Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in your cells, utilized as “emergency” fuel. It has been popular among weightlifters and other athletes for at least the last ten years (and certainly known about to some extent since the 1920′s or earlier). The standard practice is to take the creatine with glucose, since the resulting insulin acts as a transport for the creatine. Certainly this technique works, but we then have the health downside of the insulin spike.
In reality, it seems as though creatine can be taken and used effectively without the glucose, but the uptake in the “loading” phase in particular may take longer, resulting in more creatine being taken for the same effect. Ten years ago, I would have been concerned about the cost, but creatine today is pretty cheap so that shouldn’t be a huge concern.
One does have to read the label – many creatines are packaged as sugary fruit drinks in powder form. Get the pure stuff. I’ve found it effective to take it with some whole milk, fruit, and possibly whey protein. Typically this won’t be a special serving, but a snack that I was going to have anyway (although I might time it to coincide with a workout).
In addition to glucose, other nutrients can help increase the effectiveness of dietary creatine: