CREATINE ABSORPTION BASICS

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CALCIUM AND CREATINE ABSORPTION

Two steps in creatine absorption are of particular significance. Absorption at the level of the intestines and absorption at the level of muscle cells. At the intestinal level I have not seen any data to show that either elemental Calcium or Calcium provided from foods (whey, milk etc) affects Creatine absorption. The same for muscle uptake. I have not seen any link between serum calcium and creatine uptake by muscles at this level.

Creatine is absorbed by an amino acid transporter at the intestinal cell and then it is released by a creatine transporter at the other end of the same cell into blood stream. It is then taken up from blood by a creatine transporter again. It would make sense that Calcium inhibits Creatine uptake if they shared the same transporter. However, Calcium uses a “divalent metal ion transporter” while creatine uses an amino acid transporter. Calcium would “fight” with other nutrients for absorption like Iron because they share the same transporter. This is unlikely to happen with creatine from what is currently known.

CAFFEINE AND CREATINE ABSORPTION

There is no consistent data to show that caffeine inhibits the absorption of Creatine. Some studies say yes, other studies say no. If a study said yes then the supplements industry jumps on this study and markets you novel forms of creatine, much to the disregard of studies that will come later that will say no. Caffeine does not impact creatine absorption. When it comes to caffeine affecting (positively or negatively) the cellular functions of creatine then we don’t know yet. Maybe or maybe not because caffeine affects energy sensors in muscle cells in which creatine also has a say. I need to spend more sleepless nights and read more on this.

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WHEY AND CREATINE ABSORPTION

It is fine to drink Creatine with whey protein but not with high amounts of carbs (e.g above 150g) as it slows down stomach emptying and creatine absorption is delayed. Supplement company “scientists” completely disregard this fact by adding Creatine to high calorie mass builders (to impress you). Some foods can disturb stomach pH and this may affect the stability of co-ingested creatine. This effect seems to be minimal though. However, creatine is most stable at very low pH (high acidity) of about 1.5, a pH of an empty stomach in a normal healthy individual. It is best to drink Creatine on an empty stomach with water though.

TAKE HOME LESSON:

You can enjoy your creatine in whey and in your pre-workout or with your coffee based on current available evidence in scientific journals (and not on product tubs or internet forums). Degradation is minimal. It is best to drink creatine in water on empty stomach for reasons mentioned above, however.

by Vic Veeraj Goyaram (africanmuscle)

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