Creatine is one of the most widely used supplement to help build muscle, improve strength, and increase performance. This supplement has been around for decades and was first discovered back in 1835! Today, it is a very popular supplement in the fitness industry due to the numerous benefits it can provide. Another very popular thing in the fitness industry is intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting or time restricted eating is a period of time away from food or any calories. Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular over the past few years due to the numerous health benefits it can provide. Read my article on intermittent fasting here to see if it is right for you.
Those who intermittent fast and workout are often wondering what they can consume during their fasting window. Especially supplements that can help preserve muscle mass such as creatine. One of the worries of those who workout is losing all their hard earned muscle. So those who intermittent fast may be looking for supplements they can take to help prevent muscle loss while fasting. This article will be discussing the use of creatine while fasting, and whether or not creatine will break your fast.
Acceptable Creatine To Consume While Fasting
Does Creatine Break My Fast?
No, creatine does not break your fast due to it being a non-proteinogenic amino acid. Meaning, it will not cause an insulin spike within the body. However, proteinogenic amino acid like leucine, isoleucine, and valine will cause an insulin spike and potentially break your fast. These proteinogenic amino acids are commonly found in BCAA’s or amino acid supplements. Check out my article on BCAA’s while fasting to learn why these amino acids “technically” break your fast. However, creatine is actually made naturally within the body, so it is viewed as a nonessential amino acid and non-proteinogenic. So you do not have to worry about creatine breaking your fast. Although, you may still want to consume creatine with food for absorption purposes. I will discuss this in more detail below.
Creatine Nutrition Label
First, let’s take a look at the nutrition label. This is one of the most important things to do before consuming anything while fasting. You need to make sure it is acceptable while fasting. Like I said, creatine is acceptable and won’t break your fast, but it needs to be pure creatine. It cannot contain any calories, artificial sweeteners, or flavoring.
So this image is the nutrition label for the creatine I listed above by Optimum Nutrition. This is a micronized creatine monohydrate in capsule form. You can see by this nutrition label that it has 0 macronutrients and absolutely 0 calories. That is the first thing you want to look for. The only nutrient listed is 2.5grams of creatine monohydrate per serving. Next, you want to look at the ingredient list. This contains gelatin and magnesium stearate which is simply from the pill capsule, which will have no impact on insulin or fasting. So remember to check the supplement facts of your creatine and make sure it has no calories, and then check the ingredient list for artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a natural substance found within the human body. It is produced in the body from the amino acids glycine and arginine by the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. The creatine is stored within muscle cells and is used during bouts of physical exertion. Creatine is found in certain foods such as beef, pork, and fish. However, you can dramatically increase the levels of creatine through supplementation. The creatine helps your body produce ATP which is the energy source for skeletal muscle during bouts of physical exertion. In the supplemental form there are various types of creatine. The most popular being creatine monohydrate. There is also creatine hydrochloride (HCL), creatine ethyl ester, and micronized creatine.
Who Should Take Creatine?
Creatine has been on the market for decades, and is one of the safest and most effective supplement that exists today. If you have taken creatine before you know just how much stronger and bigger you feel while taking it. Some people believe creatine is just “water weight”, which is not true. Creatine does increase uptake of water into muscle cells, but it is not just “water weight”. Taking creatine can definitely make an impact on your muscle size and strength.
Creatine is not just used by those who lift weights or bodybuilders. Creatine can be used by anyone! It is already naturally found in everyone’s body. It is used by tons of athletes around the world to improve performance. Football players, hockey players, baseball players, wrestlers, professional fighters, etc. all use creatine to be faster and stronger in their sport. Creatine is also used by endurance athletes such as runners or cyclist due to the endurance benefits creatine provides.
Creatine During Your Fasting Window
Like I stated above creatine is perfectly okay to consume while fasting, and will not break your fast. However, if you have a choice I still recommend consuming creatine during your feeding window. This is because creatine is absorbed better with insulin. While fasting you would not have any spikes in insulin, so the creatine would not be absorbed as well. Your body will still absorb some and benefit from the creatine while fasted, but it will not be absorbed or used as well without insulin present. That is why creatine powders recommend taking them with juice or a sugary drink. The insulin spikes helps drive the creatine into your muscle cells for absorption.
So, if you have a choice when to take your creatine then I recommend taking it during your feeding window. However, if you need to take it while fasting or want to take it to help prevent muscle loss while fasting then that is okay. Your body will still utilize some of the creatine while fasting. I would recommend taking it in the forms of capsules/pills because pure powder creatine in water does not taste good!
Creatine is one of the best supplements on the market, and is very effective for muscle size, strength, and endurance. I recommend anyone who is serious about training or lifting weights to take advantage of the benefits of creatine. Creatine paired along with intermittent fasting will keep you strong and lean! If you are new to intermittent fasting make sure to do your research, and learn about acceptable drinks while fasting. You do not want to be accidentally breaking your fast without knowing. For those of you who want to maintain muscle mass or need to take creatine while fasting then go ahead! It will not break your fast. However, remember to check the nutrition labels! It needs to be pure creatine without calories or artificial sweeteners.