Creatine is one of the best supplements for muscle growth and recovery, while alcohol is one of the worst.
So it’s important to understand if alcohol and creatine can be mixed, consumed separately, or if drinking alcohol defeats the purpose of taking creatine.
So, can you mix creatine with alcohol? You should not mix creatine with alcohol or consume it around the same time of day because alcohol and creatine have opposing effects on muscle growth and recovery. Additionally, if you want to maximize the benefits of supplementing with creatine then you should stop your alcohol consumption altogether or limit it.
If it’s not realistic for you to stop drinking alcohol altogether, or you want to enjoy the occasional drink, then it’s important to understand how you can minimize the interference effects between alcohol and creatine.
After reading this article you’ll learn:
- If you can drink alcohol while taking creatine
- If it’s safe to mix alcohol and creatine
- What side effects are possible when consuming alcohol and creatine
- How to minimize the interference effects of alcohol and creatine
Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Creatine?
While you can drink alcohol while taking creatine, I recommend that you don’t. Drinking alcohol while taking creatine will limit your potential for muscle growth, strength, and power because creatine and alcohol have opposing effects.
If you’re serious about improving your performance and body composition then I suggest giving up alcohol for the time being to focus on your muscle-building goals.
If you’re okay with diminishing returns for the sake of having a few drinks, then you’re fine to have a couple of drinks per week.
What you should avoid altogether, though, is consuming alcohol daily; there is no point in taking creatine if you’re going to drink every day.
Side Effects of Taking Creatine With Alcohol
The side effects of taking creatine with alcohol are:
- Alcohol slows the body’s absorption of nutrients. When taking creatine with alcohol, the absorption of creatine will be impacted which will limit creatine’s effectiveness.
- Alcohol reduces muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Consuming alcohol decreases your potential for muscle growth by interfering with creatine’s attempt to encourage MPS.
- Alcohol causes dehydration. Alcohol and creatine together increase the risk of dehydration because alcohol flushes water from your system while creatine tries to pull what little water is left over into your muscles.
- Alcohol increases the risk of injury. Alcohol increases the risk of injury by limiting creatine’s ability to enhance recovery, impairing nutrient absorption, causing dehydration, and potentially damaging muscle tissue (if overconsumed).
Does Alcohol Impact Creatine Effectiveness?
Yes, alcohol impacts creatine’s effectiveness by causing dehydration, impacting the organs that synthesize creatine, and decreasing its absorption.
Alcohol is a diuretic meaning that it eliminates water from the body, which can lead to dehydration.
The diuretic properties of alcohol impact creatine because one of creatine’s functions is to pull water into muscles to increase cell volume, which encourages muscle protein synthesis (a precursor for muscle growth).
If there is a lack of water available for creatine to pull into the muscles, then creatine won’t be as effective for encouraging muscle growth.
Additionally, alcohol can negatively impact the organs that produce creatine (liver, kidneys, and muscles).
Your body naturally produces 1 to 2 grams of creatine per day, but continued alcohol consumption, especially in high quantities, has a higher risk of causing liver damage, which would directly impact your body’s ability to synthesize creatine.
Lastly, alcohol slows the absorption of nutrients so if alcohol is consumed around the same time that you take your creatine supplement, it will impact the absorption of creatine, making it less effective.
Should You Leave A Gap Between Drinking Alcohol & Creatine?
Yes, you should leave a gap between drinking alcohol and taking your creatine to minimize interference. I suggest working out and taking your creatine in the morning and limiting alcohol consumption to the evenings (but not every day).
To be clear, creatine does not have to be taken around your workout to be effective (it can be taken at any time), but it makes sense to group your workout and creatine in the morning because alcohol affects both of these.
Having a gap between your creatine and alcohol consumption may help to prevent some of the interference effects by allowing creatine to be absorbed before alcohol could limit its absorption.
If creatine is properly absorbed without interference from alcohol, then the main concern becomes staying hydrated so that there is water available for creatine to pull into the muscle and alcohol doesn’t excrete all of the available water.
- Related Article: Can You Mix Protein With Alcohol?
Tips For Taking Creatine When Drinking Alcohol
Follow these four tips for supplementing with creatine if you plan to consume alcohol:
1. Avoid Alcohol Post-Workout
Avoid consuming alcohol after a workout to give the body a chance to repair muscle damage and replenish energy stores so that you have a chance to reap the benefits of training and creatine supplementation.
I suggest waiting 4 to 6 hours after your workout before drinking alcohol. Waiting 4 to 6 hours can give your body time to initiate muscle protein synthesis and encourage muscle growth.
2. Space Out Creatine & Alcohol
I also suggest that you space out your creatine and alcohol consumption by having them at different times of the day.
Having them at different times could help to minimize the interference effects of these two substances.
3. Drink Plenty Of Water
When taking creatine while drinking alcohol, you need to drink between 0.5-1 litre of water per hour because both creatine and alcohol will be fighting over the available water.
To maximize the benefits of creatine you need to ensure that there is enough water available for it to pull into your muscles despite alcohol excreting water at a faster rate.
Focusing on a specific amount of water intake per hour (0.5-1L/hr) is recommended because it’s important to continually drink water throughout the day so that you’re adequately hydrated at all times.
4. Consume Alcohol In Moderation
Last but not, you should always consume alcohol in moderation but especially while taking creatine. The less alcohol you consume, the less likely you are to experience interference effects with creatine.
If it’s unrealistic to eliminate your alcohol intake, then I recommend you set a weekly drink limit, like 1 to 3 drinks per week. The CDC states that a moderate alcohol intake is equivalent to 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink for women; however if you’re supplementing with creatine then it’s best to drink fewer alcoholic beverages.
Other Ways To Mix Creatine
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Put Creatine In Alcohol?
Technically you can put creatine in alcohol but if you do the alcohol will negate any benefits that creatine has because alcohol will limit the absorption of creatine and its effectiveness. If you want to take creatine, you should take it without alcohol.
Will Creatine Dissolve In Alcohol?
Creatine would dissolve better in room-temperature alcohol than in cold alcohol. However, creatine should not be added to alcohol as they have opposing effects. The alcohol will negate any benefits of creatine supplementation.
How Long After Taking Creatine Can You Drink Alcohol?
To minimize interference effects as much as possible, I would recommend separating your creatine and alcohol consumption by 10 to 12 hours. However, if this isn’t possible then I suggest at a minimum you wait 4 hours between creatine supplementation and alcohol consumption.
Additional Creatine Resources
- Should Beginners Take Creatine? Who Should & Shouldn’t Take It
Bujanda, L. (2000). The effects of alcohol consumption upon the gastrointestinal tract. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 95(12), 3374-3382. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9270(00)02140-7.
Lang, C. H., Kimball, S. R., Frost, R. A., & Vary, T. C. (2001). Alcohol myopathy: impairment of protein synthesis and translation initiation. The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 33(5), 457-473. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1357-2725(00)00081-9.
ROBERTS KE. Mechanism of Dehydration Following Alcohol Ingestion. Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(2):154–157. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860020052002
Simon L, Jolley SE, Molina PE. Alcoholic Myopathy: Pathophysiologic Mechanisms and Clinical Implications. Alcohol Res. 2017;38(2):207-217. PMID: 28988574; PMCID: PMC5513686.
Barve S, Chen SY, Kirpich I, Watson WH, Mcclain C. Development, Prevention, and Treatment of Alcohol-Induced Organ Injury: The Role of Nutrition. Alcohol Res. 2017;38(2):289-302. PMID: 28988580; PMCID: PMC5513692.
About The Author
Amanda Parker is an author, nutrition coach, and Certified Naturopath. She works with bodybuilders, Olympic weightlifters, and powerlifters to increase performance through nutrition and lifestyle coaching.