Creatine & Caffeine… The Forbidden Combination? By JB
The creatine and caffeine issue has been discussed pretty extensively in both the athletic and scientific communities. However, most people don’t even know why such a debate exists. What exactly is the concern? Well let’s talk a little history.
The creatine and caffeine debate started about four years ago when one single scientific study concluded that “caffeine counteracts the effects of a creatine loaded muscle” (1). This statement was shocking because the purpose of the study was to see if the two agents could work together to increase exercise performance, not to see if they would interfere with each other. Researchers and athletes have long known that caffeine and creatine independently improve performance so a combination would be the next logical step.
Creatine works on the phosphocreatine and ATP systems while possibly buffering exercise produced hydrogen protons (acid), while caffeine demonstrates a powerful stimulation for the release of epinephrine. So theoretically, one could take both to gain more of a performance edge. But this study showed that maybe they don’t work together. Even further, it showed that maybe they interfere with each other. So if this is the case and caffeine does counteract the effect of a creatine loaded muscle then there is no debate. The answer is to avoid consuming beverages that contain caffeine if you want your money spent on creatine to work for you.
But as usually is the case, things are not so simple. Although some individuals avoid this combination like the plague, we don’t think this is necessary. So while you’re here, go ahead and grab a cup of coffee. Then add your desired amount of crystals - creatine, not sugar; if you haven’t already had your dose for the day. Based on further scientific data and scrutiny, you just might not have to give either one up.