At some point in their fitness journey, most weightlifters wonder: How much water should I drink on creatine?

Search online, and you’ll find a confusing array of advice, ranging from none at all to a cup or two extra to several additional gallons of water per day.

With all these differing recommendations, it can be tricky to know who to trust.

In this article, we’ll make things more straightforward. 

You’ll get science-based answers about how much water to drink with creatine, both while taking the supplement and as part of your daily routine.

How Much Water Should I Drink With Creatine?

Let’s start with the basics: how much water should you drink with creatine monohydrate at the time you take it?  

To dissolve 1 gram of creatine monohydrate powder (at room temperature), you need to mix it with about 2.5 ounces (75 milliliters) of water. So, to dissolve the standard 3-to-5-gram dose of creatine monohydrate, you need to mix it with 225-to-375 milliliters (8-to-12 ounces) of water.

Bear in mind that if your supplement contains other compounds besides creatine monohydrate, you may need to mix it with more water. In this scenario, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 

And if you often find your creatine doesn’t dissolve and feels gritty in your mouth, consider switching to micronized creatine monohydrate. Micronized creatine monohydrate has smaller particles, so it dissolves better than regular monohydrate. Some people find it gentler on their stomachs, too. 

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How Much Water Should I Drink When Taking Creatine: Daily Water Intake

Many people believe you should drink significantly more water when taking creatine because failing to do so leads to dehydration and muscle cramps.

The logic is that since creatine draws water into muscle cells, it must leave less water for the rest of the body, disturbing electrolyte balance and your body’s ability to regulate its temperature. 

However, this is a misunderstanding. While creatine leads to water retention in muscles, research shows it doesn’t disrupt overall water balance in the body. 

In other words, taking creatine increases the total amount of water in your body, but the balance of water inside and outside your cells remains the same, which is likely why studies show creatine doesn’t cause dehydration or muscle cramps.

In fact, by encouraging your muscles to hold on to water, creatine may benefit total body hydration, which can be especially advantageous during long bouts of intense exercise in the heat.

Drinking an adequate amount of water is still necessary when taking creatine, as it ensures creatine exhibits its full array of anabolic (muscle-building) effects.

How much water should you drink with creatine exactly?

For most adults, consuming 2-to-3 liters a day is a good starting point (not all of this must come from drinking water, of course—water in food and other beverages counts, too).

If you’re very physically active, you might need more than this. And that’s why a more practical approach for most is to simply drink according to your thirst: if you’re thirsty, drink; if you’re not, don’t. 

The Benefits of Creatine

Creatine benefits physical and mental performance in multiple ways. Specifically, creatine . . . 

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Potential Side Effects of Supplementing with Creatine

Taking creatine is generally safe, even in high doses (up to 30 grams daily) for long periods.

Despite some claims, there’s no proof it leads to acne, headaches, or increased blood pressure. It also doesn’t negatively affect sleep quality, almost certainly doesn’t cause hair loss, and if your kidneys are healthy, it won’t damage them.

Those with sensitive stomachs may experience gastrointestinal discomfort if they start with high doses of creatine (a “loading” phase). If this is the case for you, avoid unwanted symptoms by skipping a loading phase and taking 3-to-5 grams a day.

Because creatine causes water retention in your muscles, you may also gain weight when taking it. 

Crucially, this isn’t the same as gaining fat—it has no negative impact on your overall health or body composition, so you shouldn’t view it negatively. It also won’t meaningfully impact your appearance and may expedite the muscle-building process, helping you build muscle faster.

Related: Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight? What Science Says 

How Much Water Should I Drink on Creatine?: Conclusion

How much water you should drink when taking creatine depends on the type of creatine you’re using, the dose, and whether there are other ingredients in the dietary supplement

If you’re taking 3-to-5 grams of creatine monohydrate (the most common dose), mix it with 225-to-375 milliliters of water. For supplements containing other compounds, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Despite what some say, you don’t need to drink significantly more water while taking creatine to avoid dehydration or cramps, though drinking enough water each day may enhance creatine’s muscle-building effects.

You don’t need to follow a complicated hydration protocol, though—simply drink enough that you’re not thirsty.

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How Much Water Should I Drink on Creatine?: FAQs

FAQ #1: Can you take creatine without water?

You can take creatine without water (“dry scooping”) but it has no additional benefit and it’s typically an unpleasant experience similar to eating sand. Mixing it with water is also preferable because it provides your body with water, which is necessary for maximizing creatine’s benefits. 

FAQ #2: How much water do I need for 5g of creatine?

To dissolve 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, mix it with 375 milliliters of water. You can take 5 grams of creatine with less water than this, but it won’t fully dissolve, so it’ll feel grainy in your mouth.

FAQ #3: How much water with creatine is enough?

The best way to know if you’re drinking enough water with a creatine supplement is to use your thirst: that is, if you’re thirsty, drink more; if you’re not, you’re probably drinking enough. 

FAQ #4: What happens if you take creatine but don’t drink enough water?

Creatine causes water retention in muscles, which potentially leads to more muscle growth by causing greater osmotic pressure and, thus, more cellular swelling. In other words, if you take creatine and don’t drink enough water, you may dampen its muscle-building effects.

FAQ #5: Can I take creatine before bed?

You can take creatine before bed, but it’s generally better to choose another time of day. Since you need to drink with creatine, taking it before bedtime might disrupt your sleep by leading to more frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. 

+ Scientific References