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As a nutrition coach, I’m often asked what to mix creatine with, and whether milk is a good option.
Here’s my quick answer:
Creatine can be mixed with milk without losing any of the benefits. According to some studies, it’s possible that creatine can be absorbed even quicker into the body by mixing creatine with carbohydrates (such as milk).
With that said, there are some potential consequences when it comes to the type of milk you choose and supplement timing (more on this below).
- Adding creatine to milk is a great way to make your creatine supplement taste better, increasing the likelihood of taking it consistently.
- If taking creatine before a workout, choose skim or 2% milk. The low-fat content will help you avoid digestive upset as you train.
- Those who are lactose intolerant but wish to take their creatine with milk should choose lactose-free milk or take digestive enzymes with the mixture to make it easier to digest.
Benefits of Mixing Creatine With Milk
The benefits of mixing creatine with milk include:
1. More Creatine
When creatine supplements are taken at the same time as carbohydrates and/or protein (such as in milk), studies show that the body retains up to 25% more of the creatine, and the creatine can be absorbed more quickly due to the effects of insulin.
This means that the common “loading phase” for creatine of 5-7 days can possibly be shortened to 2-3 days. There is no current change in the recommendation for ongoing supplementation at a rate of 3-5g per day thereafter.
It is worth noting, however, that this has not been shown to have a greater effect on performance.
- Related Article: How Long For Creatine To Work (1-Week & 1-Month Results)
2. More Calories
The additional calories in milk can be very helpful for individuals looking to achieve a calorie surplus for weight gain goals since drinking calories is generally less filling than chewing solid food.
3. More Protein
Each cup of milk provides 9-13g of protein, which can assist in helping you to meet your protein targets for the day.
Sufficient protein intake is important for both stopping the breakdown of existing muscle tissue (catabolism) and for creating new muscle tissue (muscle protein synthesis).
- Learn more about creatine in the article Best Type of Creatine.
4. More Carbs
Each cup of milk provides 6-13g of carbs in the form of lactose (the naturally occurring sugar in milk).
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 & milk below).
As a bonus, Fairlife milk is lactose-free. It has the added enzyme lactase that breaks lactose down into glucose and galactose.
This is a great choice for people who are lactose-intolerant (meaning they do not naturally produce the enzyme lactose within their bodies to allow them to digest lactose).
- Related Article: High-Calorie Alternatives To Milk: 3 Dairy-Free Options
5. More Fat
If you are looking to increase your dietary fats to assist with weight gain or bulking goals, 2% or whole milk is a great option to add 5-8g of fat to your intake.
While fats should be avoided in the pre-workout window, the level of fat is still low enough to be appropriate for post-workout.
FeastGood Registered Dietician Brenda Peralta states:
“Not exceeding a maximum of 15-20g of fat in your post-workout meal is ideal.”
Note that 0% skim milk does not provide any fats, so it is a great choice for mixing with creatine pre-workout.
6. More Micronutrients
Milk is generally well-known for being an excellent source of calcium, which is vital for healthy, strong teeth and bones to help you avoid the risk of osteoporosis, fractures, and dental problems.
These vitamins and minerals are important for energy production and metabolism and assist in digestion and recovery processes in the body. All of these factors are important for general health and especially for fueling for and recovering from training.
7. More Taste & Texture
Mixing creatine with milk gives you the added benefit of the creamy texture and taste of milk.
Most creatine supplements on their own are unflavored, so using milk provides a better taste experience, which can make you more likely to want to take your creatine.
A supplement is only effective if you succeed in taking it consistently.
8. More Satiety
The calories in milk, especially the protein, make it more filling.
According to Registered Dietitian Beth Warren:
“It has consistently been proven that quality calories … have a greater satisfaction and fullness factor, than consuming empty calories filled with simple carbohydrates.”
- Related Article: Can You Mix Whey Protein With Milk?
9. Better Dissolvability
Creatine dissolves better in warm liquids than in cold ones. Milk is a beverage that many people heat before drinking. If you’re one of those people, you can get your creatine to dissolve more easily by mixing it into a glass of warm milk.
10. Better Sleep
Drinking a glass of warm milk helps many people fall asleep at night. If you like to consume warm milk before bed, you can add your creatine to it, which will prevent it from getting clumpy and help you fall asleep faster.
Drawbacks of Mixing Creatine With Milk
The drawbacks of mixing creatine with milk include:
1. More Calories
Just as more calories can be a benefit for someone looking to achieve a calorie surplus for weight gain, this can also be a drawback for someone looking to achieve a calorie deficit for weight loss.
Since drinking calories is generally less filling than chewing solid food, an individual looking to manage appetite to achieve a calorie deficit can be better off eliminating all sources of liquid calories, including milk.
2. More Lactose
With the exception of lactose-free milk, dairy milk contains the naturally occurring milk sugar lactose. For people who are lactose intolerant, this can lead to digestive discomfort including bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
Thankfully this drawback is easily overcome by using lactose-free milk or taking a product like Lactaid which provides the enzyme lactase to digest the lactose in the milk.
What Type of Creatine Is Best To Mix With Milk?
There is no one type of creatine that’s best to mix with milk. However, in general, I recommend using creatine monohydrate to mix with milk for various reasons.
Creatine monohydrate is the purest form of creatine and the most heavily researched. In many research studies evaluating the benefits of creatine on athletic performance and cognitive function, the participants supplement with creatine monohydrate.
It’s also affordable and one of the most widely available forms of creatine online and in brick-and-mortar supplement stores.
Creatine & Milk: When To Consume
The optimal timing for creatine supplementation really depends on an individual’s personal preferences and experience.
Whatever timing is best for any one person to ensure consistency, regular creatine supplementation is what is best for them.
Just as I counsel my nutrition clients, I encourage you to experiment and find what is best.
Let me address some of the common questions I hear about when to take creatine and milk.
Is Creatine & Milk Good Pre-Workout?
Creatine is optimal to take pre-workout because the creatine levels in the body will be increased in time for exercise. The calories and macros in the milk will provide a fuel source for the workout.
But, I suggest mixing creatine with skim milk (not 2% or whole milk) since you want the fat content lower before a workout.
An increased total amount of creatine in the body has been shown to allow athletes to maintain higher training intensity and improve the quality of their workouts.
Fats are slower to digest, which means that the energy will be released more slowly, compromising your training. High-fat content before a workout can also increase your risk of digestive upset.
Is Creatine & Milk Good Post-Workout?
Creatine and milk immediately post-workout is also a good choice because the creatine will help your body with energy after intense exercise, and the calories and macronutrients in the milk will assist with replenishing fuel stores.
The best type of milk post-workout is 2% or whole milk, to give your body a balanced blend of all macros (protein, carbs and fat) to assist with recovery.
Is Creatine & Milk Good When I Wake Up?
Creatine and milk in the morning is a good idea, especially if your training is in the morning since this coincides with the optimal pre-workout window, discussed above.
For non-training days, it is a good idea to continue taking creatine when you wake up to create a consistent morning routine so that you don’t forget to take it.
Since milk provides 9-13g of protein, this is also a great way to get a good start on protein intake for the day.
If your usual training time is not in the morning, it can be advantageous to wait until the pre-workout window (30 minutes before training).
Is Creatine & Milk Good Before Bed?
Creatine and milk before bed can be a good idea if this coincides with the post-workout window, or if this is a time of day that creates an easy-to-remember routine that makes you more likely to remember to take it.
You may also find that a glass of milk helps you to sleep.
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.
Mixing Creatine With Milk vs. Water: Which is Better?
Creatine is equally effective as a supplement whether it is mixed with milk or with water. What is “better” is relative to your own individual goals and preferences. It is up to you as to whether and how milk fits into your overall nutrition plan.
It’s also important to note that taking creatine consistently is more important than what you take it with. You don’t have to force yourself to take creatine with milk if you hate the taste of milk.
That said, if you prefer to take creatine with water, I recommend heating it up slightly in the microwave first to make it easier to dissolve. But since plain warm water may not taste that great, you can also use flavor enhancers like Mio drops or add lemon juice to improve the taste.
Who Should Mix Creatine With Milk?
Individuals looking for an easy way to add calories, and especially protein, should mix creatine with milk.
This is most often bodybuilders in a bulking phase, or anyone looking to gain weight for health, performance, or aesthetic reasons.
Who Should NOT Mix Creatine With Milk?
Anyone who is lactose intolerant or struggling to manage a calorie deficit should not mix creatine with milk.
Mixing creatine with water instead provides a zero-calorie option. This can apply to bodybuilders in a cutting phase, or anyone looking to maintain or lose weight for health, performance or aesthetic reasons.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Creatine Dissolve In Milk?
Yes, creatine will dissolve in milk. A shaker bottle is recommended to assist.
Can I Mix Creatine With Hot Milk?
Yes, you can mix creatine with warm or hot milk. In fact, warmer liquids actually allow creatine powder to dissolve more easily. You should be able to stir creatine powder into warm or hot milk, rather than using a shaker bottle.
How Much Milk Do I Mix With Creatine?
The amount of milk to mix with creatine depends on your goals and how many calories you would like to consume in this format.
In general, 1-2 cups of milk is recommended, which will range from 80-300 calories depending on the type of milk (e.g. skim vs. whole).
How Much Creatine Do I Mix With Milk?
The general guideline for ongoing creatine supplementation is 3-5g per day. 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 Milk?
Creatine monohydrate is regarded as the most clinically effective and extensively studied nutritional supplement for increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
We recommend creatine monohydrate for mixing with milk.
Learn More About Creatine Usage
- Can You Dry Scoop Creatine?
- Can You Take Creatine Forever?
- How Long For Creatine To Work?
- What Happens When You Stop Creatine?
What Else Can You Mix With Creatine?
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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.