Is it safe to take creatine with milk?
Unless one is lactose intolerant, it is safe to take creatine with milk. There are no findings or anecdotal evidence to the contrary, at least so far. The concerns about ingesting creatine with milk relate more to muscle absorption and utilization than safety.
Creatine is a nutraceutical commonly used by athletes to build muscle and improve athletic performance. The body normally gets the creatine it needs from the diet and uses it to fuel muscle contractions. In the body, creatine is converted into creatine phosphate, and the waste product creatinine. This supplement works to enhance absorption and maximize creatine uptake by the muscles. If too much of this supplement is taken, the excess is excreted through the urine.
Creatine supplements are in the form of a white, odorless powder. It must be mixed with a beverage such as water, juice or milk before it can be ingested. It sometimes needs to be shaken well before drinking. Complete dissolution only enhances the palatability of creatine, but has no effect on absorption. Most athletes find it better absorbed when ingested with a high glycemic liquid such as fruit juice.
High glycemic beverages stimulate the body’s production of insulin, a factor that affects creatine absorption by the muscles. The glycemic index ranges from 1-100, with a higher index meaning the food has a higher glycemic value. While it is safe to take creatine with milk, milk falls into the low glycemic index range of about 27-34. with this in mind, the amount of creatine absorbed when accompanied by milk is less compared to fruit juices, which have a glycemic index between 41-68. Therefore, adding some sugar or honey to the milk-creatine mixture can help increase the glycemic index.
Another factor that affects creatine absorption is temperature and caffeine. Warm water causes creatine to be absorbed more quickly, which is why some athletes heat their creatine mixture before drinking it. In addition, many athletes avoid taking creatine with caffeinated beverages to enhance absorption. This is because studies have confirmed that caffeine inhibits the absorption of creatine into the muscles. Many athletes are also concerned about the timing of taking creatine supplements because they need to take advantage of enhanced absorption when insulin peaks after exercise.
Creatine, also known as sarcosine, is an acidic substance produced in the liver that serves to energize muscle cells. Creatine is most commonly found in vertebrates. The liver produces three amino acids called arginine, aminoacetic acid, and methionine. Most body-produced creatine is stored in the muscles that support the bones.
Creatine is often confused with creatinine. Creatinine is actually the broken down form of creatine processed by the kidneys. Normal creatine is measured and assessed by blood tests. A high creatinine level may mean that severe dehydration is present, or it may be indicative of the presence of kidney failure.
An interesting role for creatine is its use to improve performance in athletes. It is not a banned substance and some athletes use them because creatine naturally enhances physical performance. Although tests have not shown creatine to be unsafe, there is no evidence that it is safe for long-term use either.
The number of tests evaluating creatine intake is small and shows that creatine may have a small effect on increasing muscle mass and improving athletes’ competitive ability. This benefit is slight, but the reason many athletes prefer to use it is that often small differences on the athletic field can make the difference between winning and losing. For example, there is only a few percent of a second difference in the placement of a sprint. However, creatine has not been shown to increase aerobic capacity in tests.
Because of its role in building muscle mass, creatine can also be used by bodybuilders. It is available in powder and pill form. An obvious side effect of using creatine is mild to severe muscle cramps, and if you notice this symptom, you should stop using it immediately.
Some medical researchers have studied the potential of sarcosine for the treatment of muscle-wasting diseases such as multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Tests in mice have shown that increasing the supply of creatine prolongs lifespan and helps stop muscle cell death. Researchers have also investigated the benefits of creatine supplementation in combating diseases such as arthritis and heart failure. However, these results have not yet been confirmed in humans.