Creatine is one of the most popular and proven supplements on the market. It’s been used by bodybuilders, powerlifters, and other athletes since its introduction as a supplement in the early 90s. When Rich Piana founded 5% Nutrition, it was one of the first supplements he wanted to see in the 5% product lineup. His vision became the legendary Crea-TEN. Recently, like so many things, creatine has been in short supply. Prices have skyrocketed, and raw materials have become scarce. In this article, we will look at Crea-TEN and the current global creatine shortage.
Creatine - What It Is & What It Does
Before we go any further, let’s quickly look at what creatine is and what it does. Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in meats and fish that’s synthesized by the liver, pancreas, and kidney. It consists of three amino acids: methionine, arginine, and glycine. Creatine is stored in the muscles as creatine phosphate and is part of the ATP-CP energy system. (1)
Briefly, creatine supports ATP energy, the fuel for muscular contractions. It also increases cell volume, also known as water-based pumps. In addition, creatine supports overall exercise performance.
The Current Creatine Shortage
By now, most of you know that there’s a global shortage of creatine monohydrate. The supply of raw materials needed to make creatine has been all but nonexistent. Even brands that have contracted in advance are having a difficult time getting their shipments on time.
Before we go any further, 5% has found a way to continue making Crea-TEN. We created an updated formula. There’s still 5g per serving, and Crea-TEN features 9 of the most effective forms of creatine available, starting with creatine monohydrate. That reflects the commitment of 5% Nutrition to bring you our innovative formulas, no matter what.
Now, as far as the creatine shortage, supply is low, yet the demand is still as high as ever. This has led to the price per kilo tripling from what it was just a short time ago. Before this shortage, creatine was one of the lowest-priced supplements on the market. No doubt you remember. However, creatine prices have increased by 150%.
As noted, there has been very little creatine available for purchase. Plus, the inventory that is available from the three major Chinese manufacturers is contracted out. What does that mean? Without a confirmed PO for creatine monohydrate, a supplement company might have to wait until sometime in October to get some. It should be noted that some companies have received limited supplies as this is being written (926/22).
What Caused The Creatine Shortage?
Several factors have contributed to this shortage. These include the Covid pandemic, a shortage of containers, and shipping delays, to name a few. Some people might suggest that China is purposely creating these shortages to increase demand. If that is true, that would push the prices up. Beyond all of these factors, the creatine shortage is also caused by problems with the manufacturing of creatine.
The Major Chinese Manufacturers Of Creatine
As noted, there are three main manufacturers of creatine in China. They are: Yongan, Baosui, and Hengkang. Yogan controls hydroxy acetonitrile, a component used to manufacture creatine. This compound creates excessive pollution and the Chinese government has ordered that manufacturing output be reduced.
Hengkang controls the production of another compound needed for creatine manufacture: cyanimide. One of the primary compounds used to make cyanimide, calcium carbide, is also in short supply. To add to this dilemma, calcium carbide is used in the production of other compounds. This means the already limited supply is spread extremely thin. (2, 3)
No doubt these are all complex issues. All of them need to be dealt with before creatine supplies return to normal. This won’t happen overnight. That means that we should expect the creatine market to continue to be in limited supply through the rest of 2022, maybe longer. You can be sure that 5% Nutrition will continue to do everything we can to continue to bring you our creatine formulas.
What About Other Supplements?
Another popular supplement that may be developing similar supply issues is citrulline. The manufacturer of this impressive pump compound has begun to tighten up, and some of the major manufacturers are having problems. Don’t be surprised if your favorite 5% pre-workouts have some issues with this ingredient. Even so, 5% will not simply sit on the sidelines. Just like you’d expect, we look for solutions.
To Sum Up
The bottom line is that despite the shortages, 5% Nutrition will continue to do everything we can to ensure your favorite 5% products are available. This might include adjustments to your favorite 5% products but rest assured, 5% will continue to make superior products and we will continue to be at the forefront of innovation.
- Dickson, J. (2022, September 25). Inside the creatine shortage affecting consumers and supplement brands. BarBend. Retrieved from https://barbend.com/creatine-supply-shortage/
- Gabby Landsverk, A. A. (2022, March 19). Demand for the muscle-building supplement creatine has exploded as people flock back to the gym — creating a shortage and price hikes that could last until 2023. Retrieved from Insider: https://www.insider.com/creatine-muscle-building-supplement-shortage-price-hikes-may-continue-2022-5