for $12 to $15, where the same dose of creatine as pills would cost you two, even three times as much.
So for most people, creatine powder is a better option. It’s less expensive than pills, and also absorbs into your system quicker. The only downside is that you do have some extra work in mixing the powder with a liquid. But again, for most people this is well worth the time for the extra benefit that powders offer.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an organic acid, which your body produces naturally. It does so by combining three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine. Most of the creatine we store inside ourselves can be found in our muscles, but we also have trace amounts inside the liver, kidneys, and brain. (2)
Supplementing creatine is beneficial because we can’t saturate our muscles through natural production and food intake alone. By supplementing with it, we saturate our muscles. Doing so upregulates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the energy currency of life.
As we exercise, ATP demands jump rapidly, and the body has to produce these molecules quickly. Creatine helps because we store it primarily as phosphocreatine. For your body to get energy from ATP, it breaks it down into ADP, which releases energy. Your body then converts ADP back to ATP for further use. Creatine lends its phosphate group and accelerates ATP synthesis, which improves our performance and intra-workout recovery.
What’s The Best Time to Take Creatine Powder?
Creatine timing is a hot topic today, and everyone wants to know what the best time to take creatine. Generally speaking, you can take your creatine whenever you like. The reason for that is, creatine doesn’t offer immediate benefits.
That being said, the ideal time to take it on your workout days would immediately before, or immediately after your workout. This will add maximum value to your creatine intake.
And on your non-workout days, take it anytime you prefer. The key is to be consistent and ensure that you take it, so your body is properly fueled.
Creatine works by building up in your system, so being consistent with the intake matters far more than timing it to perfection.
Protein Powder vs. Creatine Powder
While seemingly similar, protein powder and creatine powder have unique roles in the body. As discussed above, creatine is an organic acid that consists of three amino acids. It aids energy production and can even have a positive impact on the brain. (3)
Protein powder provides us with protein, which delivers amino acids. Once ingested, amino acids aid many processes inside the body, including:
- Hormone and enzyme synthesis
- Cell, neurotransmitter, and antibody production
- Growth and repair
Protein is also essential for muscle repair and post-workout recovery. In contrast, creatine is mostly beneficial during our workouts.
As far as timing goes, we can take our creatine whenever we want. We can also take protein powder when we choose, but having it before and after training might be beneficial.
Having protein powder before our workouts can support our performance and kickstart the recovery process early on. Post-training protein powder also aids recovery and prevents muscle protein breakdown.
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- Corleone, J. (2019). Facts on creatine capsules vs. powder. LIVESTRONG.COM.
- Cooper, E., & Finn, C. (2020). Your guide on using creatine for muscle and strength gains, plus the best supplements to buy. Men’s Health. https://www.menshealth.com/uk/building-muscle/a750240/what-is-creatine/.
- Preiato, D. (2019). Creatine and whey protein: Should you take both? Healthline.