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 leave 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 the 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 creatine 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 may be more convenient, too. You
could 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.
Athletes have sometimes been told to avoid mixing citrus juices such as
orange juice with creatine. The reason given is that the acidity in these
juices boosts the production of creatinine, which is 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 hydrochloric acid found in the
stomach. If creatine can make it through the stomach and into the body, a
little bit of OJ won't hurt. Then again, most people don't drink orange
juice warm, but if you enjoy it that way, don't worry about the acidity.
On the other hand, one study by Vandenberghe shows that the benefits of
creatine are counteracted when it is consumed with large amounts of
caffeine (the equivalent of five cups of coffee). 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 production for the caffeine/creatine users was no
different than 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 a glucose- or fructose-based
drink that will stimulate your insulin response and facilitate the uptake
of creatine into the muscle fibers.
The Best Time to Take Creatine
Creatine remains in the blood stream for a period of one to 1 1/2 hours.
This is the window of opportunity that muscles have to draw creatine from
the surrounding blood vessels and store it in their cells. If these cells
are full of creatine, and the brain, heart and testes have all of the
creatine they need, the excess will eventually be processed to creatinine
Therefore, timing is important. You want to make sure that the maximum
amount of creatine is absorbed by your muscles and not wasted. This is why
we recommend that your loading and maintenance doses be divided into two to
four servings, depending on the total amount of creatine you are