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Should creatine hydrochloride be taken with or without food?

Discussion in 'Post-Exertional Malaise, Fatigue, and Crashes' started by Mary, Jul 4, 2018.

  1. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

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    I tried looking this up re creatine in general and found advice to take it both with and without food …

    @Hip, I know you advise taking creatine monohydrate without food to minimize stomach upset and possible conversion to creatinine (I think that's the issue) - do you know the best way to take creatine hydrochloride?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    As far as I know, there is no worry with creatine hydrochloride, as I understand that it does not get converted to toxic creatinine by stomach acid. So you should be fine taking it even on a full stomach with high acid levels.

    But if you take creatine monohydrate on a full stomach, you can get some mild stomach cramps due to the gastric acid converting some of this supplement to creatinine. So that's why creatine monohydrate is best taken on an empty stomach, where acid levels will be low. See this post for more info on creatine monohydrate and creatinine.


    Note that because creatine hydrochloride has higher bioavailability than creatine monohydrate, you may be able to use lower doses when taking the former.
     
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  3. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

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    Thanks @Hip - one more question. Do you know which way is better for absorption of creatine hydrochloride - to take it with or without food, or does it matter?
     
  4. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I don't know I am afraid.
     
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  5. GreenMachineX

    GreenMachineX Senior Member

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    @Hip
    What dosage should be used with creatine hcl? I just started this to support methylation but would also like the typical weight lifting benefits.
     
  6. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    There are some suggestions that you can use lower doses of creatine HCl compared to creatine monohydrate, but I could not find any definitive info on this. Perhaps start with doses 2 or 3 times smaller than the creatine monohydrate dose, and increase if necessary.
     
  7. Dan_USAAZ

    Dan_USAAZ Senior Member

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    Hi @Mary,
    I have been using creatine since the mid 90s. Originally and for many years it was monohydrate. When I started having unexplained stomach issues I switched to a product called Kre-Alkalyn by EFX. This product is still monohydrate, but they claim it is stabilized by "buffering it to pH-12".

    They claim that because it is "buffered & stabilized", it is not converted to creatinine and more of it is absorbed, resulting in greater creatine absorption with a lower dose.

    Not sure if the above claims are true, but I seem to handle it better. This could be a result of the these claims being true or the fact that I take much less now (2 - 3 grams a day). The old recommendations for monohydrate were 10 to 20 grams a day.

    I have not tried creatine hydrochloride, as per your and @Hip suggestion, but I may add it to the order next time I get supplements.

    Side note - When taking creatine, it can elevate your serum creatinine levels to a point that an unknowing doctor will think you are in kidney failure. This can be managed in one of two ways.

    - Stop taking creatine approximately 1 week before blood draw.
    - Try to explain the weaknesses (there are many) of the outdated creatinine test to you doctor and request they use the Cystatin-C test instead.​

    Good luck and I will be curious to hear what you think of creatine hydrochloride (if you try it).
    Dan
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018 at 12:22 PM
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  8. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

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    @Dan_USAAZ - thanks for your detailed reply! :thumbsup: Can you tell me what benefits you get from creatine?
     
  9. Dan_USAAZ

    Dan_USAAZ Senior Member

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    - Greater ability to exercise (weight bearing). Supports muscle contraction.

    - I believe it helps in post exercise recovery and PEM reduction, but this is a bit of a catch 22. I say this because the PEM that creatine may be reducing is also caused by the creatine allowing me to not only exercise, but exercise at a higher level. I think it is the lessor of two evils and ultimately I am healthier (not deconditioned) for it. We'll see....

    - Brain support. A couple years ago a paper was published which described how the brain uses and benefits from creatine. I can't remember the specifics or where to find the paper, but I guess it would turn up in a Google search. I can't say for sure if I notice a difference in cognitive functioning when taking creatine.

    - I also suspect that creatine helps with low intensity, standard activities. Anything that would involve muscle contraction (which would be any movement). These activities might include walking, light housework or gardening. The few times I went off creatine, summoning the muscle strength for these activities was challenging.

    With regard to exercise, I have to be careful to stay within my "threshold". Doing so still results in in PEM (48 hours), but it is very predictable. The PEM starts the next morning and continues to get worse for a period of 12 - 24 hours. Then it plateaus and I can start the cycle all over again. If I exceed my threshold, the PEM can be much more severe and the gut is severely impacted. This can result in a longer term crash, but still just 5 - 10 days.

    So in my case, I believe a set of supplements (creatine, d-ribose, inosine, vasodilators, etc) have made it possible to continue to get some level of exercise. At the same time they create a risk and an opportunity to initiate a crash.

    One other caution with creatine. Some people (especially women) report getting water retention from it. Some severe. I never have. I might recommend starting at a low dose (maybe 1/2 gm) and titrate up every few days after you see how it affects you. I may do a similar titration if I trial the creatine hydrochloride. I will start with maybe 2gm and gradually increase it if I see a perceived benefit at the higher dose and am not experiencing additional gut problems.
     
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  10. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

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    @Dan_USAAZ - thanks again for your detailed reply! ;) FWIW, BCAAs have cut my PEM recovery time in half. I take around 4000 - 5000 mg a day. This is what I've been taking for a few years - 4 capsules when I first get up and 4 before lunch.
     
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  11. Dan_USAAZ

    Dan_USAAZ Senior Member

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    Thanks for bringing up BCAAs. Forgot about them. I had taken BCAAs for about 5 years, until about a month ago when I stopped. They appeared to be contributing to gut problems, but this started when I moved to a new brand. It is a bulk powder company and I sometimes wonder about their source and whether they are clean.
    Thanks for the link and recommendation. I will be ordering a brand name BCAA and see if I handle it better. Now I just need to decide what to do with 2 kilograms of bulk powder. :( Maybe I will hold onto it in hopes that my gut improves.
     
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  12. Dan_USAAZ

    Dan_USAAZ Senior Member

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    After reading some other threads about PEM blockers and creatine, I wanted to provide additional info/correction to my above quote. According to this post, the water retention may be primarily caused by the conversion of creatine monohydrate to creatinine in the gut. According to the post, this should not occur if you are using creatine hydrochloride. Thanks to @Hip for the great information!
     
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