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Creatine Pills vs. Powder
Which is Better for Muscle Growth?

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: April 30, 2021

Creatine has become one of the most popular muscle growth sports supplements on the market, and the most common question we get from clients is whether they should buy a creatine powder or capsule form.

It might seem like a trivial question, but our team had a closer look at both categories to see if there was a fitness difference in the creatine pills vs. powder debate.

Here's what our research found.

Pros And Cons of Creatine Powder

two bowls of different pills

Creatine powder looks just like whey protein, and many bodybuilders prefer the powder form because it can work out cheaper.

This is especially the case when you're in a loading phase where you might aim to take several times the daily dose [1].

That's much easier with a powder than having to swallow loads of creatine pills.

The most common powder is creatine monohydrate, and I personally like the fact that you can easily blend it into a smoothie.

Also, when you drink creatine, the content absorbs faster in your stomach, meaning that your muscle cells may get a faster boost as well.

Pros
  • Powder is usually the cheaper option
  • Easily blend it into a morning smoothie
  • Tends to absorb into your system very fast
Cons
  • Difficult to mix with water
  • Not suitable for bringing with you

On the downside, our research and experience have pointed to two issues. First of all, some powders tend to be difficult to mix with water leaving them clumpy.

And then there's the issue of transporting it if you want to take it just before a gym session later in the day.

They aren't major issues but can be a bit of an inconvenience.

Pros And Cons of Creatine Pills

glass filling powder on table

Creatine pills have the major advantage that you can bring them with you anywhere you go.

If you're an evening gym goer after work, then transporting a few creatine capsules is likely easier than having to pack a tub of powder.

I would also generally recommend not mixing any fitness supplement many hours before you plan to take it as it tends to deteriorate.

Capsules may also make it easier for you to get the exact measurement every single time.

Because you only take a few grams, even a small spill of powder might change how much you take.

Pros
  • Convenient to bring with you in your gym bag for taking at any time of the day
  • Easier to get the exact right dosage every time
  • Tends to have less wastage from spilled or difficult to reach tubs
Cons
  • Not ideal for loading phases with multiple pills
  • Slower to digest and absorb

On the downside, our personal experience has been that capsules aren't great for creatine loading, as you end up having to swallow loads of them.

Also, keep in mind that for bodybuilding efforts, you want to get a fast boost just before training, and a capsule supplement might take a bit longer to digest.

See the best creatine products on the market.

3 Main Differences

powder scoop in a glass, jar filled with pills

First, let me say that the ultimate result of taking creatine powder or pills is basically the same.

Despite some claims we've seen, there is no evidence to suggest a difference in the effect on muscle fluid retention with either forms [2].

The only main differences are these.

1. Convenience

Pills give you a convenient way to bring any kind of health and fitness supplement with you. If you have a busy workday, then bringing a few pills in your bag is an easy option.

2. Absorption

Powder supplements tend to be easier for your stomach to absorb, and therefore faster to get processed and delivered to muscle tissue. Keep in mind that the speed of delivering amino acids is really only a concern for professional athletes

3. Choosing One For Your Lifestyle

The easiest way to pick the right creatine supplementation is to look at it from a convenience point of view.

It's much easier to improve your exercise performance by timing a pill rather than having to try and transport and measure the right amount of powder.

“There is substantial evidence to indicate that creatine supplementation during resistance training is more effective at increasing muscle strength and weightlifting performance than resistance training alone.” - Eric Rawson, Researcher, Department of Exercise Science and Athletics, Bloomsburg University

Even if a capsule creatine monohydrate form takes a bit longer to digest, you can simply adjust the timing a bit.

But if you go through regular creatine loading, then powder products might make life a bit easier.

Creatine Pills Vs Powder: Which Is Better?

From the perspective of building muscle mass and avoiding health issues with supplements, there are really no differences worth looking at with a powder or pill form.

It all comes down to how much you need to take, how fast you need it to work, and what'll be more convenient.

If you're in doubt, then try taking the capsule products first and see how they work for your lifestyle and training routine.


References:

  1. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-10-36
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC155510/

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