Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

When most folks begin to really apply themselves in the gym, they start to hear whispers about a mysterious compound called "creatine."

For better or worse, there are almost as many myths and rumors surrounding creatine as there are facts.

What is it? How does it work? Is it safe for vegans? Is it legal?

It can be quite disconcerting to hear all the rumors, but in truth, there's nothing to worry about.

Creatine, as it turns out, is a legit and safe nutritional supplement that will help you build stronger muscles.

What you need to know about creatine is laid out on this article. Below are the best vegan creatine supplements that you can buy on the market.

Our Top Vegan Creatine Supplements

1 - Transparent Labs Creatine (Editor's Choice)

Transparent Labs thumb

As you can tell from the packaging, Transparent Labs has not focused much attention on making it look fancy on a shelf. They're usually about practical packaging and the ingredients that are inside.

What was noted from my research is that so many people commented online about how much extra strength it provides compared to other supplements.

According to the company, this is due to the added HMB (β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate if you want to try and pronounce it). This is said to be a substance that can increase your pumps and endurance while working out.

Pros
  • 2,000 mg of β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) adds proven strength enhancement
  • 5,000 mg of creatine helps your muscles repair and bulk up
  • No artificial sweetening or coloring
  • GMO and Gluten free
Cons
  • More flavor options would be nice

When this compound is combined with creatine, it will help you recover faster and may even help you push yourself harder when working out.

You may also want to check out the article on the Best creatine supplement, where Transparent Labs Creatine is also the best pick.

2 - BulkSupplements

bulksupplements

BulkSupplements is a no-nonsense producer of high-quality nutritional supplements.

They are known for their bare-bones packaging, which allows them to pass on to their vegan customers the money that they are able to save from having a simple packaging.

Their Pure Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder will help provide the boost you need before working out.

If, on the other hand, you choose to take it after working out, then what you’ll be able to take advantage of is its muscle repair and rebuilding capabilities.

Mix it with water or with your regular protein shake to make it effective.

Pros
  • Verified 99.99% pure
  • 100% micronized vegan creatine monohydrate
  • Ideal for weightlifters and CrossFitters
  • Helps increase both power and endurance in the gym
Cons
  • Packaging doesn’t always stay closed on its own

As you make it through your workout, you'll finally understand what all the creatine hoopla is about. This particular powder has been lab tested for purity and is 100% vegan-friendly.

3 - Optimum Nutrition

OPTIMUM NUTRITION Micronized Creatine Bottle 150x150

Optimum Nutrition (also known as ON) is another well-known maker of dietary supplements that has been providing a high-potency powder for a number of years.

Their CreaPure powder is a pure monohydrate creatine for vegans and is claimed to be equal in purity to any other on the market.

As with the BulkSupplements, this comes ready to mix with your protein shake, juice or any other beverage. It’s also said to be effective when taken just a few minutes before you begin a strenuous workout.

The powder itself is not ground quite as fine as BulkSupplements, which makes it a bit tougher to mix with water.

Pros
  • Increases your power and endurance
  • Shortens recovery times after strenuous workouts
  • Ideal for health-conscious vegans
  • Increases energy reserves
Cons
  • Not ground as fine as some other creatine powders

But for thicker beverages like protein shakes, OJ and the like, then you’re not likely to notice a difference. ON Creatine Powder is 100% vegan-friendly and is sure to help you achieve a higher level of strength and fitness.

4 - MuscleTech Platinum Creatine

MuscleTech Platinum Creatine

MuscleTech Platinum Creatine is some of the most mixable powder you'll find anywhere.

That's because it's ground extra fine which gives it a pleasingly fluffy texture.

If you're a vegan and are looking for a creatine supplement that's pure and will mix well into your shake or other beverage, then you should consider this product.

MuscleTech produces their creatine supplement in a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) facility so you can be sure the powder you get is never contaminated by other products.

Pros
  • Monohydrate crystals are extraordinarily pure
  • Blends into your shake without leaving a trace
  • Flavorless, so it doesn't interfere with other tastes
  • Can help build muscle and increase stamina
Cons
  • Might cause diarrhea for some people

It's also free of sugar, salt, and artificial flavors, with no colors or fillers of any kind.

5 - Jarrow Formulas Creatine Powder

Jarrow Formulas Creatine Monohydrate Powder Bottle-150x150

Jarrow Formulas Creatine Monohydrate Powder is the secret ingredient that will help you power through your workouts.

This creatine powder is made pure and unsullied by additives, fillers or artificial flavors. It also helps increase the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that is essential for the creation of lean, hard, muscle mass.

With Jarrow Formulas Creatine, you’ll optimize your performance, recover faster, and avoid the type of day-after fatigue that used to dog you.

Pros
  • Pure, lab synthesized, monohydrate creatine
  • 100% free of gluten, soy, eggs, fish, peanuts or any other additives
  • Certified vegetarian-friendly
Cons
  • Comes in a huge container so if you don't like it, you're stuck with a kilo of it.

Instead of feeling spent you’ll feel energized.

6 - NOW Foods

NOW Sports Creatine Monohydrate Powder Bottle-150x150

NOW Foods wades into the supplement market with their own monohydrate crystal powder. The result is a vegan and organic creatine supplement that is 100% pure, free of modifiers, additives, coloring and allergens.

It’s designed to help increase your production of ATP so that you can maximize your workouts.

NOW Foods has dedicated themselves to typical commitment of high-quality and rigorous science.

Their plant-based supplement is one of the purest on the market. It is also ground to an ultra-smooth micro-fine powder that will mix effortlessly with water, juice, fruit smoothie or shake.

Pros
  • Certified vegan-friendly
  • Promotes robust muscle growth and fast recovery
  • Helps enhance brain function and clarity
  • No additives, fillers or artificial extenders
Cons
  • Recently shifted production to China

If you want to improve your workout results and feel healthier and more alert every day, you might want to try this out.

7 - Battle Ready Fuel

Battle Ready Fuel Pre Workout Product

I often recommend vegan protein supplements even to people who eat meat.

The reason is that pea and hemp protein is highly usable (you absorb more) as well as bioavailable, which means it is easy to absorb.

With Battle Ready, you get 25.5 g of protein per serving, and a large portion of that will actually be digested.

During my research, I also noticed that a lot of people were commenting on the effects of the added digestive enzymes.

Pros
  • 100% certified plant-based protein (25.5g per serving)
  • Digestive enzymes added to speed up absorption
  • Isolated from pea and hemp sources
  • No artificial or chemical sweeteners
Cons
  • Only available in Peanut Butter flavor

They seem to work to help speed up the absorption process. This means that the faster you can get fresh protein to your tired muscles, the faster the recovery will be.

What is Creatine & How Is It Made?

man preparing protein shake

Creatine helps your muscles utilize energy more effectively during periods of extreme exertion.

From a chemical standpoint, it is not dissimilar to amino acids. In fact, your body produces it from the amino acids arginine and glycine. [1]

Synthetic plant-based creatine like what you’ll find in the above supplements is produced in the lab from sarcosine and cyanamide (no relation to cyanide).

The two are combined with other compounds and heated in a reactor.

After that, it is pressurized and reduced to crystal form. The result is then dried and milled into an ultra-fine powder for consumption.

The vast majority of your body’s creatine is stored in muscles where, as we mentioned, it helps facilitate and enhance energy levels during periods of heavy activity, such as weight lifting.

Once released into your system, it acts as a catalyst to increase phosphocreatine in your muscles, which in turn is used to produce the biological equivalent to an energy cell, called ATP.

Related post: When to take creatine?

Do Vegans Need Creatine?

In a word, yes. While tests conducted on vegans and non-vegans show that both have equal amounts of creatine in the brain, the numbers diverged significantly when the attention shifted to muscles.

It was noticed that vegetarians have considerably less creatine in their muscle mass than those who eat meat on their diet. [2]

The good news is that vegan-friendly creatine can be easily synthesized in the lab, which means that there are lots of supplements out there for vegans.

The video below also shows the thoughts of Brian Turner, a Fitness Guru, if you need creatine in your body as a vegetarian.

youtube

Is Creatine Vegan-Friendly?

vegan

Again, because creatine can be quickly and easily synthesized in the lab from sarcosine and cyanamide, it is generally considered vegan-friendly.

That's because neither compound is typically derived directly from animal products.

But you'll want to check the label anyway and look for the stamp of vegan approval.

If I were to recommend one supplement for vegans who train, my choice might surprise you: I'd say creatine monohydrate.

- Tobias S., Crossfit Trainer, BJJ Practitiooner

What Are the Benefits?

As a vegan, here are a number of benefits from making sure you have sufficient levels of creatine in your system. The main ones are:

  • Increased strength and body composition - There have been a number of studies conducted on its effects and some have suggested it may increase energy production by nearly 10%. As such, vegans who take supplemental plant-based creatine stand a better chance of obtaining a strong, durable physique (although exact results tend to vary from person to person).
  • Anaerobic endurance - One of the primary benefits of a stronger, leaner body with enhanced musculature is that you’ll enjoy greater anaerobic endurance during workouts. This is true whether you’re hitting the weight room or the CrossFit box.
  • Increased cognitive abilities - It has the added benefit of enhancing cognitive function, so it's important that the brain always has a ready supply. People who supplement with creatine often remark on how much more alert they feel, even if they are slightly sleep-deprived.

Factors to Consider When Buying Creatine

fit lady preparing meal
  • Vegan-friendly - While you’ll often hear how vegan-friendly creatine is you’d still be wise not to take such claims at face value. Some variants are synthesized from animal by-products and, believe it or not, are sometimes marketed as “organic creatine."
    In any case, manufacturers use animal products and by-products because it’s typically easier and cheaper to do it that way. As such, you'll want to always look for the "vegan-friendly" label before you buy a this type of supplement. If you don't see it, you should try a different supplement.
  • Powder - The micro-fine powder created during creatine synthesis in the lab, and added to protein shakes and other beverages, is preferred by many over gelcaps. That’s because gel capsules can sometimes be made from animal by-products. Therefore, either always stick to its vegetarian, powder form or make sure your gel capsules say "vegan-friendly" or "100% vegan" or something similar.
  • Monohydrate vs. Nitrate - Monohydrate is considered a purer form of creatine by many, whereas nitrate — while it undoubtedly absorbs faster than monohydrate — is considered by just as many to be a compromised form of the compound, and one that has not been adequately studied to determine whether it presents any type of health risk or not.
  • Micronized vs. Not - Micronized creatine is one whose particles have been broken down into almost indiscernible small units. The smaller the particles, the easier its solubility in water or in other liquids. Smaller particles, however, do not fundamentally change its properties.
  • Additives - You may find creatine mixed with other compounds in an attempt to make it more appealing to a wider audience. This is fine, except if you are vegan because then you'll want to make sure that none of those additives are derived from animal products or by-products.

Our #1 Vegan Creatine Powder Is...

The top creatine brand for vegans would usually exhibit a high degree of purity, are produced in GMO-free facilities by reputable manufacturers, and will help you ramp up your workouts to unheard-of levels.

In other words, Transparent Labs Creatine HMB is one of those supplements that work.

It’s smooth, made from vegan-safe ingredients, refined to an insane level of purity, and will mix beautifully with your beverage of choice. It will also leave you some money for other things like new weight lifting shoes.

If you’re someone who cares about your health and wants to get pumped then you might do good to get yourself some of Transparent Labs Creatine HMB.

Transparent Labs thumb

Transparent Labs Creatine

Our #1 Vegan Creatine Supplement

  • 2,000 mg of β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) adds proven strength enhancement
  • 5,000 mg of creatine helps your muscles repair and bulk up
  • No artificial sweetening or coloring
  • GMO and Gluten free
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of October
Click For Best Price
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About the author

  • Thanks for explaining the benefits of stimulant free pre-workout supplements. But are there other cons of taking supplements with caffeine aside from the jitters? I’m torn between with or without caffeine.

    • Hey Robert! That’s a nice question you have there. Other known side effects of taking pre-workout supplements with caffeine are increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, dehydration, insomnia, adrenaline fatigue, and some experience energy crash. I highly recommend that you go non-stim to avoid these side effects while powering up at the gym.