It can be concerning when you go to drink your creatine and notice that the liquid is cloudy because it hasn’t dissolved properly. Why does your creatine not dissolve? And can you still drink it?
- Creatine dissolves poorly in water or other liquids, mainly if the liquid is cold. This is not your fault. It’s simply a characteristic of creatine and happens to everyone. Try stirring creatine in warm water to improve its dissolvability.
- Micronized creatine-monohydrate and creatine HCL will dissolve better than creatine monohydrate. Because creatine monohydrate is the most popular type of creatine sold, you’re likely trying to dissolve a less soluble form.
- There is no evidence to suggest that consuming undissolved creatine is less effective.
The 3 Biggest Reasons Your Creatine Isn’t Dissolving
The three most common reasons why your creatine isn’t dissolving are:
1. You’re Not Using Enough Liquid
Creatine already has limited solubility (the ability of a substance to dissolve). When you don’t use enough liquid, the issue is more noticeable.
The majority of research suggests that 3-5g taken daily is the most effective dose to use long-term.
You want to make sure that you are using at least 1 cup (8oz / 250mL) for every 5 grams of creatine you are taking. So, if you take only 3g of creatine, you should use at least 5oz (about 148mL) of liquid.
- Related: Can You Mix Creatine With Milk?
2. You’re Using a Cold Liquid
Powders tend to dissolve worse in cold liquids, and it’s significantly more noticeable with a powder like creatine that has poor solubility.
While you don’t necessarily need to use a boiling liquid, your creatine will dissolve better in liquid that is room temperature or has heated slightly.
3. You’re Using Poor-Quality Creatine
As I’ll explain below, creatine monohydrate is the most popular form of creatine. But because it’s so common, this means poor-quality supplements often make it onto store shelves.
You want to make sure that the creatine you buy is third-party certified.
Being third-party certified means that an independent company with no connection to the supplement company tests the product to determine if the purity and quality stated on the label are accurate.
Supplements that are third-party certified will have a seal on the label so you can easily tell them apart from the ones that aren’t.
What Forms of Creatine Dissolve Better?
While creatine monohydrate is the most common form sold today, there are many other forms of creatine as well, many of which have better solubility than standard creatine monohydrate.
I mentioned creatine monohydrate above, which is a form of creatine in which each creatine molecule has one molecule of water attached to it.
In addition to being the most popular form of creatine sold today, it’s also the most widely researched. However, it does not dissolve very easily in liquids.
Another form of creatine monohydrate is called micronized creatine-monohydrate, which is more processed and has a much smaller particle size (up to 10 times smaller than standard creatine monohydrate).
These characteristics allow it to dissolve more completely.
Creatine HCL (creatine hydrochloride) is the second most common form of creatine sold today. It dissolves considerably better than creatine monohydrate, meaning that a smaller 1-gram dose is as effective as a 5-gram dose.
But the one drawback is that this form of creatine tends to cost quite a bit more.
Creatine nitrate is newer to the market, and as such, is not as well studied as creatine monohydrate.
Creatine nitrate does dissolve better than monohydrate, meaning that once again, you require a smaller dose than monohydrate. But just like creatine HCL, creatine nitrate is more expensive.
How Can You Fix Creatine That Isn’t Dissolving?
The simplest way to get creatine to dissolve better is to use a sufficient amount of liquid (at least 250mL / 8oz per 5g of creatine monohydrate). In addition, dissolving the creatine in a warm liquid will increase the solubility.
It’s also important to make sure that you are purchasing a trusted, high-quality brand that is third-party certified to make sure you’re getting the purest creatine product.
But there’s one other simple factor that often gets overlooked: stirring or shaking.
If you are stirring creatine into a liquid, you may need to stir for up to 30 seconds to make sure the powder dissolves as completely as possible. If you are using a shaker cup, you may need to shake it for up to 10 seconds for it to completely dissolve.
If you are mixing your creatine with a warm liquid in a shaker cup, be sure to open the lid slowly after shaking, as there might be a slight pressure buildup and you may end up with liquid splashing out.
- One thing we don’t recommend is dry scooping creatine. Learn more about the drawbacks of doing this in Can You Dry Scoop Creatine? Benefits, Risks, & Effectiveness.
Does Creatine Need To Fully Dissolve for It To Be Effective?
There is no definitive evidence to suggest that creatine is less effective when it isn’t completely dissolved. However, when creatine is poorly dissolved, there’s a higher possibility of undesirable side effects such as bloating or cramping.
The bloating and cramping that can occur with creatine happens because creatine that isn’t dissolved fully can draw water into the stomach or intestines, leading to belching and/or diarrhea.
But this is usually connected to taking larger doses of creatine and is unlikely to be an issue with the normal recommended dosage of 3-5g.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Fix Clumped Creatine?
Creatine can absorb some moisture from the air and start to clump if it isn’t stored with the lid on tightly. You may be able to break up the clumps simply by shaking the container vigorously.
If that fails, you may also consider using a utensil such as a butter knife to break them up.
Does Creatine Dissolve In Hot Water?
Yes, creatine dissolves more effectively in hot liquid than in cold liquid, and the hot liquid will not damage or affect the quality of the creatine.
Does Creatine Dissolve In Cold Water?
Creatine does not dissolve in cold water very well. It can be partially dissolved, and if you use a lot of liquid it may dissolve somewhat, but it is still more difficult to get creatine to dissolve in a cold liquid.
Does Creatine Dissolve In Milk?
Yes, creatine can be mixed with milk while retaining all of its benefits. It’s also possible that creatine can be absorbed more rapidly into the body by mixing it with milk.
By combining creatine and milk you get extra calories, macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat), and calcium.
Does Creatine Dissolve In Coffee?
Yes, creatine will dissolve in coffee. However, it may change the flavor of your coffee, so if you are particularly fond of coffee, you may want to dissolve your creatine in a different liquid.
Does Creatine Dissolve In Juice?
Creatine will dissolve in juice. For many years, mixing creatine with juice was a popular method of consuming it because it was thought to increase absorption.
However, mixing creatine in things that contain high refined sugar content can also cause some digestive distress.
What To Read Next
- Do You Need to Cycle Creatine?
- Creatine Every Other Day: Should You Do It? Pros & Cons
- Can You Take Creatine Forever?
- Can You Take Creatine Before Bed?
- If You Missed a Day of Creatine Do These 3 Things
- Creatine On An Empty Stomach
Kreider, R.B., Kalman, D.S., Antonio, J. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 18 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z
Gufford BT, Sriraghavan K, Miller NJ, Miller DW, Gu X, Vennerstrom JL, Robinson DH. Physicochemical characterization of creatine N-methylguanidinium salts. J Diet Suppl. 2010 Sep;7(3):240-52. doi: 10.3109/19390211.2010.491507. PMID: 22432515.
Ostojic SM, Ahmetovic Z. Gastrointestinal distress after creatine supplementation in athletes: are side effects dose dependent? Res Sports Med. 2008;16(1):15-22. doi: 10.1080/15438620701693280. PMID: 18373286.
About The Author
Jon McLernon (aka Coach Jon) is a Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certified Master Coach. With a background in chemistry and psychology, Coach Jon has a passion for supplement/nutrition science and behavioral psychology. When he’s not helping his clients crush their nutrition goals, he’s usually trying to wrangle a busy toddler (and get him to eat more veggies), or he and his Aussie wife are off on another globetrotting adventure!
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