In this article I share the sports science research I could scrape up in order to answer a common question:
“How much water with creatine am I supposed to drink?”
Creatine fills your muscles by drawing water from your body, so it is often recommended that you simply insure that your water intake is such that you ensure proper hydration. (1)
“But what about an exact amount for me & my body weight, please?”
Well…unfortunately what I found was that for a creatine monohydrate user there is NO specific amount of water agreed upon by medical & sports science experts. Even supplement companies don’t list an exact number on their labels.
Science resources included
As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science and medical resources, clinical studies, & nutritional data used in this article.
Creatine supplements make me thirstier than normal
Though they’re vague I do get the message from the health experts:
“drink a little more than normal & stay hydrated”.
My 2¢ on consuming creatine + water drinking experience
Long before I started poking around for any available scientific studies on this topic, my gut feeling on this water/creatine supplementation issue has been sort of the same as what we just heard.
I say that because for years now I’ll down 5g of creatine monohydrate a day — usually pre workout — for several weeks in a row once a year when I put my fitness training cycle into build muscle mode.
Anyway, I am definitely thirstier throughout those days compared to when I am not taking creatine daily, & feel like I better stay hydrated.
All “water when taking creatine” advice is similar
Fitness community experts may not agree on exactly the amount of water when taking creatine.
But they all say that staying hydrated can reduce any negative effects that intense workouts with creatine supplements might trigger (like dehydration).
No water intake advice is specific
It’s also worth noting that medical experts’ have varied opinions recommendations when it comes to simply how much water does anybody need to drink.
Creatine monohydrate or not.
Our normal daily fluid needs
As we learned at the beginning, there’s no consensus on the quantity of water you, I, or anybody ought to drink while taking creatine.
This variety of opinion is no surprise when you learn that there’s no agreement on what proper hydration for a person should be each day either, without creatine. Just avoid dehydration.
Note below that when these experts provide medical advice, it’s all over the map:
“…an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15 ½ cups for men, and 11 ½ cups for women…this includes fluids from water, other beverages, & food.”
“For men, the Institute of Medicine recommends a total of 13 cups of fluid each day…for women, they suggest 9 cups of fluid each day.”
“The daily four-to-six cup rule is for generally healthy people.”
“125 oz. for men & 96 oz. for women is enough water.”
“…it depends on a number of variables. Your size, activity, metabolism, location, diet, physical activity and health all factor into how much water you need.”
“At the end of the day, no one can tell you exactly how much water you need. This depends on the individual.”
Welp, that didn’t dial anything in, did it?
So you see, all that varying opinion on simply drinking water causes those vague answers to our “how much water should I drink while taking creatine” questions.
Here are a few of those.
“As far as water is concerned, you should drink about one pint of water each time you take a dose of creatine.”
“…it is advisable to take (creatine) with a glass of water and stay well hydrated throughout the day.”
“When supplementing with creatine, you need to drink more water…the main purpose of taking creatine is to produce ATP…and ATP requires water to generate energy.”
“To prevent dehydration, experts often suggest drinking enough water when using creatine.”
Science says we can trust our thirst
On the good news front…
…Clinical research trials on thirst have proven that if we have water around when we feel thirsty, we are likely to instinctively drink more water. (2)
And as a result, we’ll be avoiding dehydration ourselves long before we’ve put ourselves in what they call body fluids deficit**.
This is great because it means that all you need to do while you’re taking creatine is to drink enough water throughout your day whenever you automatically get an “I’m thirsty” signal.
** body fluids deficit – A medical term for a condition that leads to dehydration, which has a whole set of problems you don’t want so just drink more water. (3)
A few of creatine’s main benefits
Scientific evidence has shown that creatine monohydrate is superior to other supplements. It can:
- Help trigger muscle growth, which can increase muscle mass; (4)
- Improve performance, particular high intensity activities; (5)
- Delay adverse effects of muscle fatigue & help you recover faster; (6)
- Increase muscle strength. (7)
How creatine works
Taking more creatine above what your diet provides causes a chain reaction that ends up with you & your muscle cells having more energy for short-term, high-intensity activities like weightlifting, sprinting, etc.
Creatine thus helps you to achieve muscle growth & strength increases.
Here’s my rough version of our body’s chemical process that makes all that happen:
*The creatine you take finds & binds to phosphate molecules.
*This combo is now creatine phosphate (or phosphocreatine) which is stored in your muscles and used for energy.
Creatine & water weight
Water pulled from elsewhere in your body is drawn into your muscles by creatine. (9)
So you may gain some water weight but it’s in your muscles, unlike typical water weight that gets stored in your belly area, ankles, etc. (10)
But if you are feeling thirsty or notice a dry mouth, drink more water!
Related creatine articles here on heydayDo
I hope that my article on the relationship between creatine and our daily water intake is useful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.