Definetly if you want the best result you MUST take it before and after your workout, but you have to take your creatine monohydrate with protein to get better results
I wouldn't suggest mixing your creatine with protein as this will slow down the absorbtion rate (as aminos compete for absorbtion). However, pre and post workout are definitely the best time to take it....just wait about 15-20 mins before taking your PWO shake.
The body has 3 periods when creatine uptake is highest:
After A Nights Sleep
After a nights sleep, the body is in a fasted stated due to a period of natural GH pulses (about half of your daily total GH production is released during the first 4 hours of sleep) and a prolonged period without nutrients. This results in an up-regulation of nutrient transporters and enzymes which favor intramuscular uptake of nutrients, including Creatine.
Ingestion 45-90 Minutes Before A Work-out
When Creatine is ingested 45-90 minutes before a work-out, an athlete can take advantage of the training induced increases in blood flow to muscle tissue to transport essential nutrients across muscle cell membranes. (This also acts as a buffer to lactic acid).
Since high intensity work-outs trigger the release of adrenal hormones such as Epinephrine and Norepinephrine, the cellular uptake of nutrients is improved. Remember, Ephedrine increases cellular uptake? Well Ephedrine is an Epinephrine Mimicker.
The First 45-90 Minutes Following A Work-out
Within the first 45-90 minutes following an intense work-out, the body is in a very nutrient receptive state. Heavy training reduces muscle glycogen stores (glycogen comes from blood sugars such as carbs) and receptor-sites for nutrients become sensitive.
This means the body is in a catabolic state requiring nutrient supply. Several storage enzymes are up-regulated and creatine (CP) levels are lower which of course means intramuscular nutrient storage ability is at a high level. It also means the muscle cells need ATP regeneration.
Different mechanisms are involved in the ergogenic effects of Creatine supplementation:
(1) higher Phosphocreatine concentrations serving as an immediate buffer to ATP during exercise
(2) increased Phosphocreatine resynthesis rate during and after exercise due to increased levels of free Creatine
(3) smaller decrease in muscle pH during exercise
(4) enhanced training load and
(5) increasing muscle mass (absolute power output)
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Disclaimer: The above post is my PERSONAL OPINION and DOES NOT REPRESENT the official position of any company. It DOES NOT constitute medical advice. CONTROLLED LABS products are produced in a GMP for Sport certified facility (no hormones produced in the facility/no cross contamination).