Creatine is widely known as an effective supplement for muscle growth and performance, but you might wonder whether it’s a good idea to mix it with juice.
- Creatine can be mixed with juice while retaining the same performance-enhancing benefits. According to researchers at the University of Greenwich, creatine can be absorbed more quickly into the body by mixing it with carbohydrates, such as juice.
- The potential drawbacks of mixing creatine with juice (particularly if you are cutting) is that you are increasing your calorie and sugar intake. In addition, this mixture will be more costly than drinking creatine alone.
- While you can take creatine at any time of the day, the best time to take it with juice is pre or post-workout since the carbs from the juice will be utilized for energy and replenishing glycogen in the muscle.
Benefits of Mixing Creatine With Juice
The benefits of mixing creatine with juice include:
1. Higher Creatine Retention
Because of the effects of insulin, which promotes nutrient update, when creatine supplements are taken at the same time as carbohydrates and/or protein (such as the carbohydrates in juice), studies show that the body retains up to 25% more of the creatine.
This means that you might be able to shorten the creatine loading phase to 2-3 days instead of the usual recommendation of 5-7 days. That said, there is no change to the recommendation for ongoing supplementation at a rate of 2-10g (usually 3-5g) per day thereafter.
It is worth noting, however, that higher creatine retention has not been shown to have a greater effect on performance.
- Read my article How Long For Creatine To Work to learn more.
2. Higher Calorie Intake
The additional calories in juice can be very helpful for individuals looking to achieve a calorie surplus for weight gain goals.
This is because drinking calories is generally less filling than chewing solid food.
3. Higher Carbohydrate Intake
Each cup of juice provides about 30g of carbohydrates, which can assist in helping you to meet your carb targets for the day (i.e. if you’re on a high-carb diet consisting of a 4-to-1 carb-to-protein ratio).
These carbs provide an energy source to fuel up for a workout or to recover from a workout (I’ll explain the best supplement timing for creatine & juice below).
4. Higher Micronutrient Intake
Depending on the type of juice you choose, you will also benefit from any naturally occurring or added micronutrients in that juice.
For example, orange juice and other citrus juices are naturally high in Vitamin C, which boosts your immune system.
5. Higher Satisfaction with Taste
Mixing creatine with juice gives you the added benefit of the sweet taste of juice.
Most creatine supplements are unflavored, so using juice can make you more likely to want to take your creatine.
A supplement will only work well if you have strategies to ensure you will take it regularly.
Drawbacks of Mixing Creatine With Juice
The drawbacks of mixing creatine with juice include:
1. Higher Calorie Intake
More calories are a drawback for someone looking to achieve a calorie deficit for weight loss, which is the opposite of the benefit for someone looking to achieve a calorie surplus for weight gain.
Eliminating all sources of liquid calories (including juice) can be very helpful for an individual looking to manage appetite to achieve a calorie deficit since chewing solid food is generally more filling than drinking liquid calories.
2. Higher Sugar Intake
Even with all-natural fruit juices where the sugar is naturally occurring, it is still a form of added sugar in the diet.
Too much sugar in the diet not only makes it hard to achieve a calorie deficit but it’s also linked to poor health.
3. It Costs More
Your creatine supplement will be just as effective in the long term whether you decide to mix it with water or with juice. Therefore, mixing it with juice is adding an unnecessary expense (unless you require the additional carbs to hit your daily targets).
For example, if you take 5g of Transparent Labs creatine a day with 500ml (16 ounces) of water, your cost of supplementation for 30 days would be about $49.99, or $1.66 per day.
If you combine the same amount of creatine daily with 500 ml (16 ounces) of Simply Orange Juice, the cost of the juice alone for 30 days would be approximately $36.94. Combine this with the cost of creatine it will cost you about $86.93 for 30 days, or $2.90 per day.
How Does The Acidity Of Certain Juices Influence Creatine Absorption?
If you have considered mixing your creatine with juice, you may have seen the online chatter about the acidity of juice and how it can affect creatine absorption.
There are some who do not recommend mixing creatine with citrus juices (e.g. orange juice), arguing that the acidity will prevent creatine from being absorbed effectively, and denature the creatine into creatinine (a waste product in the body from digestion of protein).
The argument against this theory is that creatine can withstand stomach acid (1-1.5ph level), which is much more acidic than juice (e.g. orange juice has a 3.5ph level). Therefore, mixing your creatine with juice should not be a problem.
This is confirmed by Dr. Richard Kreider, PhD, who said:
“It is well established that creatine is not degraded into creatinine through the digestive processes despite very low pH levels. One recent study indicates that creatine is not degraded into creatinine throughout the first six hours of digestion. Therefore, it is unlikely that mixing creatine in fruit juice would degrade creatine unless you mix it in juice and let it sit for several days.”-Dr. Richard Kreider, phD
Best Juices To Mix With Creatine
You can mix any juice with creatine.
What’s most important is choosing the type and amount of juice that is right for your overall goals since the juice is a source of fast-digesting simple carbohydrates that provide quick energy for workouts.
- Orange Juice: Packed with Vitamin C, this juice is beneficial for collagen production and tissue repair. Opt for pulp-free versions before workouts to prevent potential digestive discomfort.
- Apple Juice: A prime pre-workout choice due to its fast-digesting carbs. It’s also rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, promoting heart health and combating free radicals.
- Cranberry Juice: Depending on your goals, you can choose between sweetened or unsweetened. Sweetened versions can aid in achieving a calorie surplus for bulking or maximizing performance.
- Pomegranate Juice: Known to promote recovery by reducing post-training muscle soreness. It’s slightly higher in carbs and sugar compared to some other juices, so adjust the amount based on your needs.
- Tomato Juice: Offers a savory flavor alternative to the typically sweet juice options. However, it’s essential to note that it often contains added salt, making it unsuitable for those on a low-sodium diet.
- Cherry Juice: Ideal for pre or post workouts, especially during bulking phases, due to its higher calorie and sugar content. Cherries also help reduce exercise-induced inflammation.
- Lemon Juice: While mixing with pure lemon juice might be too sour for some, combining with lemonade offers a sweeter alternative. However, lemonade typically comes with added calories and sugar.
“The best way to mix creatine with juice is to find juice that’s ideally fresh and without added sugars. These days, it’s easy to find cold-pressed juices that can provide you with the vitamins and minerals of fresh fruits and vegetables, without all the added sugar of pre-made juices.”-Lecia Bushak, Health Reporter
When To Consume Creatine & Juice: Optimal Timing
My recommendation is to consume creatine mixed with juice either pre or post-workout.
With that said, if your lifestyle or personal preferences don’t allow for this timing, taking creatine at ANY time of day will be more beneficial than not taking it.
Whatever creatine timing allows for consistency, day-to-day is the best.
Creatine is optimal to take pre-workout because the creatine levels in the body will be increased in time for exercise. The carbohydrates in the juice will provide a fuel source for the workout.
Athletes can maintain higher training intensity and improve the quality of their workouts when they have an increased total amount of creatine in their bodies.
Creatine and juice immediately post-workout is also a good choice because creatine will help your body with energy after intense exercise, and the carbohydrates in the juice promote recovery by stopping the stress hormone cortisol and replenishing fuel stores.
It is also important to include a source of protein in post-workout meals and snacks to provide the building blocks for repairing and building new muscle tissue.
Consider adding a scoop of protein powder along with your juice and creatine.
- Related Article: Can You Mix Creatine With Protein Powder?
In The Morning?
If it is not practical for you to wait until pre-workout, or if you are more likely to forget if you don’t do it first thing in the morning, it is better to create an easy-to-remember routine than to risk forgetting to take your creatine.
For non-training days, it is a good idea to continue taking creatine simultaneously, which could mean taking it in the morning.
A commonly cited study shows that creatine supplementation can reduce the negative impacts of sleeplessness, but this study does NOT discuss the timing of supplementation, meaning that it is unnecessary to take creatine before bed to get these benefits.
As well it’s well known that added sugar intake reduces sleep quality. Therefore, creatine, specifically mixed with juice before bed, is likely not a good idea.
Mixing Creatine With Juice vs. Water: Which is Better?
Creatine is equally effective as a supplement, whether mixed with juice or water.
What is “better” is relative to your own goals and preferences. It is up to you whether and how juice fits your overall nutrition plan.
Recall that the benefits of mixing creatine with juice are:
- Higher creatine retention (25% more) when ingested with carbohydrates and/or protein, which can shorten the initial loading phase for creatine
- Higher calorie intake (~130 calories per cup of juice, varies depending on the type of juice)
- Higher carbohydrate intake (~30g per cup of juice)
- Higher micronutrient intake (Vitamin C)
- Higher satisfaction with taste, which can make creatine supplementation more palatable
These benefits are most relevant for individuals looking to optimize athletic performance and/or trying to increase their intake for mass gain goals.
On the other hand, recall that the drawbacks of mixing creatine with juice are:
- Higher calorie intake (~130 calories per cup of juice)
- Higher sugar intake (~30g per cup of juice)
These are drawbacks for individuals trying to limit their calorie intake for weight loss or weight maintenance goals. Added sugar can be especially challenging for someone with diabetes.
Who Should Mix Creatine With Juice?
Individuals looking for an easy way to add calories to their diet should mix creatine with juice.
This is most often for bodybuilders in a bulking phase or anyone looking to gain weight for health, performance, or aesthetics.
Who Should Not Mix Creatine With Juice?
Anyone having difficulty achieving a calorie deficit and/or managing cravings during a calorie deficit should not mix creatine with juice.
For anyone looking to maintain or lose weight for health, such as a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, a zero-calorie option is to mix creatine with water instead.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Creatine Dissolve In Juice?
Yes, creatine will dissolve in juice. A shaker bottle is recommended to assist.
How Much Juice Do I Mix With Creatine?
The amount of juice to mix with creatine depends on your goals and how many calories you want to consume in this format.
Generally, 1-2 cups of juice is recommended, providing approximately 125-250 calories, depending on the type of juice.
How Much Creatine Do I Mix With Juice?
The general guideline for ongoing creatine supplementation is 3-5g daily.
You can take this as a single serving or split the dose into two servings, one each for pre-and post-workout.
What Kind Of Creatine Should I Mix With Juice?
We recommend creatine monohydrate, which is regarded as the most clinically effective and extensively studied nutritional supplement for increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.
Regardless of whether you choose to mix creatine with juice or with water, we do NOT recommend dry-scooping creatine. To learn more about creatine, check out the list of links below.
Cooper R, Naclerio F, Allgrove J, Jimenez A. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Jul 20;9(1):33. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-33. PMID: 22817979; PMCID: PMC3407788.
Buford, T.W., Kreider, R.B., Stout, J.R. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 4, 6 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-4-6
Smit, H. J., Kemsley, E. K., Tapp, H. S., & Henry, C. J. K. (2011). Does prolonged chewing reduce food intake? Fletcherism revisited. Appetite, 57(1), 295-298. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2011.02.003.
Matthew S. Tryon and others, Excessive Sugar Consumption May Be a Difficult Habit to Break: A View From the Brain and Body, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 100, Issue 6, 1 June 2015, Pages 2239–2247, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2014-4353
Porter, J.M., & Horne, J.A. (1981). Bed-time food supplements and sleep: Effects of different carbohydrate levels. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 51(4), 426-433. https://doi.org/10.1016/0013-4694(81)90106-1.
McMorris T, Harris RC, Swain J, Corbett J, Collard K, Dyson RJ, Dye L, Hodgson C, Draper N. Effect of creatine supplementation and sleep deprivation, with mild exercise, on cognitive and psychomotor performance, mood state, and plasma concentrations of catecholamines and cortisol. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Mar;185(1):93-103. doi: 10.1007/s00213-005-0269-z. Epub 2006 Jan 17. PMID: 16416332.
Alahmary SA, Alduhaylib SA, Alkawii HA, Olwani MM, Shablan RA, Ayoub HM, Purayidathil TS, Abuzaid OI, Khattab RY. Relationship Between Added Sugar Intake and Sleep Quality Among University Students: A Cross-sectional Study. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2019 Aug 23;16(1):122-129. doi: 10.1177/1559827619870476. PMID: 35185434; PMCID: PMC8848117.
Trombold, Justin R; Reinfeld, Ari S; Casler, James R; Coyle, Edward F. The Effect of Pomegranate Juice Supplementation on Strength and Soreness after Eccentric Exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 25(7):p 1782-1788, July 2011. | DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318220d992
About The Author
Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement. Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete. She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.
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