Frequently asked questions
Dr. Axe Answers
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Creatine is nitrogenous organic acid which naturally occurs in vertebrates and helps to supply energy to muscle and all cells of the body. It’s a compound that’s involved in the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the body’s universal energy molecule. Creatine is made in the liver of the human body but is produced to fulfill only approximately half of the daily creatine required by the body. It is biosynthesized from three different amino acids - arginine, glycine, and methionine. The balance of required creatine is taken in by nutritional food sources in the daily diet, mainly from meat (although much of it is destroyed by cooking). Approximately 95% of the body’s creatine ends up being stored in the skeletal muscles, and the remaining 5% is found in brain, heart, testes, inner ear, hair cells and other organs and cells. Once it's used in the formation of ATP, creatine is converted to creatinine and is excreted by the body.
No. The primary cause is related to the difficulty the body has with excreting large dosage forms of other insoluble creatine products and the resulting edema (fluid redistribution).
When you consume food, your body absorbs the nutrients like glucose to provide fuel for your cells to operate. When your body absorbs glucose, it undergoes glycolysis to convert the glucose to cellular fuel in order to energize your body. Following glycolysis, your body begins the Krebs cycle (also known as the citric acid cycle), which serves as the main source of energy for your cells. The Krebs Cycle produces many molecules for your body but one of the most significant of these molecules is ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) which is the body’s universal energy molecule used to power all cells. Once ATP is used/burned by the cells, the bi-products are ADP (Adenosine diphosphate) and a loose phosphate. In order to “recycle” the ATP and thereby further energize your body’s cells (because the Krebs Cycle can’t make more ATP fast enough), creatine molecules pick up the loose phosphates and reattach them to ADP to quickly regenerate ATP, thus providing your cells with additional energy.
NO. Creatine is a natural molecule produced in the body that helps to energize all your cells. Your body produces about half of the necessary amount of creatine your cells need to function, and the rest must come from food and/or supplements…but the diets of many Americans is low in creatine-rich foods so many people need a supplement for optimal cellular function. Every cell needs creatine for optimal performance – brain cells, muscle cells, immune cells, heart cells, lung cells, etc.
Creatine supplementation became popular in the 1990’s after research showed that creatine can provide benefits for athletic performance in high-intensity, short-duration activities such as weightlifting and sprinting. Creatine supplementation increases the production of ATP and thus supports explosive periods of activity. It’s very popular with athletes and bodybuilders, many of whom consider it to have similar strength-building effects as compared to anabolic steroids, yet still be safe and legal. Creatine can give a competitive athlete improved performance, as well as assistance in muscle recovery. It is not considered a banned substance and is compliant with most major athletic organizations in both professional and collegiate sports.
Since creatine is known for recharging ATP and supplying energy to muscle and nerve cells, and strengthening muscle, some studies have suggested creatine as a complementary nutrient for neuro-muscular conditions in which muscle weakness occurs, such as muscular dystrophy (MD), multiple sclerosis (MS), congestive heart failure, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and as an supportive adjunct to recovery after injury or surgery.
Both. CON-CRĒT is an extremely soluble creatine supplement that is taken one hour before exercise or a high-intensity sports activity for anyone looking to increase their conditioning and performance level. CON-CRĒT can also be taken post-workout to help with muscle repair and recovery.
CON-CRĒT is completely safe to take every day, and many people will take their regular dose, or half of their regular dose, on off days of training to help with muscle recovery. It is not necessary to take on your off days and will work well if taken just before work-outs. There’s no loading or cycling with CON-CRĒT.
Creatine is like many powders that can absorb moisture if exposed to humidity. Therefore it is recommended that you store CON-CRĒT® in a cool, dry place. If the creatine continues to harden after being stored, it is recommended that you place the jar in a sealed bag to prevent exposure to humidity. Additionally, make sure to keep the desiccants in the powder as they assist with preventing clumping…however, the clumping does not hinder the effectiveness of the product so it can still be dissolved in water to provide the desired functional energy that creatine provides.
In stability studies performed over time, CON-CRĒT remained stable well-beyond the outside parameters of the testing, which was months beyond any other type of creatine. It is not uncommon for some powders or crystals to bind to themselves because of the natural molecular lattice work of the compounds and/or their particle density when subjected to weight or pressure. As stated, sometimes slight moisture (humidity) can cause increased self-affinity for the Creatine HCl molecules. Therefore, clumping can occur but does not affect the product by any means. Again, it is recommended that you store the powder in a cool, dry area.
Creatine HCl (creatine hydrochloride) naturally has a tart taste due to the molecule being an acid. So when mixing unflavored Creatine HCl, it is best to use a flavored drink or juice instead of water. Drinks like cranberry juice, Gatorade, orange juice, or protein shakes are perfect to mask the underlying tartness of the creatine. Or simply choose one of our great tasting and naturally flavored and sweetened powders or the capsule version of CON-CRĒT.
Yes. Creatine has countless benefits for your entire body as the molecule works to energize all your body’s cells. It is absolutely needed and used by every cell in the body! Creatine helps support your immune system, improve brain function, and provide a stimulant free energy source for your whole body.
Yes, women can experience the same benefits from taking creatine that men do, such as increased muscle strength, endurance and more intense work-outs (equating to more calories burned). CON-CRĒT will also support increases in muscle density. The more density created, the more muscle shape and tone. One of the biggest attributes of CON-CRĒT is that there are no unpleasant side effects experienced with other creatine forms, such as water retention, bloat, or puffiness. CON-CRĒT also comes in a capsule form which is sometimes preferred by some women.
No, one dose of the CON-CRĒT powder is equivalent to one capsule and both will provide the same benefits, however the powder may be absorbed into your bloodstream slightly more quickly just due to the dissolving time of the capsule in the stomach (but that is only a couple minutes). Some people like the convenience of the capsules, and not having to mix powders into liquids before and/or at the gym, whereas some people like to cut the powder dosing exactly to their body weight.
We are in the process of being certified by NSF. But in the meantime, CON-CRĒT® has been tested by the top PED labs and is completely drug-free. CON-CRĒT complies with all drug and doping control standards issued by professional and amateur athletic organizations. CON-CRĒT® is permissible for use by college student-athletes.
CON-CRĒT is the only creatine on the market that is dosed based on body weight (Micro-Dosing®). You receive superior results from smaller doses with no negative side effects. This Micro-Dosing® approach calls for approximately ¼ teaspoon or 750mg (1 scoop or 1 capsule) of CON-CRĒT for every 100-pounds of body-weight. CON-CRĒT does not require loading, nor does it need to be cycled-off, and there are no negative side effects typical of other creatine products that require massive in-take.
As a result of its overall potency and the efficiency of a unique creatine hydrochloride molecule, CON-CRĒT eliminates the need for ingesting massive quantities of powders and pills. One serving of CON-CRĒT (750 mg) is equivalent to the potency of 3-10 grams of creatine monohydrate, and there are no side effects (cramping, bloating, GI stress, and diarrhea).
EXAMPLE: A 200 lb. person has approximately 160 grams of “free” creatine in their body at any point in time, and is burning about 2.5 grams of free creatine per day. The body produces approximately 1 gram of creatine per day on its own. Therefore, the body then needs the balance of 1.5 grams of creatine per day via diet or Supplementation. More activity/exercise can cause more creatine to be used and therefore needed.
ISSN studies demonstrate that uptake (bioavailability) of creatine monohydrate ranges between 15 – 18% and the rest is unused and excreted by the body, hence the need for larger doses to achieve effective blood/muscle/cell levels of creatine.
No. Because CON-CRĒT® Creatine HCl is concentrated creatine and has far superior uptake to other forms of creatine, there is no need to load or cycle the product. You simply use it according to directions for improved performance and health.
Yes. CON-CRĒT® is “stackable” with any other workout or non-workout supplement, vitamin, or nutrient. CON-CRĒT® is safe and we know of no contraindication or negative interactions with other supplements or medications. We would, however, discourage anyone from stacking CON-CRĒT with another creatine-based product, or with a product that does not fully disclose their ingredients list.
CON-CRĒT® Patented Creatine HCl is the #1 bioavailable creatine with 59X greater solubility and 70% greater plasma uptake than standard creatine (see below). Backed by 8 US Patents, CON-CRĒT® is also the only micro-dosing creatine and is thereby able to avoid any of the unpleasant side effects normally caused by other forms of creatine. Because CON-CRĒT® is concentrated creatine, there is no bloating, water retention, cramping or other digestive issues when used as directed.
CON-CRĒT® has proven to be the most soluble and potent creatine on the market and was proven in multiple academic studies to be at least 59X more soluble* than creatine monohydrate. This is significant because creatines vary in performance largely based on solubility. And the reason solubility is crucial is that when you increase creatine solubility (the ability to dissolve), you enhance creatine delivery (absorption into body and ultimately into the muscles).
Solubility is important – while there are significant studies that examine the percentage of water in the human body, it is widely agreed that the typical male has approximately 69% of their body mass comprised of water. For females, this number is approximately 55% (due to the higher proportion of body fat). Obviously, water is a critical component of life, and instrumental in maintaining health and wellness. These facts point to the significance of CON-CRĒT being soluble and stable in water.
The essence of solubility importance lies in the fact that for creatine to be absorbed into the bloodstream and penetrate the muscles, it must be soluble. Solubility is a critical factor in the absorption of creatine and its efficacy.
As referenced above, this also ends up being related to bioavailability and plasma uptake. The findings of research conducted with two major universities and performed by testing blood plasma in human subjects after oral dosing were presented at the ISSN Conference in June 2009. The results of this second study showed convincing evidence of a significant improvement in plasma uptake with creatine hydrochloride. In the study, CON-CRĒT demonstrated up to 70% increase** in plasma uptake compared to creatine monohydrate (CM). These results reinforced the notion that CON-CRĒT is the most readily absorbed creatine form available. This fact is the reason that CON-CRET does not require loading of large initial doses or cycling on and off the supplement. CON-CRET is available in powder and capsule forms, and each serving of CON-CRĒT is equivalent to the potency of over 3 – 5 grams of creatine monohydrate.
* CON-CRĒT has repeatedly shown to have at least 59X greater aqueous solubility than creatine monohydrate when stirred for 2 minutes or less (See website for study summary. Research on file.)
** CON-CRĒT was shown in this double blind, placebo-controlled, balanced crossover study to have an FDA bioequivalence of up to 70% greater plasma uptake when assessing area under curve (AUC) calculations at various time intervals post dosing (See website for study summary. Research on file.)
Yes. It is safe to take every day when used as directed
No, there is no negative interaction between CON-CRĒT® Creatine HCl and caffeine.
The use of CON-CRĒT® Creatine HCl does not cause any kidney problems when used as directed. However CON-CRĒT® should not be used in people with chronic renal disease without closely consulting a physician.
Due to its superior bioavailability and rapid absorption, individuals can see and feel the benefits of creatine in as little as 1-3 workouts.
There is no evidence or scientific reason to believe that creatine causes hair loss or baldness. Creatine is natural to the body and supports the healthy function of all cells, which would include hair follicle cells.
One of CON-CRĒT’s major benefits is Micro-Dosing® as compared to the required heavy dosing of creatine monohydrate. It therefore is able to avoid the cellular fluid redistribution of other forms of creatine that causes negative side effects like dehydration, cramping and other issues. While we always recommend to drink 64oz to 128 oz of water a day for peak performance, CON-CRET mixed with the recommended amount of fluid will not cause dehydration.
The use of CON-CRĒT® will not, by itself, affect your weight loss/weight gain directly. However, CON-CRĒT® will help improve strength, endurance, and recovery when you exercise so that you are able to burn more calories and increase muscle mass which can help burn fat. CON-CRĒT® provides increased cellular energy for greater performance and output to burn more calories, again, potentially leading to greater fat loss and sometimes greater weight loss. Rather than it making you gain weight, it can help you gain muscle (which weighs more than fat).
Since creatine is found in foods and is an endogenous molecule (that is, natural to the body), it is theoretically safe for all ages, and although there is no evidence that creatine can negatively impact younger users, we only recommended that people at least 18 years old take creatine. You may speak with your doctor or a healthcare professional for added input on this topic.
You will not experience any negative side effects after you stop taking CON-CRĒT®, although your body’s creatine levels will gradually start to decrease, potentially leading to less functional energy and increased levels of fatigue or decreased strength.
pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Aqueous solutions at 25°C with a pH less than 7 are considered acidic, while those with a pH greater than 7 are considered basic (alkaline). The pH reading of a solution is usually obtained by comparing unknown solutions to those of known pH. With that said, a dose of CON-CRĒT in 4-6 ounces of a liquid like water yields a pH of approximately 2.0, but it does vary with the volume of liquid in which it is dissolved. The stomach has a pH that can vary between 1.0 and 2.0.
Bioavailability of a substance, and absorption, can be effected by pH. CON-CRĒT’s low pH and its conjugation with an HCl molecule (hydrochloride) is very symbiotic to the stomach which contains hydrochloric acid. So when “digested”, the cleaved HCl molecules is symbiotic with the GI tract. This helps with exceptional bio-availability and absorption rates that have been proven superior…and delivering superior results as proven by experienced athletes and consumers.
We continue to get questions from people new to creatine, asking us how CON-CRĒT compares to other creatine blends.
Creatine monohydrate is the most popular form of creatine and has proven to show great benefits for athletes looking to increase strength and muscle performance. The shortfalls of CM have been attributed to its limited absorption due to low bioavailability. Therefore, athletes are required to take large amounts of up to 10 grams for the first two weeks, and then cycle off for the digestive and muscular system to take a break.
Studies have shown that consumption of creatine monohydrate does not cause any serious adverse side effects. However, some people experience muscle cramping, bloat, stomach and digestive discomfort, including possibly diarrhea, for a few weeks when using creatine monohydrate. The digestive and stomach problems may be eradicated by lowering the amount of intake of creatine monohydrate but that reduces the effective amount of creatine being delivered to the cells of the body. Since creatine supplementation causes the muscles to retain water, some people may experience weight gain and may also become dehydrated from cellular fluid redistribution.
pH Buffered Creatine is a buffered creatine that claims it does not turn into creatinine prior to reaching skeletal muscle tissue. It is touted to have a higher pH level than regular CM. The philosophy is that the conversion of creatine into creatinine is a function of the pH and can be halted by pH level manipulation during the manufacturing process. However, this is simply creatine monohydrate mixed (not conjugated) with a buffering agent like magnesium phosphate, or such. While that will buffer the liquid into which CM is introduced, it doesn’t change the solubility of the CM molecule and once ingested, the stomach acid immediately overwhelms the buffering agent and you’re left with CM in the gut with limited absorption.
A study conducted between Vanderbilt University and Vireo Systems (a nutraceutical manufacturer) compared the solubility of ProMera’s CON-CRĒT to creatine monohydrate (the most common form of creatine).
In this study an excess amount of the two creatine forms were added to water and then sampled, filtered to remove any particulate and/or precipitate, and then analyzed via high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The study results demonstrated
CON-CRET’s far superior solubility, bioavailability, and potency. These are summarized as follows:
The studies were performed at 60 degrees F (to mimic average temperature of cool tap water or drinks that have been removed from refrigeration for a short time) using creatine monohydrate and creatine hydrochloride. Mixtures were stirred at a rate of 100 rpm with magnetic stir plate and 2 minutes for each titration (note: Again, to mimic that most athletes do not stir their supplement mixes more than 2 minutes). Under these conditions the following was observed:
Standard creatine monohydrate: The procedure began with 5.0 grams of CM in 100 ml of water. After 2 full minutes of controlled stirring, the solution remained cloudy and was allowed to settle for another 2 minutes. The CM solution was filtered, dried and massed to reveal that 3.5 grams of the original 5.0 grams was recovered un-dissolved. This resulted in a solubility of 0.015 g/ml of CM.
Creatine hydrochloride: The next procedure involved placing 50.0 grams of CON-CRET in 100 ml of water and stirring the solution for 2 minutes. At the 2 minute checkpoint seeing that the water was NOT cloudy, another 40.0 grams of CON-CRET was added into the original batch for a total of 90.0 grams and stirred for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes the CON-CRET solution was filtered, dried, and massed to find that only 1.2 grams of the 90.0 grams was recovered in the dried filter. This resulted in a solubility of 0.888 g/ml of CON-CRET.
These results represent a 68-fold increase in aqueous solubility for creatine hydrochloride salt compared to standard creatine monohydrate. Solubility is of great significance because a creatine needs to be soluble to get into your bloodstream, and into the muscles.