Creatine is probably one of the most lauded and preferred supplements when it comes to muscle gain. If you are training for hypertrophy and would like to gain the maximum amount of lean muscle at the shortest possible duration, then Creatine is going to be your best friend.
For those just starting out, it is only natural that you might have a lot of questions running through your mind before committing to this muscle gain supplement.
The best way to drink Creatine might be at the top of this list- as you are left deliberating over whether to take Creatine with milk or water. What about the temperature of the drink?
There are a lot of forms in which Creatine is available in supplements- which should you go for, and does this affect your choice of solvent? Does the choice of solvent factor into the efficacy of Creatine in showing you your desired results?
In this article, we will discuss Creatine and its various benefits, and you will find all these FAQs regarding the best way to drink Creatine answered.
What is Creatine?
Creatine acts as an energy powerhouse to meet your body’s energy requirements for intense workout sessions, sports, or energy-intensive activities. It aids in the building muscle mass, and is a great ingredient for those training for hypertrophy.
So what is Creatine exactly? It is a nitrogenous organic acid that is naturally synthesized in the liver and kidneys of vertebrates, humans amongst them.
It recycles Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), which is essentially our energy currency, in the muscle and brain tissues. Creatine is stored in our bones.
Why Use Creatine?
Creatine is one of the most popular muscle building supplements consumed by those training for hypertrophy, athletes, or bodybuilders, and is often used alongside whey protein. So what makes Creatine so popular apart from its accessibility and relative affordability?
In the world of fitness, some of the most coveted goals are lean muscle gain, and boost in speed, strength, energy, and endurance.
Creatine helps achieve all of these. It also allows your muscles to recover quicker after strenuous workouts. This is particularly helpful when you are participating in high-intensity activities in short bouts, such as sprinting or lifting weights, to give you a temporary boost in speed and energy.
Creatine can also boost your cognitive function and help treat ailments stemming from weakened muscles, such as heart failure, Huntington’s disease, and neuro-muscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy.
Which Creatine Supplement Should You Go For?
Creatine supplements are constantly being evolved and updated to make them the most effective and adaptable for different body types. The 7 types of Creatine available in supplements are Creatine Monohydrate, micronized Creatine, conjugated Creatine, buffered Creatine, Ethyl Ester Creatine, Tri-Creatine Malate, and liquid Creatine.
At the moment, micronized Creatine Monohydrate is the best form of Creatine available in the market. It has enhanced solubility, better absorption, requires a moderate dose, and gives you the energy and endurance boost you require.
Tri-Creatine Malate and Ethyl Ester Creatine are other viable forms of Creatine, but I would recommend that you steer clear of liquid Creatine. Liquid Creatine is a liquid form of Creatine which was popular back in the day as it did not entail a loading phase, and could be consumed consistently for longer without breaks in between.
However, it is not a very stable formula and not as effective for building muscle mass, thus falling out of favor.
What is Micronized Creatine Monohydrate?
Considered the purest form of Creatine, Creatine Monohydrate contains one molecule of water for every molecule of Creatine in the compound. The fact that it is bound by water enhances its purity factor, and given the extensive research backing this variant, Creatine Monohydrate is definitely the most reliable.
This form of Creatine is your best bet if you are looking to improve your athletic performance. Creatine Monohydrate also helps increase muscle mass, improve your speed, and enhance your strength.
Creatine Monohydrate consumption is usually initiated in two phases. The initial loading phase entails 4-5 doses of Creatine Monohydrate for 5 days. Thereafter, the regular phase begins, where you take a single dose every day. One dose of Creatine Monohydrate contains 5 grams of the compound.
It is basic science that the smaller the particles, the more soluble they are. Micronized Creatine has smaller particles than usual Creatine, and is therefore more soluble. You need to be careful, however, to sufficiently hydrate yourself if you are consuming micronized Creatine.
Best Way to Drink Creatine
Now that you know what a powerhouse supplement Creatine is, given its many benefits, the question arises- how should you consume it? There is a lot of research on the topic and there is an ongoing debate within the fitness community about the best way to drink Creatine.
Typically, Creatine supplements are blended with high sugar drinks or juice to allow the simple sugars to boost your insulin levels, and make the Creatine better absorbable.
Can You Mix Creatine With Milk?
In case you are on a no-sugar diet, milk is a great alternative, and there is no reason why you cannot mix Creatine in milk, as long as you are not lactose intolerant.
When you combine Creatine with simple carbs, your muscles are better able to absorb the nutrient. Lactose, which is the natural sugar present in milk, is a simple carbohydrate, and therefore taking Creatine with milk definitely boosts its absorbability.
Creatine Monohydrate With Water
If you are lactose intolerant and also want to avoid sugars, you can simply blend Creatine in regular water or even sparkling water.
In fact, when you are consuming Creatine, you need to drink a lot more water than usual because it has a tendency to make you dehydrated. Mixing Creatine Monohydrate in water is therefore a great way to go!
Does Temperature Play a Role?
There is often discussion about the temperature of the solvent to be used with Creatine. However, the notion that hot or warm solvents enhance the absorbability of Creatine in your body is merely a myth.
Yes, your Creatine supplement may be slightly more soluble in a warmer drink, particularly if it is Creatine Monohydrate, but this has negligible impact on its actual absorbability into your muscles. Creatine does dissolve slightly slower in cold water or a cold drink, but the bioavailability remains over 95%.
If your Creatine supplement is of a sub-par quality, you may experience a slight stomach discomfort. In this scenario, mixing it in slightly warm water may do you good. Apart from that, the temperature of your solvent has no credible impact on the efficacy of your Creatine supplement.
A regular 5 gram dose of Creatine should be mixed with 200-250 ml of solvent. In the loading phase, however, you would have to consume 4 or 5 doses per day. This should typically be done for the first 5 days of introducing Creatine Monohydrate supplements into your diet.
Be sure to drink sufficient fluids to hydrate yourself after you consume Creatine, as it is a diuretic and has a tendency of leaving you dehydrated.
Final Thoughts: Creatine with Milk or Water?
Amongst the forms of Creatine available in supplements, I would advise you stick to micronized Creatine Monohydrate owing to the sheer amount of research backing it. It is by far the most reliable and effective type of Creatine supplement out there.
Mixing Creatine Monohydrate with high-sugar drinks like Gatorade, juices or even milk is probably the best way to go if you want the simple carbs to contribute towards that insulin spike.
However, a lot of fitness enthusiasts prefer to avoid sugar in their diet. Milk, despite the relatively lower levels of sugar, may cause gastrointestinal issues such as stomach aches or rumbling- and it is definitely a no-go if you are lactose intolerant.
Water is a perfectly fine substitute and you will definitely reap the benefits of Creatine with negligible side-effects.
Steer clear of caffeine as a solvent for your Creatine supplement, since the diuretic property can leave you dehydrated- and that is already a problem that Creatine poses in itself. However, caffeine does not affect the actual storage or absorption of the Creatine into your muscles.
If you want to experiment a bit, you can try mixing your Creatine supplement in yogurts, smoothie bowls, warm green tea, lemonades or protein shakes to make the process more palatable and enjoyable.