Testing programme identifies creatine gummy failings

Published: 1-Mar-2024

A reduced creatine presence compared to advertised dosage in some tested gummies raises concerns on industry regulation

NOW’s testing programme turned its attention recently to creatine gummies, when the disconnect between claimed dosage and technical capabilities raised a red flag.

The exercise raised a second red flag when, following the testing programme’s usual practice of simultaneous testing by a respected outside lab, NOW was not able to find a reputable third-party lab capable of testing gummies.

Creatine, a compound produced in our bodies to help give muscles short-term energy, is a popular dietary supplement, as evidenced by SPINS reporting 52% year-on-year sales volume growth. 

A survey of several creatine gummy brands was performed to understand the quality available in the marketplace: Astro Labs, Bear Balanced, Beast Bites, Bod, Create, Con-cret, Effective Nutra, Greabby, Iron Labs Nutrition, Njord, Peach Perfect, and Zhou were all implicated. 

Creatine dosages around 5 grams (5,000 mg) are frequently recommended, and the tested samples made label claims between 750 mg and 5,000 mg per serving. 

The number of gummies per serving also varied between 1 and 5, and the grams of creatine claimed per gummy were between 250 mg and 1,700 mg.

NOW tested the gummies’ creatine content by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Creatine quantitation was performed using a creatine reference standard of a known concentration. 

The results are shown in the table below:


Testing programme identifies creatine gummy failings


The brands Bear Balance, Bod, Effective Nutra, Iron Labs Nutrition, Peach Perfect, and Zhou all met their label claim. 

However, Astro Labs, Beast Bites, Create, Con-Cret, Greabby, and Njord failed to meet the label claim, resulting in a 46% failure rate. 

The NOW testing team observed that the bear-shaped products (samples 1, 8 and 10) have slightly different colours and potency, but they seem to be made by the same supplier. 

On the other hand, samples 4, 7 and 11 tested above the label claim and seem to be made by a single supplier.

Gummy brands testing below label claim were also tested for creatinine using HPLC. 

Several creatine gummies were found to contain significant amounts of this unwanted creatine metabolite, while also not meeting their claimed creatine strength. 

Creatinine is a waste product that naturally builds up in blood when muscles are exercised. Bodies produce creatinine at a constant rate, and kidneys usually eliminate almost all of it. Having very high or low creatinine levels can be a health concern; thus creatinine supplements are not recommended.

Creatine in powder form is stable, but when mixed with water can turn into creatinine. 

Gummies aren’t an ideal form for creatine supplements, because water is used to make gummies, so it can be difficult to get the correct dosage of creatine.

Even combined creatinine and creatine test results failed to add up to creatine claims for some products, so these formulations with low creatine test results versus label claims apparently failed to add sufficient creatine.

“It’s concerning that NOW was not able to identify a third-party lab to test the gummies, given the rapid growth of that delivery system and the regulatory requirement to confirm label compliance,” said NOW Senior Director of Quality Katie Banaszewski.

“With NBJ reporting that 47% of new supplement users prefer gummies and as the fastest growing dosage form, the industry needs to find a solution to this lack of quality confirmation and regulatory compliance.”

You may also like