Is Creatine Vegan? – What You Need to Know Before You Buy

Small bowl filled with creatine supplements

Creatine supplements are among the most widely used supplements in the sports and fitness world. But is creatine vegan, and can vegan athletes and fitness enthusiasts benefit from this supplement? This article details what makes a vegan or non-vegan supplement and how vegans can benefit from creatine. 

Quick Takeaway:

  • Most creatine powders are vegan, while capsules and gummies are not because they contain gelatin. There are vegan-friendly creatine gummies and capsules out there. 
  • Double-checking the ingredients list and verifying with the brand is recommended, as some brands will not state that a product is vegan even though it is.  
  • Creatine is a naturally occurring compound that promotes energy production and muscle growth in the human body. 
  • As creatine levels are low in vegans, these individuals can benefit from creatine supplementation to support these processes in the body, especially active vegans who require more. 

Are Creatine Supplements Vegan?

For the vegan diet, no foods containing animal products are consumed, including eggs, dairy, and meat. 

Though times have changed and many brands have become more conscious of making vegan-friendly products, vegans must be wary of the ingredients and the processes by which some products are made. For example, an investigation in 2007 by the nonprofit Vegetarian Resource Group discovered that nearly 80% of L-cysteine used as a dough softener in products such as pies, bagels, and cookie dough was sourced from duck feathers. 

Some creatine supplements are vegan, but not all are. Most powdered creatine supplements are vegan-friendly, but the capsules are not unless specifically labeled. Capsule creatine supplements use gelatin, made from animal bones, for the outer layer of the capsule, making the product not vegan. 

Thankfully, vegetable capsule alternatives exist for individuals who do not enjoy taking powdered supplements. Some creatine supplements incorporate this vegan-friendly alternative so vegans and vegetarians can enjoy the benefits of creatine without the incorporation of animal products.  

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a naturally derived substance produced by three amino acids and two enzymes. It promotes adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production to supply to the muscle cells and supports protein synthesis

Heavily used in sports nutrition, creatine is scientifically proven to enhance athletic performance, boost recovery, and improve lean muscle mass in athletes and active individuals. 

The Different Types of Creatine in Supplements 

With creatine supplements, there are different forms of creatine used, and understanding the difference between them can improve or lessen the benefits received. Let’s look at the various types of creatine used in supplements below! 

Creatine Monohydrate

Out of all the types of creatine, creatine monohydrate is the most commonly used form. It is also the most studied out of the creatine types, backed by research to promote the most benefits.

Creatine Phosphate

Creatine phosphate’s maximal concentration is five times higher than ATP. Its energy-heavy attributes are incorporated into supplements to provide an extra boost of energy for the muscles.  

Creatine HCL

Creatine hydrochloride, or creatine HCL, is bound with hydrochloric acid, increasing its solubility and absorption rates. This type of creatine is used in supplements to improve creatine absorption into the muscle cells for boosted benefits. 

Vegan-Friendly Natural Sources of Creatine

Discover vegan creatine from nature

Unfortunately, no plant-based foods contain creatine. Food creatine sources are mainly found in animal products such as tuna and beef, which are not permitted for consumption by vegans or vegetarians.   

An alternative to creatine supplements for vegans is to increase amino acid consumption through a well-balanced diet. As creatine is made from three specific amino acids–glycine, methionine, and arginine–eating foods rich in these amino acids can naturally boost the production of creatine in the body. 

Vegan food sources to boost creatine production:

  • Spirulina
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Seaweed 
  • Soybeans 

How Brands Make Vegan Creatine Powders & Formulas

So, what makes vegan creatine powders different from non-vegan creatine supplements? As we discussed earlier on, the capsules often contain gelatin. Still, some alternatives are made using vegetable capsules as a vegan-friendly alternative. 

Today’s creatine supplements often use synthesized creatine made from cyanamide and sarcosine. This means there are no animal by-products to be concerned about for vegans and vegetarians. 

We recommend verifying that the product you want to purchase has the certified vegan label to erase any potential concerns about hidden ingredients or processes that use animal products. 

Do Vegans Need to Take Creatine Supplements?

Creatine production within the body increases creatine stores in the human body even when not consumed through vegetarian or vegan diets. Lower muscle creatine stores are often associated with these diets because they do not consume creatine through meat. Thankfully, the body produces creatine on its own, and consuming amino acids can help boost production within the body. 

According to expert Emma Wiwchar, RDN, a vegan creatine supplement isn’t necessary to support creatine levels. However, this can change depending on the individual’s nutrition goals and medical history. 

“People who have been following a vegan diet with no creatine supplementation most likely have lower creatine levels in their muscles, and if they do choose to take a supplement, these levels will increase,” Emma explains. “However, most reports of creatine deficiencies are due to genetic conditions where creatine can’t be made by the body.”

Vegans and vegetarians do not need to take a vegan creatine supplement, but they can benefit from its supplementation, especially exercising individuals looking to support muscle growth, recovery, and performance. 

The Risks of Low Creatine Levels

For non-vegan individuals, low creatinine levels, a metabolite of creatine, are associated with a sign that something is affecting creatine production. Some related concerns causing this may be malnutrition, lack of proper kidney function, or chronic kidney disease. 

Low creatine level associated risks:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Poor kidney function
  • Malnutrition 
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Liver disease

Even though vegetarians and vegans are often associated with low creatine levels, our expert Emma reveals, “We do know that a severe deficiency, caused by a genetic inability to produce creatine, can result in developmental delays in children, neurological symptoms, and muscular atrophy. However, these same symptoms are not reported in vegans due to a lack in consumption of creatine foods.”

Consulting with a medical professional is recommended if you have any of these previously stated symptoms or before beginning any sort of supplementation. 

The Benefits of Creatine Supplementation for Vegans

Smiling man gives thumbs up

Taking a creatine supplement promotes numerous health benefits for vegans and non-vegans, especially for active individuals looking to enhance their results in and out of the gym. Whether a vegan creatine powder, gummy, or capsule, there are so many vegan-friendly supplement forms of creatine to choose from, but first, let’s dive into the creatine benefits for vegans! 

Encourages Lean Muscle Mass & Growth

Strength and weight training are of emphasized importance for maintaining health and strengthening skeletal muscles. Merely one 30-60 minute strength training session a week has been shown to lower the risk of dying from cancer, heart disease, and other health risks by 10-20%. 

Along with this type of exercise, a creatine supplement can help increase muscle mass by supporting protein synthesis of lean muscle mass and delaying age-related muscle loss. 

Boosts Energy Production

Creatine plant-based supplements can also be productive for boosting energy without the need for caffeine. 

Creatine’s function in the human body is to stimulate ATP production, an energy source for the body. This naturally encourages greater energy levels, impacting exercise performance and everyday functions like alertness and focus. 

Enhances Athletic Performance

Taking creatine is popular in sports, including among vegan athletes. The reason is that creatine enhances muscle performance and reduces fatigue during high-intensity exercise. 

Creatine’s capacity to improve athletic performance has made it a favorite among athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking to upgrade their strength and power output in their respective fields.  

Aids Brain Function

Creatine supplementation can improve cognitive function, supporting memory and focus during metabolic stress such as sleep deprivation. 

One study examined creatine supplementation’s effect on healthy individuals’ cognitive function. It found that vegetarians responded more prominently than meat-eaters with memory tasks and that oral creatine supplementation improved short-term memory, intelligence, and reasoning in subjects. 

Vegans & Creatine – The Takeaway

Creatine supplementation is not absolutely necessary for vegans or vegetarians. It can benefit exercising individuals looking to support progress and promote related benefits such as muscle growth, recovery, and athletic performance. 

“To ensure your safety if choosing to use a nutrition supplement, always talk to a health care professional first,” recommends Emma, registered dietician. “They can recommend the best dose for your body weight and lifestyle and can monitor any changes to your health over time”.  

Top Vegan Creatine Supplements

Are you scouring for a vegan creatine supplement to fuel your health and fitness progress? Take your pick of these top creatine powder supplements that are verified vegan – we checked! 

Jacked Factory Creatine Monohydrate – Best for Athletes 

Jacked Factory Creatine Monohydrate Bottle

Overview

Jacked Factory’s creatine monohydrate supplement is a vegan-friendly product using only one ingredient – pure creatine monohydrate. Though the product does not feature the vegan label, they clearly state on their FAQ page that this product is vegan. 

Creatine, the gold standard among supplements, is widely used among bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts to up their games and enhance their progress. This product is a must-have for all active vegans looking to support muscle growth and recovery, boost energy production, and enhance their athletic performance! 

Highlights

  • Made using only one ingredient:
    • Pure creatine monohydrate powder
  • This vegan-friendly creatine supplement naturally increases:
    • Strength
    • Power
    • Endurance 
    • Athletic performance 
    • Muscular hypertrophy 
  • 100% hassle-free money-back guarantee
  • Can easily be stacked with your favorite powder supplement, including protein and BCAAs

Price

PRODUCTAMOUNTPRICING
Jacked Factory Creatine Monohydrate14.99oz/425g$34.99

Bottom Line

This vegan creatine monohydrate powder from Jacked Factory is the perfect choice for athletes and active individuals on a vegan or vegetarian diet. It’s free from animal by-products and boasts only one pure ingredient, so you get what you buy! 

Elm & Rye Powder Creatine Supplement – Top Quality 

Elm & Rye Powder Creatine Supplement Packet

Overview

Elm & Rye has dedicated its brand to emphasizing quality and sustainability efforts. Each product is third-party tested to secure only the highest quality in their products to guarantee customer satisfaction.  

The brand features three forms of its creatine supplement – capsules, gummies, and powder. The pill and gummies contain gelatin, so these are not vegan-friendly. We’ve confirmed with Elm & Rye that their creatine powder is vegan, containing only creatine monohydrate! 

Highlights

  • Contains sustainably sourced ingredients
  • This supplement is free from:
    • Gluten
    • Sugar
    • Milk
    • Eggs
    • Fish
    • Crustacean shellfish
    • Tree nuts
    • Wheat
    • Peanuts
    • Soybeans 
  • Each batch is tested in a third-party lab
  • This product promotes:
    • Lean muscle mass
    • Muscle recovery
    • Energy 
    • Better athletic performance 
  • Featured by Forbes, Men’s Journal, & The Salt Lake Tribune 

Price

PRODUCTAMOUNTPRICING
Elm & Rye Powder Creatine SupplementSingle (450g/1lb)$44.99
Elm & Rye Powder Creatine Supplement2-Pack$84.99
Elm & Rye Powder Creatine Supplement4-Pack$159.99

Bottom Line

Though Elm & Rye might not offer vegan creatine gummies or capsules, their creatine powder still manages to impress with its mastered refinement, guaranteeing the highest quality. If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly creatine powder, this Elm & Rye creatine powder is your product! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are creatine supplements cruelty-free?

Most creatine supplements are indeed cruelty-free, but many do not attach the label to the product. If verifying that your creatine supplement is cruelty-free is a must, we recommend contacting the brand for more information. 

Is creatine vegetarian?

Though creatine is vegetarian and vegan, creatine supplements are not always the case. Food-wise, creatine can only be consumed through animal products such as meats, with no plant-based creatine alternatives. With supplements, the creatine is not sourced from meat but by synthesizing cyanamide and sarcosine. 

How do I know if my creatine is vegan?

When looking for a vegan creatine supplement, it’s important first to check the ingredients. If it’s a creatine gummy, pill, or capsule, verify that there is no gelatin.  Sometimes, brands will clearly state that their product is vegan, while for others, you may need to reach out to confirm if you see no sign of animal by-products in the ingredients list. 

Do vegan bodybuilders use creatine?

Creatine supplements are widely popular amongst bodybuilders, and that doesn’t leave out the vegan ones either. The benefits of creatine for muscle growth and recovery, enhanced athletic performance, and boosted muscle strength are notoriously backed by research, leaving many vegan bodybuilders with no qualms about using vegan-approved creatine supplements to boost their gains.

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

I am an ISSA-certified CPT and Nutrition Coach with a BA in Creative Writing and a Minor in Nutrition.

Learn More About Kaelyn

More posts from Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

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