Biohack : Creatine / Fenugreek / Beetroot


A cohort at Adafruit tipped me off to an interesting supplementation biohack:

added creatine / fenugreek / powdered beets to coffee for a pre-workout “drink”…it makes everything come into super razor focus…

I was intrigued, tried it and blech! My sensitivity to things that taste awful was immediately triggered. This also offends the coffee gods. Over the last week I’ve tried different combinations and came up with a tasty version of the pre-workout drink. I agree with the “super razor focus” claim.


My current version removes the coffee from the mix.

  • 1 pill Fenugreek – Pill form to avoid the bad taste. This turned out to be the “awful” source.
  • 1/2 tsp Beetroot Powder – Tastes alright in small quantity. Beetroot which is high in nitrates improves blood flow and relaxes blood vessels which means more oxygen to muscles. See our Beet Doping post for more.
  • 1/2 tsp creatine – Widely used performance-enhancing supplement. Building block to creating adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – muscle energy. This study suggests that taking creatine in combination with fenugreek will increase creatine update without a need for carbohydrates. An ideal attribute for the low carb crowd.
  • 1 tsp branch chain amino acids – Used to prevent muscle wasting on fasted workouts.
  • 1 tsp CALM orange magnesium – Used to flavor the drink, prevent cramping and increase magnesium.

Combine all ingredients in one pint of water and stir. This drink provided me with the kind of focus that was ideal for coding or writing. I’ve also enjoyed running, swimming and cycling on it.  YMMV.

Is this safe? Creatine is the substance that stands out here. Diabetics, children and people with kidney or liver disease should avoid creatine.


Single and combined effects of beetroot juice and caffeine supplementation on cycling time trial performance

Effects of combined creatine plus fenugreek extract vs. creatine plus carbohydrate supplementation on resistance training adaptations

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  1. Hey – Love the biohacking articles! Keep them coming!

    You make it sound like the caffeine+beetroot juice study shows that a combination of the two improves performance, yet they did not find that caffeine has a “synergistic effect with beats”:

    “In conclusion, we have provided evidence that a caffeine gum containing 3 mg·kg−1 BM ingested in the 40 min prior to a cycling TT lasting ?45–60 min increases cycling power output in both males and females. However, despite increasing circulating NO3− and NO2− concentrations, beetroot juice supplementation ingested ?8–12 h prior to the TT as well as an acute dose ingested ?2 h prior to the TT did not enhance cycling performance either in isolation or in combination with caffeine ingestion.”*

    Like all good researchers, they continue in the conclusion not to rule out the possibility that a different protocol and/or test subjects could have different results…

    “Based on previous evidence that NO3− supplementation can improve performance in a variety of high-intensity endurance tasks, we cannot rule out the possibility that an additive effect may still be possible with different protocols or in specific individuals (re- sponders). Further research is required to determine if NO3− supplementation, when coingested with caffeine, can further enhance performance under shorter, more intense tasks in which the benefit of NO3− supplementation is more pronounced.”*

    So, the “YMMV” part of you post is -extremely- accurate 🙂

    *Single and combined effects of beetroot juice and caffeine supplementation on cycling time trial performance – Lane et. al.

  2. Creatine supplements should also not be taken with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). That includes ibuprophen, acetaminophen & etc.

    Two other things:
    1) The plural of anecdote is not data. YMMV is an understatement, especially if one is playing with numerous other dietary regimes.
    2) Be mindful that most of these studies require replication. The nutritional literature is rife with irreproducible and unreproduced studies.

  3. Nice! I love drink experiments like this – both for bike riding/workouts and for general focus. Will give it a try, thanks!

  4. I’d love to hear how it works out for you Nick. I can’t stop drinking it myself.

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