By Dean Stattmann
On the one hand you have creatine, the wonder supplement that enhances lean mass and strength gains.
On the other hand you have caffeine, as accessible as a cup of coffee and shown to reduce muscle pain during exercise as well as stimulate the central nervous system.
But what happens when you take both? That’s the question a group of Belgian researchers asked back in 2002. What they found was that the two were in fact incompatible.
The researchers observed that when combined with a daily creatine supplement, sustained caffeine intake – over a three-day period or more – significantly counteracted the beneficial effects of the creatine.
What does this mean?
Well, you don’t have to give up your morning cup of Joe. Just don’t drink it every morning. Same goes for soda and anything else that contains a lot of caffeine.
Instead of coffee, try natural energy boosters like fruit and nuts. Almonds, for example, will do the job while supplying your body with healthy fats and of course protein. It’s healthier than coffee and you won’t crash afterwards.
If soda is your vice, opt for water as often as possible. Few people realize how vital water is to getting the most out of creatine. Doctors recommend at least 8 cups a day for the average person. But if you’re working out and taking creatine your needs are even higher. Aim for 10 cups a day.
UPDATE: Several studies have since been published, investigating the relationship between creatine and caffeine. The results are split down the middle, with some studies ‘proving’ that the two are incompatible and others claiming that caffeine actually enhances the effects of creatine. What will work for you? Only one way to find out.
Image: Francis Mayne | Flickr Creative Commons