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What to Mix Creatine With: How to Optimize Your Creatine Intake

Creatine is one of the most popular and widely used sports supplements on the market, and for good reason. Its benefits are numerous including improving performance, and aiding with recovery. If you’ve recently begun taking creatine, you may be wondering what to mix creatine with. By following the tips in this article, you can ensure you’re maximizing the solubility and absorption of the creatine you’re consuming. This will help you get the most gains possible from this popular supplement.

What to Mix Creatine With? If you’re wondering what to mix creatine with, it can be mixed into virtually any beverage you like. However, for ideal solubility, we recommend mixing it with warm water. It also appears consuming creatine alongside carbohydrates is beneficial because creatine is better absorbed with higher insulin levels in the body.

what to mix creatine with

What to Mix Creatine With?

Before getting into what to mix with creatine, let’s quickly cover the purpose of this popular supplement. Creatine is a nutrient naturally produced by the body and found in the diet through meat. Most people maintain creatine stores at around 60-80% of their maximum capacity from consuming 1-2g creatine from a normal diet. By fully saturating the body’s creatine stores, there are significant benefits including increased high-intensity exercise performance, reduced fatigue, and better recovery. 

Saturating your creatine stores is most easily achieved through supplementing with 3-5g of creatine a day. Full saturation will occur within 2-4 weeks, at which point you can carry on taking the same amount of creatine everyday. Virtually all athletes will benefit from creatine supplementation. 

Also, although these are our recommendations for mixing creatine, it’s worth noting that this comes down to a matter of personal preference. While these tips will help creatine mix smoothly and be absorbed by the body better, they won’t make a major difference in the effects creatine has on you. 

So, what can you mix creatine with?

1. For Better Solubility

One of the main problems people have with creatine is that it doesn’t seem to dissolve properly when they mix into whatever beverage they’re using. A quick fix for this is mixing creatine into warm liquid instead of cold. As most people drink their creatine in water, the easiest way to do this is simply by using warm tap water instead of cold. This difference in temperature will make a major difference in solubility. You can also consider mixing creatine into coffee or tea for even better solubility!

While some people like to mix their creatine with juice or milk instead of water, drinking these beverages warm is unappealing at best. If you prefer mixing creatine with these drinks, you may have to accept a slightly grittier consistency. If this is the case, don’t worry! There likely won’t be any major difference in effects if you’re drinking slightly less dissolved creatine. 

woman training with gymnastics rings

2. For Optimization of Muscle Creatine Stores

Another factor to consider alongside solubility is how to maximize creatine absorption in the body. After all, what good is creatine supplementation if your body isn’t putting it to use? 

To get optimum creatine absorption, it appears beneficial to consume your creatine alongside food rich in carbohydrates and protein. This is because creatine absorption is influenced by sodium and insulin. Essentially, sodium helps to transport creatine into the muscle, a process that’s improved when insulin levels are high. Mixing your creatine with a fruit juice, or a carbohydrate-rich protein shake may be a good way to maximize these benefits. 

While creatine is better absorbed when insulin levels are high, it likely won’t make a major difference in effects over a long period of time. Creatine is a saturation-based supplement, meaning you need to take it for at least a couple of weeks to begin noticing effects. While improving creatine absorption might make a slight difference in how fast you notice effects, it’s not something you should worry too much about, ​​especially after a few weeks. 

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Can You Mix Creatine With Food?

As mentioned above, consuming creatine alongside a good amount of carbs will help your body absorb the nutrient better. It’s worth noting that this won’t make a huge difference in the supplements effects, especially after the first few weeks of use. However, if you’re interested in speeding up the time it takes for your muscles to get fully saturated, you can absolutely mix creatine with food. However, just taking a higher dose of creatine (10-20g) will have a more noticeable effect on speeding up saturation.

One of the easiest ways to do this would be to mix your creatine in with a protein shake or smoothie. You could just as easily mix it in with something like a soup or broth as well. While you may be concerned about creatine being less effective when mixed into a hot liquid, it does not appear this has any effect on how creatine is absorbed. 

In theory, you could also add creatine on top of any other food you’re eating. Eating undissolved creatine will give you the same effects as drinking dissolved creatine. However, whatever food you’re sprinkling creatine on top of will likely be incredibly unpleasant to eat. Eating creatine without water will also increase the chance of experiencing stomach discomfort. While you could add creatine as a seasoning to your food, we can’t recommend it for the reasons listed above. 

If you’re inclined to mix creatine with food, it is possible. Keep in mind that you’ll ideally want to mix it into liquid foods to ensure it’s dissolved properly before consuming it. Most people will find it much easier to just mix creatine into a drink, as opposed to sprinkling it on top of food. 

weightlifting training

Can You Add Creatine to Your Coffee?

Creatine is also often included in pre-workout supplements despite having no immediate acute effects. Because you likely won’t be taking pre-workout everyday, we recommend taking creatine on its own instead of alongside a pre-mixed formula. With this being said, creatine mixed into coffee will have a fairly similar basic formula to many pre-workout supplements on the market. 

All in all, coffee is a great choice to mix creatine with. Not only will it dissolve creatine better than water, if you take sugar in your coffee, the added carbohydrates will help you absorb the supplement better. Also, coffee and creatine mimics many basic pre-workout formulas. While creatine doesn’t have any immediate acute effects, because of its saturation effects and the energizing effects of caffeine, this simple homemade mixture may serve as a convenient and cheap substitute for pre-workout. 

preparing barbell for training

Creatine is also often included in pre-workout supplements despite having no immediate acute effects. Because you likely won’t be taking pre-workout everyday, we recommend taking creatine on its own instead of alongside a pre-mixed formula. With this being said, creatine mixed into coffee will have a fairly similar basic formula to many pre-workout supplements on the market. 

All in all, coffee is a great choice to mix creatine with. Not only will it dissolve creatine better than water, if you take sugar in your coffee, the added carbohydrates will help you absorb the supplement better. Also, coffee and creatine mimics many basic pre-workout formulas. While creatine doesn’t have any immediate acute effects, because of its saturation effects and the energizing effects of caffeine, this simple homemade mixture may serve as a convenient and cheap substitute for pre-workout. 

Best Creatine

Transparent Labs Creatine with HMB

tl creatine hmb
  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Monohydrate
  • Other Ingredients: HMB, Vitamin D
  • Price per Serving (for 5 g): ~$1.35
  • Servings per Container (for 5 g): 30 or 60 servings
  • Company Founded: 2015
  • Recommended by Athletes: Hafþór Júlíus BjörnssonPat LiPAULINA

If you’re looking to try out a high quality creatine supplement, our top pick is Creatine HMB from Transparent Labs. Like all of Transparent Labs products, this is a high-quality, research-backed supplement made with all-natural ingredients. 

In each serving you can expect 5g of Creatine Monohydrate, which is on the higher end of the recommended daily dose. 1 serving of Creatine HMB everyday will likely fully saturate your muscles within 2-4 weeks, leading to noticeable benefits. 

On top of its creatine content, Creatine HMB also features HMB and Vitamin D. Similar to Creatine, HMB has shown noticeable effects on improving strength and lean body mass when taken alongside resistance training. However, plenty of other studies do not support its use as an exercise supplement, making its effectiveness debatable at best (in our opinion – so far too much controversy around it to say it works for sure). Also, Vitamin D is one of the most useful vitamins an athlete can take, as it has benefits ranging from muscular strength, to bone health, and disease prevention.

transparent labs creatine in hand

Also, while most creatine supplements only come with 1 unflavored option, Transparent Labs offers an impressive 11 unique flavors to choose from, giving you plenty of variety. Also, as mentioned above, it is formulated without any artificial ingredients whatsoever.

The only minor downside to this product is that it comes at a premium price of around $1.50 per serving. With many more basic creatine supplements being less than a dollar per serving this may seem a bit pricey. While the inclusion of HMB may be debatable, the inclusion of Vitamin D, as well as all the different flavor choices still make this a great overall supplement.

FAQ

How to Take Creatine Correctly?

The correct way to take creatine is consistently taking 3-5g of creatine everyday to keep your muscles fully saturated. Keep in mind there’s no one best drink to mix creatine with, but we have some different recommendations. Some of the best things to mix creatine with are warm water for optimal solubility, fruit juice to help your body absorb the supplement better, and coffee for some extra stimulation. 

Can I Take 20G of Creatine at Once?

Yes! Many people take 20g of creatine everyday when first beginning the supplement in order to saturate their muscles quicker. This is known as a “loading phase”. However, with this only making a small difference in how quickly your muscles will be saturated, it’s certainly not necessary. With that being said, if you’re in a rush to notice the effects of creatine, there’s nothing dangerous about taking a 20g dose of creatine at once.

Is It Ok to Mix Creatine With Protein?

Yes, especially if you’re making a protein shake rich in carbohydrates as well, creatine will actually be absorbed by your body better in a protein shake mixed with some carbs. This is because creatine is better absorbed when insulin levels are high in the body (protein also causes insulin levels to rise!) With this being said, this isn’t too important especially if you’ve already been taking creatine for a while. However, mixing creatine into a protein shake may be a great choice for convenience.

Can You Mix Creatine With Water?

Absolutely, water is the most common liquid people mix creatine with. For optimum solubility, we recommend using warm water. If you’re wondering what to put creatine in, water will be the go-to for most people. 

What Is the Best Juice for Creatine?

With carbohydrates helping creatine absorption, fruit juice is a great option for mixing your creatine. What juice is best comes down to a matter of personal preference, so go with whatever juice you like best!

Conclusion

Creatine is one of the most popular and effective sports supplements on the market for its significant effects on exercise performance. Some great choices for mixing creatine include warm water for better solubility, fruit juice for better absorption, and coffee for an extra hit of stimulation. Remember that what you choose to mix creatine with comes down to a matter of personal preference. Any liquid should work as long as you’re consistently getting 3-5g a day. 

If you’re looking for a high-quality creatine supplement, our top pick is Transparent Labs Creatine with HMB for its solid formula and flavor selection. Do you currently take creatine, or are you looking to try it? What do you mix your creatine with? We’d love to hear your answers in the comments below!

Also read:

References:

  1. Richard B. Kreider, Douglas S. Kalman, Jose Antonio, Tim N. Ziegenfuss, Robert Wildman, Rick Collins, Darren G. Candow, Susan M. Kleiner, Anthony L. Almada & Hector L. Lopez , “International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 14, no. 18 (2017)
  2. Richard B Kreider, Douglas S Kalman, Jose Antonio, Tim N Ziegenfuss, Robert Wildman, Rick Collins, Darren G Candow, Susan M Kleiner, Anthony L Almada, Hector L Lopez, “International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine,” National Library of Medicine, (2017).
  3. G. R. Steenge, E. J. Simpson, and P. L. Greenhaff, “Protein- and carbohydrate-induced augmentation of whole body creatine retention in humans” Journal of Applied Physiology, https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/jappl.2000.89.3.1165 (accessed Sep 1, 2000).
  4. Jasmine S Thomson 1, Patricia E Watson, David S Rowlands, “Effects of nine weeks of beta-hydroxy-beta- methylbutyrate supplementation on strength and body composition in resistance trained men” National Library of Medicine, (May 2009), 23(3):827-35.
  5. Javier Sanchez-Martinez 1, Alejandro Santos-Lozano 2, Antonio Garcia-Hermoso 3, Kabir P Sadarangani 4, Carlos Cristi-Montero 5, “Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate supplementation on strength and body composition in trained and competitive athletes: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” National Library of Medicine, (Jul 2018), 21(7):727-735.
  6. “Vitamin D” Harvard University Home, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/ (accessed March 2023).

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Jacek Szymanowski

Author: Jacek Szymanowski

Certified Nutritionist,
M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology
Performance Architect,
Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Experience: 20 years

With over 30 years of fighting experience, specialization in nutrition coaching for athletes, and expertise in metabolic health and dietary strategies, Jacek offers a comprehensive approach to optimizing your performance and well-being. Backed by a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology, Jacek remains at the forefront of scientific advancements, ensuring that his coaching is always evidence-based and up-to-date.

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