Creatine and Caffeine – A BAD Mix?

Caffeine and creatine are perhaps the two
most effective natural supplements any lifter can take outside of protein powder. Caffeine, a strong stimulant that improves
muscular endurance and strength output. And creatine, the substance tied directly
to the ATP-PCr system, providing a quick energy source that can help you crank out a few more
reps each set. Now, they’re great all on their own, but
there has been speculation that you probably should never take them together. The concern of taking creatine and caffeine
together stems from their interaction with water. Caffeine, being a stimulant, can also accelerate
the loss of water through peeing. Creatine, on the other hand, has the propensity
to pull water into the muscle cells. Essentially, they are working against one
another in terms of hydration. And of course, without proper hydration, bodily
functions, including performance, will suffer. Then came a study in 1996. What they found was that taking either creatine
or creatine plus caffeine saw an increase muscle creatine concentration, as expected. But, taking creatine plus caffeine did not
do any better than a placebo in terms of force production, whereas creatine alone did have
significant improvements. As for other applications, particularly cardio
and sprints, studies did not see any detriment to taking the two substances together. But back to force production. If the 1996 study is true, that can pose a
very big problem for lifters commonly taking the two together. However, the study has a few problems. The first being the sample size, where at
a meager 9 subjects, might not accurately translate to an entire population. The next is lack of information on the subjects’
diets, making it unclear if they’re already getting creatine straight from eating. Another is the fact that the study has never
been replicated directly, especially in terms of maximal force production. But the most glaring issue is the fact that
they used a crossover subject design. Meaning, instead of having different groups
taking different things and then comparing them, the subjects instead compared themselves
between a placebo phase and an experimental phase 3 weeks apart. The problem with this is the fact that creatine
level can stay elevated for up to 6 weeks after supplementation. With only 3 weeks between control and experimental
phases, it is very likely that the subjects still had elevated creatine concentrations,
complicating the results of the study. And that’s where the current research stands. Simply put, there’s not a lot of evidence
backing up the claim that caffeine and creatine can’t be mixed together. And if it does have to do with hydration,
you can just as easy drink more water to make up for any issues. As for now, if mixing them together works
for you, then enjoy your café mocha… creatini… Share your thoughts on creatine and caffeine
below. If you would like support PictureFit, come
check out some fitastic PictureFit apparel and rock your support at the gym! As always, thank you for watching!

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