- Do not use caffeine while taking creatine;
- Do not take vitamin C supplements when taking creatine (wow!);
- Don’t drink creatine with a citrus juice;
- Do drink your creatine supp. with a little bit of salt and sugar to maximize absorption.
There maybe be other warnings and recommendations you have encountered but these are the mains ones and while they would all be interesting to explore, today we are focusing on the claim stating that creatine should not be taken with caffeine. What’s the optimal creatine dosage.
*** Remember that by caffeine we mean not only coffee, but every food or supplement product containing a significant amount of caffeine or derivatives, such as coca-cola and pre-workout supplements. Check does Creatine make you stronger?
Does caffeine reduce creatine absorption?
On most packaging labels there is usually no explanation as to why a specific recommendation is made. In our case, a good guess is that caffeine could reduce creatine absorption, resulting in less of the supplement going into your muscle.
There are no serious studies demonstrating a change in creatine absorption caused by caffeine consumption. You could make a case on the basis that drinking considerable amounts of caffeine impacts your digestive function by giving you diarrhea, thus lower absorption of the supplement in the intestines. Same thing about Vitamin C, which has the potential to cause diarrhea but you’d have to take huge amounts of it.. probably in the order of ten to fifteen 500mg capsules a day.
Creatine also causes gastro intestinal jihad (lol) when taken in high amounts, especially during the loading phase. So these 3 products taken together could definitely harm absorption due to diarrhea.
Can caffeine reduce the effectiveness of creatine supplementation?
If you do a simple google search you the subject you’ll surely find a couple articles and studies stating caffeine intake reduces (or negates) the benefits of creatine supplementation.
These scientific studies sound good and all, but the problem I have with such studies is that they are based on two groups, one using caffeine + creatine while the other cuts all caffeine intake for a certain period of time. Differences are then observed in athletic abilities and performances, weight gain, lean muscle mass variation and other metrics.
But here’s the problem : in that sort of study, correlation does NOT equal causation. Reasons being that cutting all caffeine intake WILL have effects on anyone’s body, whether they are using creatine or not. This is OBVIOUS. Caffeine does play a role in stress and anxiety levels as well as sleep regulation (or deregulation ;P) and these two factors alone can have a huge impact on athletic performance.
Unfortunately, we see research institutes as perfect scientists but truth is they are just like everybody else, meaning they will cut corners sometimes and be lazy because there is no reward for them to release flawless studies.
Could caffeine and creatine cause dehydration?
Now that is a good question. As you probably already know, creatine does have a water retention effect and supplementing with it definitely requires you to drink more water. Read does creation make your muscles look less defined?
On top of that, caffeine is a diuretic, which means it’s a substance that promotes the production of urine. This is somewhat like beer (grossly), therefore requiring you to drink more water again. Now don’t get me wrong as this is not simple math such as in X water in = X water out and so on, but both products taken together raises you water consumption needs.
Stay well hydrated by drinking lots of water. When your urine is very pale or totally transparent that means you are well hydrated. On the other hand if your urine is yellow or dark yellow, like in the morning for example, that means you need to drink more water. Read about creatine and DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
In conclusion, is it bad to take caffeine along with creatine?
Here’s my take on the subject for those who don’t want to read paragraphs, which is understandable :
- Caffeine consumption won’t hurt your creatine absorption nor effectiveness;
- Just make sure you stay well hydrated by adequate quantities of water everyday;
- Don’t get diarrhea by drinking too much coffee.
Fun read : The day my father found my creatine container.