What To Mix Creatine With To Maximize Absorption

December 16, 2023

Creatine is beneficial for performance, recovery, health, and cognition. But what should you mix creatine with to get maximum effectiveness? Does it matter?

Creatine monohydrate boasts a near 100% bioavailability [1], guaranteeing complete absorption by the body. However, to maximize intake, optimize performance-enhancing effects, and prevent any residue in your glass, consider blending it with fluids to ensure every bit of creatine is effectively ingested.

Alternative forms of creatine, such as creatine HCl, are not more effective than creatine monohydrate [2]. So, this article will refer to creatine monohydrate when we talk about creatine.

What To Mix Creatine With


Creatine is not fully soluble in water [2]. Mixing creatine in a solution often results in residual powder settling at the glass bottom, so add additional fluid, swirl, and swiftly ingest to guarantee complete creatine consumption.

Although this residue does not impact creatine bioavailability, given creatine monohydrate’s nearly 100% bioavailability [3, 4, 5, 6], there has been research done on improving the solubility of creatine in fluids.

Fruit Juice Or Glucose-Based Sports Drink

Can You Mix Creatine With Hot Drinks

The solubility of creatine can be increased by adding creatine to lower pH solutions like juice or sports drinks, especially ones that have pH levels of 2.5-3.5 [7].

The main benefit of combining creatine with an acidic beverage is minimizing the crystallized residue of creatine at the bottom of the cup during the final drink, making it easier to swirl and consume [2].

When you finish the full dose of creatine, you will be more likely to get its full benefits.

In addition, fruit juices and sports drinks are high in carbohydrates. Incorporating carbohydrates or a combination of carbohydrates and protein into a creatine supplement seems to enhance the muscular absorption of creatine.

However, the impact on performance measures may not surpass that of using creatine monohydrate alone [8].

Milk Or Recovery Shake

Both milk and recovery shake formulations contain both carbs and protein.

Combining creatine with carbohydrates and protein may increase creatine accumulation in muscles [9], possibly because of insulin-stimulated sodium-potassium (Na+/K+) pump activity [10]. This means that carbohydrates help produce more insulin, which shuttles more creatine into muscle cells.

For instance, one study [11] found that combining creatine (5 g) with a substantial amount of glucose (95 g) improved the storage of creatine and carbohydrates in muscles.

Another group of researchers [12] observed that co-ingesting creatine (5 g) with 47–97 g of carbohydrate and 50 g of protein increased creatine retention.

Finally, a study on American collegiate football players who consumed 20 or 25 g/day of creatine monohydrate alongside a carbohydrate/protein supplement for 12 weeks during off-season conditioning and spring football practice found that athletes achieved greater strength and muscle mass gains without any reported adverse creatine side effects [13].

Coffee/Caffeine-Containing Drinks

Both creatine and caffeine are well-researched supplements that yield increased performance.

One systematic review looked at 10 studies that examined the interactions between caffeine and creatine [14].

In five studies, caffeine was consumed approximately 1 hour before the performance trial at a dosage of 5–7 mg.kg−1, following a creatine loading period lasting 5–6 days at 0.3 grams per kilogram per day.

In three studies, the combination of caffeine and creatine yielded an added performance-enhancing effect compared to creatine alone.

This study concluded that taking caffeine with creatine improves exercise performance when caffeine is consumed after a creatine-loading phase.

However, there’s no clear benefit to having caffeine during the creatine loading period.

What does this mean for you?

Taking caffeine together with creatine (e.g., through coffee or caffeine-containing sports drinks) is going to be effective once your muscle creatine stores are fully saturated (in science, this is called an “acute” dose).

However, taking caffeine with creatine will not be as effective in the loading phase and is therefore not recommended.

Can You Mix Creatine In Hot Liquid?


The solubility of creatine in water rises steadily as the temperature increases.

For instance, at 4 °C (39.2 °F), about 6 g of creatine dissolves in one liter of water, while at 20 °C (68 °F), the solubility increases to 14 g/L.

Further, at 50 °C (122 °F), it reaches 34 g/L, and at 60 °C (140 °F), it peaks at 45 g/L [4]. This explains why some researchers initially had participants take creatine in warm to hot water [3] or hot tea [15].


Creatine is fully bio-available and can be consumed in a variety of fluids. The most important thing to consider when deciding what to mix creatine is which fluid will enable you to consume the full dose consistently.

For example, you can add creatine to your recovery shake if you don’t drink fruit juice regularly. Alternatively, if you prefer downing your creatine in a glass of water in the morning, make sure that you shake it thoroughly and that all of the residue is ingested.


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  3. Harris, R. C., Söderlund, K., & Hultman, E. (1992). Elevation of creatine in resting and exercised muscle of normal subjects by creatine supplementation. *Clin Sci (Lond), 83*(3), 367-374.
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  9. Steenge, G. R., et al. (1998). Stimulatory effect of insulin on creatine accumulation in human skeletal muscle. *Am J Physiol, 275*(6), E974-9.
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  11. Green, A., et al. (1996). Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation during creatine supplementation in humans. *American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 271*(5), E821-E826.
  12. Steenge, G., Simpson, E., & Greenhaff, P. (2000). Protein-and carbohydrate-induced augmentation of whole body creatine retention in humans. *Journal of Applied Physiology, 89*(3), 1165-1171.
  13. Kreider, R. B., et al. (1999). Effects of nutritional supplementations during off-season college football training on body composition and strength. *J. Exer. Phys.*
  14. Marinho, A. H., et al. (2023). Effects of creatine and caffeine ingestion in combination on exercise performance: A systematic review. *Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 63*(20), 4785-4798.
  15. Greenhaff, P., et al. (1993). The influence of oral creatine supplementation on muscle phosphocreatine resynthesis following intense contraction in man. *Journal of Physiology-London then Cambridge-, 1*(467), 75-75.
About the Author

Hanli is a Registered Dietitian with a special interest in sports nutrition. She has a Master's degree and is currently a PhD candidate focusing on adolescent athlete nutrition. She has published research in the Obesity Reviews journal and is a research coordinator at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa.

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