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The Best Way to Take Creatine

Creatine monohydrate is a white powder that looks like table sugar. It is odorless and virtually tasteless. If you notice an odor when you open the container, or if you are able to taste something bitter in the liquid you drink it with, this indicates the presence of an impurity. Your creatine has either been cut with another, less expensive ingredient, or there has been a mistake in labeling at the supplement factory. In either case, you should returen the unused container to the manufacturer and demand a replacement. Please note, however, that such impurities are quite rare.

Creatine monohydrate dissolves easily in liquids. As with most powders, it dissolves faster and more completely in warm and hot fluids, so heating the liquid will leaves less creatine on the bottom and sides of the glass. If you have a microwave, heat the liquid for about a minute. Then add the creatine and stir until powder is dissolved.

Some liquids are better than others for creatine consumption. Glucose polymer drinks or those with dextrose or maltodextrin are good choices. This is because the shuttle system used to transport cratine into the muscle fibers involves insulin, and these forms of “simple” sugars activate this mechanism quickly. Fruit juices are also good options. Although juices contain fructose, a sugar that is absorbed somewhat slower than glucose and dextrose, juices are assimilated relatively quickly, so they are perfectly acceptable as creatine vehicles. They amay be more convenient, too. You can also mix your creatine with a combination protein/carbohydrate drink, although the protein content of the drink will slow the assimilation of the creatine, compared to glucose or fructose alone.

People have sometimes been told to avoid mixing citrus juices, such as orange juice, with cratine, The reason given is that the acidity in thse jices boosts the producton of creatinine, which the waste product of creatine metabolism. However, creatinine is formed in the muscles, not in a glass. Moreover, the citric acid in orange and grapefruit juices is insignificant compared to the concentrated bydrochloric acid found in the stomach. If creatine can make it through the stomach and into the body, a little bit of orange juice won’t hurt.

One study by Vandenberghe shows that the benefits of creatine are counteracted when it is consumed with large amounts of caffeine. The study found that while caffeine did not reduce the increase in creatine-phosphate levels within the muscle fibers, dynamic torque production in caffeine/creatine users was 10 to 20 percent lower than in test subjects who took creatine alone. In fact, torque productin for the caffeine/creatine users was no different than for the placebo group. Based on this research, you should stay away from high-potency caffeine pills. Mixing creatine in caffeinated drinks, at least according to this study, may also reduce or even neutralize the performance-enhancing effects of this nutrient in the short term. It’s better to take your creatine with fruit juces or with a glucose-based drink that will stimulate your insulin response and facilitate the uptake of creatine into the muscle fibers.