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What is Creatinine and Why Should I Care? part 3 | Creatine Blog

What is Creatinine and Why Should I Care? part 3

Last week I explained how high temperatures increase creatine degradation rate and how this might reduce the amount of creatine you are actually ingesting following its mixing in liquids. I now explain how heat also increases creatine’s solubility, effectively increasing the amount of creatine that goes into solution. How to offset these two apparently dichotomous effects in order to optimize creatine availability for maximal absorption is the topic of today’s post.

Creatine’s Insolubility Causes Problems

One of the most problematic aspects of dietary supplementation with creatine monohydrate powders are their poor solubility - this annoying feature gives rise to a range of inconveniences ranging from not being able to get your creatine into solution to persistent diarrhea.

Heating Increases the Amount of Creatine That Goes Into Solution

Although this may sound like a contradiction it is not. Recall from the last post that heat increases the disorder of our “creatine in a glass” system, which translates into more creatine molecules being randomly dispersed (dissolved) in our liquid. In fact, increasing the temperature increases the solubility of creatine in water significantly. In practical terms, going from 10 to 50 degrees Celsius increases the solubility of pure creatine monohydrate about three-fold. This is an important consideration, since creatine is rather insoluble; typically about 14 grams of pure creatine monohydrate can be dissolved in a liter of water at room temperature (25 degrees Celsius). Importantly, this values drops to around only 8 grams of creatine being able to be dissolved in one liter of water right out of the refrigerator (4 degrees Celsius). And, of course, creatinine production will also increase, although much less significantly than the increase in creatine solubility. Can you see where I am going with this?

Your Creatine Still Won’t Dissolve??

If you are still having problems getting all your creatine into solution, then maybe you are adding too much powder, or have too little liquid in which to dissolve it. At room temperature you should be able to dissolve around 7 grams of creatine per 16 ounces of water (approximately 0.5 liter). Heat the solution to 50 degrees Celsius (warm) and you should be able to increase this amount to around 17 grams per 16 fluid ounces, or about 5 grams in 5 fluid ounces. This is more than enough creatine to ingest at one time for most athletes.

The maximal amount of creatine that is absorbable by a human being is explained in my creatine guide. Go to the follow link for more information about the guide:

So, is it pointless to heat your creatine solution before taking it?

It is a tradeoff, as most things are in life. Fortunately, this one issue has a clear upside. Here is my reasoning…

While it is true that heating your solution of creatine monohydrate will increase the rate that it converts into creatinine, the rate of degradation (conversion into creatinine) is relatively small - only of the order of a few percent after a few hours. This represents only a relatively minor change in functional creatine content. On the other hand, heating your creatine solution will significantly increase the amount that goes into solution, which, in turn, will alleviate certain forms of gastrointestinal discomfort as well as increase the amount of creatine that can be absorbed into the blood stream from your digestive tract.

Take Home

Go ahead and heat up your creatine solution to assist in dissolving it, but drink it almost immediately afterwards and don’t overdo it with the heating. If you can drink it comfortably within a few minutes of mixing it, the temperature should be ok and the degradation of creatine (to creatinine) should be minimal.

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  1. keith reese
    Posted May 12, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I finished a creatine monohydrate cycle four weeks ago,five grams a day four twenty eight days=140 grams total if my math is correct.out of a 1000 gram bottle,860 grams remain in the bottle,my question is this,after i finished my last dose i sealed the bottle tightly,it has now set for 4 weeks,what is the storage life of creatine monohydrate?will the remaining 860 grams still be useable and as potent as a new bottle when i was useing it?thank you for your time—keith

  2. Creatine Blog
    Posted May 12, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi Keith,
    As I wrote in the post, creatine is stable for years if kept dry and cool.

  3. Posted May 15, 2009 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    great post thanks

    i don’t really know about heating the creatine powder, but i never really had any mixing problem.
    such things in my opinion happen when you overdose your powder or you don’t use enough water.

  4. Max
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    a great post man.. thanks for the info, I’m starting a new creatine cycle today, I’ll put these things to action :)

  5. michael
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your post it’s very helpfl for me.
    i had taken dissolved CMH by warm water cause of commented problem above until now.
    but alway i feel doubt about the degradation of it, but now i can believe the dissolving method CMH
    thank you!

  6. Ken
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Do you have to mix creatine in water? I have heard of some people putting the powder directly in their mouth and then washing it down with water. Is this more/less effective? Thanks!!

  7. pawan
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    hi i m going a gym from last one year i m taking creatine but only on workout days but should i take creatineon off day for completing a cycle

  8. Posted June 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I just tried heating my creatine up a bit after reading this post. I have to say that I really like it. It seemed to go into a drinkable solution fairly quickly. This is some great creatine info.

  9. Shane
    Posted June 13, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    This has been a very interesting post for me. I’ve been taking creatine on and off since the early days of its commercial availability. I used the warm water solution process after finding powder wouldn’t dissolve in full when added to cold or chilled water/fruit juices, always leaving a residue. As a teenager, I went through a minor migraine headache phase and my doctor explained how a solution of my prescribed analgesic in warm liquid would enable the body to assimilate the drug considerably faster than swallowing in cold water.

    What puzzles me is an increasing number of protein-shake manufacturers offer added creatine in their whey isolate powders which they often recommend mixing with milk. Does creatine dissolve as efficiently in milk, which will almost certainly be chilled, or are we excreting the better part of the supplement?
    There obviously is some uptake of a creatine/whey mix as I have used such a product in recent months and felt the typical ‘pump’ from the creatine after working out.

  10. Creatine Blog
    Posted July 13, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks. Your words make the effort worthwhile.

  11. Angie
    Posted July 13, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I just wanted to mention that your title is deceiving as Creatinine and Creatine are two completely different things. I was searching for information on Creatinine and I came here only to realize you are not talking about Creatinine but are talking about Creatine. The reason your title should be corrected is for people who are getting a Creatinine test which is a measurement of kidney function. It should be noted that Creatinine and Creatine are NOT the same thing.

    Thank you.

  12. Creatine Blog
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Hi Angie,

    Yes, Creatinine and Creatine are two different molecules. Creatinine is the breakdown product of creatine - produced either in the body, or in a can on the shelf. This was the topic of the last three posts. You might have realized this if you had continued reading… :-)

    The distinct molecular structures for creatine and creatinine can be found here:

    When creatinine is produced within muscle it is released into the bloodstream for removal from the body by the kidneys. The kidneys normally filter creatinine from the blood stream and dispose of it in the urine, maintaining blood (serum) creatinine levels low.

    This is why elevated levels of creatinine in the blood can be interpreted as a sign that the kidneys are not functioning properly – renal dysfunction. I suppose you were looking for this information when you came across my post.

    One problem is that creatine supplementation also increases blood creatine levels by mass action. That is, there is simply more creatine stored within the body to degrade after supplementing with creatine for a few weeks. In the supplementing scenario, however, the elevated levels of serum creatine do not necessarily reflect a breakdown in kidney function, nor can they be expected to cause renal dysfunction. In other words, elevated serum creatine levels are a symptom of renal dysfunction, not the cause.

    This issue has always been a source of confusion for the creatine athletic community.

  13. Creatine Blog
    Posted July 28, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    It is best to dissolve it in water prior to ingesting it. My bet is that those you mention who use this technique shoot it right back out in the toilet….

  14. DrMax
    Posted August 10, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I am a 59 American professor in Europe who does some weight training.

    Creatinine levels in blood tests are an important issue for me since I recently tested a little high.

    Thanks for the enlightenment of your recent post.

    I was very concerned about my seemingly high creatinine level from a recent blood test. One of my concerns is that I have taken a little bit of aspirin daily for years and have read that aspirin could impair kidney function. After my test, I stopped taking it altogether.

    My creatinine level was 1.25 mg/dl right outside the healthy range. Most labs say that the healthy range is less than <1.1 or <1.2

    But I know that creatine is higher for muscular, larger people and I am 6′ 2′ - 220 lbs.

    And I take some creatine supplementation.

    So perhaps my concern was ill founded.

    So, you seem to know a lot about this.

    Can you tell us more about the creatine levels in the more muscular male and how we should regard the blood test info.

    Also, at 59 I have an elevated estradiol level. Does that effect the creatinine level while not necessarily indicating kidney dysfunction? As you say, other factors can affect creatinine level than simply bad kidneys.

    I find little about this for athletes and I appreciate any information you could share as well as any links to more detailed discussion of this particular issue.

    You are the first site I have found that addresses this issue, and I want to thank you very much.

    Dr. Max

  15. Mudd
    Posted October 10, 2009 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Can I mix the creatine in with my morning cup of coffee or is creatine affected by the caffine?

  16. jimmy
    Posted October 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi i have just started taking creatine and have heard that i need to drink lots of liquids, which i am doing, but my question is by liquids do they mean just drink pure water or will juice (mixed with water) be good enough?

    Any response will be appreciated, thanks.

  17. Creatine Blog
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Juice is good; water is better. Proper hydration makes your cellular biochemistry more efficient-you’ll create energy, burn fat and build muscle more effectively when you are well hydrated.

  18. Creatine Blog
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Caffeine and creatine really don’t mix… There are some indications in the scientific literature that chronic caffeine use negates some of the benefits of creatine supplementation.

    For more information about this process go to my other site:

    My creatine guide also contains information about foods that should (and shouldn’t) be combined with creatine use:

  19. Posted November 27, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Dont you think that one you stop taking creatine, you lose everything you got from it??
    I had this feeling when I tried once…

  20. Posted December 28, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Insightful. That makes sense now, I used to mix creatine powder with juice or cold water… never had gastrointestinal discomfort, yet always seemed to notice a bit of creatine lumps in the glass. Thought it’ll work it’s way through the system, yet apparently it’s better mixed thoroughly than swallowed!
    Mark Martinez
    your creatine powder test lab

  21. Posted February 9, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the post… I’m going to be starting my creatine cycle this week…

  22. John
    Posted March 3, 2010 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    The second law of thermodynamics does not refer to disorder, it refers to change. Entropy is a measure of change, not disorder.

  23. Farzan
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I am wondering if mix the creatin powder and protein powder in same shaker before workout without any water. Is the creatine going to be creatinine?

  24. Posted September 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    A great article about the oh-so useless creatinine!

    Personally I take creatine capsules, as I need to take them quickly, and it’s simply easier to do along with my usual morning supplement pills.

  25. Posted October 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    So many athletes use creatine as it is one of the most legal, effective supplements out there. It’s a shame that creatine somehow got a bad reputation.

  26. Posted April 1, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I use to mix the creatine with grape juice. I think thats the best way. Btw great post! thanks 4 sharing.

  27. Sam143
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Taking creatine monohydrate 5gm in a glass of cold water after workout is good or not.

  28. Creatine Blog
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Hi Sam,

    Of course this will work, but you can make it better. Go to this page for more details:

  29. Posted October 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    I have just started a new creatine cycle and appreciate the advice, thanks great post!

  30. Posted October 29, 2011 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    Creapure basically dissolves on the spot, in any amount of water. no need to worry about heating and such. Check out more on creapure on my blog, you may want to make a post about it.

    what does creatine do

  31. Posted December 30, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been using some really good Creapure creatine and since purchasing the Practical Guide, I’ve had no issues. However, I do notice that even this brand I am using, no matter what temperature I mix it with, there’s just a tiny bit of undissolved creatine. Without getting too technical, does it really matter? If I use a micronized brand, it is gone in seconds. Is this just something I need not worry about? 100% dissoving?

  32. Humble
    Posted January 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I find that creatine will dissolve at any temperature if you use rain water. I don’t know why, but it does.

  33. Posted March 11, 2012 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Great post on the subject “Creatine” . Which is more effective in absorption when using creatine?
    Drinking with grape juice or after a meal? My goal is max absorption when consuming creatine I ensure there is an insulin spike. At the same time, I don’t want to be spiking my insulin through the day.
    I did some research and found out that right after a weight training workout the body is insulin sensative. would you recommend creatine with water or better yet with a meal after a workout?

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