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If you’ve decided to supplement with creatine to improve your strength and muscle mass, you may be wondering what to mix it with that won’t negatively affect its results.
Here are 8 examples of what you can safely mix with creatine:
- Energy Drinks
- Sports Drinks
- Hot Liquids
Below, I’ll explain the use cases for mixing creatine in these different ways and who would benefit most from them.
I’ll also discuss what other supplements are safe to mix with creatine, since “supplement stacking” is becoming more popular, and based on my experience as a nutrition coach, there is a right and wrong way to do this.
5 Rules To Follow When Taking Creatine
No matter what liquid you decide to mix with your creatine, there are certain rules you need to follow to maximize the benefits you get from supplementing with creatine.
The 5 rules to follow when taking creatine are:
- Be Consistent
- Limit Your Serving To 3-8g At One Time
- Drink Plenty Of Water
- Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
- Choose Creatine Monohydrate
1. Be Consistent
One of the most important rules to follow with taking creatine is to be consistent because creatine does not work immediately, instead, it adds up over time to saturate your body’s creatine stores.
If you’re not consistent with your creatine supplementation then you won’t saturate your stores and you will not reap all of the benefits that creatine has to offer for muscle building, strength, power, and cognitive function.
I recommend taking creatine every day because if you take it less often, like every other day, you will need a larger dose of creatine, which doesn’t always sit well.
- Related Article: Creatine Makes Me Feel Sick – Why & How To Fix
2. Limit Your Serving To 3-8g At One Time
It’s also better to limit your serving of creatine to 3-8g at one time because larger doses of creatine may cause stomach cramping, and lesser doses haven’t been shown to be as effective.
This is why if you’re doing a loading phase (a process of saturation your creatine stores more quickly) and you need around 20 grams per day, it is best to split into multiple doses throughout the day.
For example, in a loading phase, it’s common for people to have 4 doses of 5g of creatine for a daily total of 20g for 5 to 7 days.
If you’re not in a loading phase and you’re taking a standard dose of creatine, then your daily serving should be between 3-8g because research shows this is the most effective long-term dose.
3. Drink Plenty Of Water
When you’re supplementing with creatine it’s important to drink plenty of water to ensure that you’re adequately hydrated because creatine works by pulling water into the muscles.
If you’re dehydrated and there isn’t enough water to pull into your muscles, then creatine won’t be as effective.
Make a point to sip on water or other liquids throughout the day to ensure adequate hydration, I recommend 0.5-1 liter per hour.
- Related Article: Creatine On An Empty Stomach (What The Science Says)
4. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
Another important rule when taking creatine is to limit your alcohol consumption, especially around the time that you take your creatine supplement because alcohol and creatine have opposing effects.
Creatine requires hydration because it pulls water into your muscles; alcohol is a diuretic that flushes water from your system, causing dehydration.
Creatine encourages muscle protein synthesis (a precursor for muscle growth); alcohol reduces muscle protein synthesis and limits muscle growth.
For these reasons, I recommend waiting at least 4 hours after taking your creatine before consuming alcohol to minimize interference effects.
5. Choose Creatine Monohydrate
Although there are multiple types of creatine on the market, the one that has been proven to be the most effective is creatine monohydrate.
The current research suggests that creatine monohydrate produces the best results for muscle gain, strength, power, and cognitive function.
My favorite brand of creatine monohydrate is the PEScience TruCreatine because it is third-party tested, meaning that it has been verified by a third party for label accuracy and purity.
Best Ways To Mix Creatine
The most basic thing you could mix with creatine is water. However, the downside to using water as a mix is that it does little to disguise the taste of creatine.
Although water may seem kind of boring, it is the best option if you want to mix your creatine with a calorie-free liquid. A calorie-free liquid like water is ideal for those taking creatine but who want to lose weight.
If you’re not a fan of the taste of creatine, then you can add a zero-calorie water flavoring like Mio or Kool-Aid squirts to your water to disguise the taste.
Note: If your creatine doesn’t fully dissolve in water (i.e. you still see some granules floating in your water after stirring or shaking), this isn’t a problem. Here’s why it happens and how to fix it.
Mixing your creatine with juice is a great option to help disguise the taste of the creatine, which tends to have a chalky taste on its own.
Juice might also help the creatine absorb at a faster rate because of the fast-digesting sugars that juice contains. This is because the sugar in juice produces a rise in insulin, which increases the rate of nutrient uptake.
In fact, this study suggests that when creatine is taken with a fast-digesting carb (like juice) that produces a higher insulin response, creatine retention improves by 25%.
Additionally, mixing creatine with juice is a great option before or after your workout because the sugars in the juice will help provide you with energy for training or replenish your energy stores after training.
If you’re a milk drinker then you might enjoy mixing your creatine with milk.
Milk is one of the best options to mix your creatine with if you’re someone who is trying to gain weight or build muscle because the milk will increase your calorie and protein intake, which are important for weight gain/muscle growth.
I recommend adding creatine to your milk and pouring it over top of your favorite cereal.
Another easy way to mix your creatine is into a smoothie because I can guarantee you won’t know it’s there when you’re mixing it in a blender with multiple ingredients.
Adding creatine to a fruit smoothie is convenient and provides you with lots of micronutrients, which are extremely beneficial for your overall health.
I often mix my creatine into a PB&J smoothie:
- 1.25 cups mixed berries
- 1 scoop of creatine (5g)
- 1 scoop of peanut butter protein
- 1 cup milk of choice (I use oat milk)
- Optional: 1 tbsp peanut butter
5. Energy Drinks
Creatine mixed with energy drinks is also a popular way to take creatine because many people are drinking energy drinks pre-workout for a boost of caffeine and it’s easier to remember to take your creatine when you’re pairing it with a habit that you’ve already established.
The only downside to pairing your creatine with energy drinks is that you shouldn’t be drinking energy drinks every day, but you do need to take your creatine every day.
So consider having an alternative mixer that you can use for days when you’re not having energy drinks.
6. Sports Drinks
Another option is to mix creatine with sports drinks, like Gatorade, because the electrolytes in a sports drink will help encourage hydration, which is necessary to get the most benefit from creatine.
I recommend mixing your creatine with a sports drink and sipping on it throughout your workout because this will help keep you hydrated and provide you with fast-digesting sugars during your workout to keep your energy levels high.
7. Hot Liquids
It may surprise you, but creatine can also be mixed with hot liquids like coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and soup without compromising its benefits.
In fact, creatine actually dissolves best in hot liquids because the heat speeds up the dissolving process.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s easier to remember to take your creatine if you pair it with another habit that you’ve already established, so if you’re a coffee drinker then adding creatine to your coffee would be an easy way to remember to take it.
You can also choose to mix creatine with food rather than just liquids; a popular option is to mix creatine with oatmeal because oatmeal has a neutral taste that can easily be enhanced with additives like brown sugar, chocolate chips, peanut butter, or fruit.
The texture of oatmeal does a great job disguising the chalky taste of creatine so that you won’t even know it’s there. The carbs in oatmeal also make it a great pre-workout meal to fuel your training session.
Can You Mix Creatine With Other Supplements?
Yes, you can mix creatine with other supplements without affecting the benefits of either supplement.
Here are some options when it comes to supplementing stacking with creatine:
Mixing creatine and protein powder is perfectly safe.
In fact, it’s encouraged if your goal is to increase your muscle mass because consuming an adequate amount of protein is essential for muscle growth to occur.
Pairing your creatine and protein powder in a protein shake is the easiest way to consume these two supplements.
- If you want to know exactly how much creatine to take for your bodyweight and goals, use our Creatine Calculator
You can also mix creatine with pre-workout as none of the ingredients in a pre-workout would impair creatine absorption or its benefits.
While many pre-workout products already contain creatine, the doses of creatine in pre-workout aren’t enough to maximize its benefits.
Additionally, the type of creatine in a pre-workout may not be creatine monohydrate, which is the most effective form.
If you’re taking a pre-workout that has creatine monohydrate, but it has less than 5g, I suggest adding more creatine to it to bring it up to a 5g serving.
You also shouldn’t be taking pre-workout every day, so on days when you’re not using pre-workout, it will still be important to take your creatine.
There have been some speculations that caffeine and creatine shouldn’t be mixed because caffeine does have diuretic properties; however, the diuretic effects of caffeine aren’t enough to dehydrate you (as alcohol would).
- Related Article: Can You Mix Collagen Powder With Creatine? (Pros & Cons)
Creatine can also be taken with a mass gainer if the mass gainer that you’re using doesn’t already include the right type and dose of creatine already.
Those taking a mass gainer would benefit from creatine because of creatine’s ability to enhance muscle growth, which is primarily why people choose to take a mass gainer in the first place.
You can also mix creatine with BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), which is most beneficial for those who don’t consume animal products.
Those who don’t consume animal products will be more responsive to creatine supplementation because they likely don’t consume enough creatine-rich foods as it is.
Additionally, those who don’t consume animal products may struggle to hit their protein goals and therefore benefit from taking a BCAA supplement to ensure they’re getting enough amino acids to encourage muscle growth.
What To Avoid Mixing Creatine With
The only food/liquid that you should avoid mixing with creatine is alcohol because alcohol cancels out creatine’s benefits.
However, if you’re taking medications, it’s important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before supplementing with creatine to ensure that there are no drug interactions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Mix Anything With Creatine?
You can mix creatine with anything but alcohol because alcohol is the one liquid that will counteract creatine’s benefits. That said, if you’re taking any medications you should check with your doctor before taking creatine to ensure that it won’t interfere with your medications.
Is It Better To Take Creatine With Water or Milk?
The only difference between using water and milk to take creatine is their nutritional content. If you’re trying to reduce your calorie intake to lose weight, water is better; if you’re trying to increase your calorie intake to gain weight, milk is better.
Is It Better To Take Creatine With Water or Juice?
Choosing between water or juice to take with creatine is largely a personal preference. Taking creatine with juice will help to disguise the taste of creatine better than water; however, juice also has calories and carbs that you may not want if you’re trying to lose weight.
Is It Better To Take Creatine With or Without Food?
Creatine doesn’t need to be taken with food to be properly absorbed so whether you take it with or without food is a personal preference.
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.