How Much Water Should I Drink While Using Creatine?

by Nader Qudimat
Updated January 27, 2023

Hydration is key if you want to make out the most of ingredients like creatine. 

The reason for this is that water is pulled into muscles when you're using creatine.

And you'd need to drink even more water if you're taking a lot of caffeine, like from pre-workouts

Creatine monohydrate increases water retention, making it more necessary to remain hydrated, especially during your workouts. 

Just how much water should you consume during the day with creatine?

Well, the answer is, you should be drinking at least 3-4 liters of water per day.  

It's not uncommon for active people to consume around 1 gallon of water per day.

And you can take creatine anytime, as the timing doesn't matter. 

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is made out of 3 amino acids, glycine, methionine, and arginine. 

The body naturally makes it and it can be obtained from supplements as well as foods like red meat and seafood. 

With an abundance of creatine in the muscles and the brain, it's no wonder there are a ton of benefits from this supplement. 

Creatine works in several ways, one of the main ways is through cellular energy during high-intensity exercise. 

It increases ATP production by donating its phosphate group to ADP, adenosine diphosphate. 

By supplementing with creatine, you'll get more strength, endurance, lean mass, and better overall performance in the gym. 

Creatine monohydrate is one of the most researched and safe supplements in sports nutrition. 

Hundreds of studies have already proved its effectiveness and safety. 

How Does Creatine Work?

Most of the creatine in the body is stored in skeletal muscle and only around 5 percent is in the brain. 

The liver, kidneys, and pancreas use around 1.5-2% of the creatine storage. 

It's used to create more energy for high-intensity exercises like weight training, cardio, and plyometrics. [1, 2, 3]

This is how creatine is used to improve physical performance: 

  1. ATP is produced when the body oxidizes carbs, protein, or fat
  2. The main energy source of the body is ATP. It plays a key role in most of your daily activities.
  3. When a phosphate group is used through a process, like muscle contractions during activity, it is driven with energy that comes in the form of heat.
  4.  Since one phosphate has been used from the ATP, it's now turned into ADP (adenosine diphosphate).
  5. ADP is useless unless it's converted back into ATP and it's a byproduct of the ATP hydrolysis
  6. This is where creatine comes into play.
  7. Creatine can donate its phosphate group to the ADP to recreate ATP
  8. The cycle is repeated continuously and more energy is produced. 

That's how your performance is improved with creatine and it still plays a huge role in increasing muscle mass by increasing water retention, reducing muscle breakdown, and more. [4, 5, 6]

Does Creatine Cause Water Retention?

Creatine can lead to increased water retention. 

Consuming 20 grams of creatine monohydrate increases total body water, extracellular water, and intracellular water. 

Creatine is shuttled into muscle cells through a sodium-dependant creatine transporter. 

However, some research does show that water retention is either short-lived or doesn't happen at all from creatine. [7]

If water retention does occur, it's beneficial for muscle protein synthesis which is what happens when muscle cells have more intracellular water.

If you want to avoid water retention, then avoid using a creatine-loading phase where you consume anywhere from 20-30 grams of creatine per day for a week.

Creatine loading can also cause gastrointestinal distress or other side effects and it's not necessary to load up on creatine to make the most out of its benefits. 

Common Creatine Myths

There's plenty of misinformation and questions about creatine supplementation.

Answering and addressing these concerns is key to understanding creatine and its safety. 

Creatine causes dehydration and cramps

There was one study performed in the early 2000s where they concluded that those exercising in a hot environment should avoid using creatine. [8]

Later on, studies found no evidence that supported this, and actually, those who used creatine are less likely to have cramps and dehydration issues.

Creatine can only improve athletic performance

Creatine has a wide range of benefits from brain health to muscle growth as well as strength gains. 

There are plenty of benefits to the use of creatine. 

Creatine causes kidney problems

This is probably what scares people away the most from creatine but this is one of the oldest myths. 

Creatine has no effect on kidney function, from both long and short term use.

How Much Water Should I Drink?

For both men and women, water makes up more than 50% of their bodies. 

It's important to stay hydrated whether you're using creatine or not. 

Being dehydrated can impact your mental and physical performance which is why it's important to drink plenty of water. 

If you have a dry mouth throughout the day, dry lips and eyes and constantly feel tired, then you may be dehydrated. 

And another sure tell sign that you're not drinking enough water is if your urine is yellow and not white. 

So you should make sure you drink around 3-4 liters per day to stay hydrated. 

How Much Water Should I Mix With 3-5g Creatine?

It would be wise to drink around 6-8 ounces of water for 3-5 grams creatine monohydrate.

And for water intake, you should aim for around 3-4 liters per day when using creatine. 

You could just throw the scoop in your mouth but make sure you drink enough water to stay hydrated. 

Final Words

When it comes to supplementation, creatine is one of the most used out there. 

With hundreds of studies referencing its safety and effectiveness, it makes sense to use it. 

To make sure you're safe while using it, you should ensure you're getting enough water throughout the day. 

Dehydration can cause issues whether you're using creatine or not. 

If you're wondering if you should mix caffeine with creatine, then click here.

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulks it up into this site.

Having to be stuck as a 110lb skinny guy in the early days, he has had no choice but to keep improving himself until he cannot.

Click here to check out his 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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