Last updated on September 4th, 2023 by Catherine Reed
Before a workout, many people want to do a little prep. For some, that includes pre-workout energy-boosting drinks.
Creatine is a popular option, as well as beverages that contain caffeine. That can make the idea of combining the two appealing, leading many to ask, “Can you put creatine in coffee?”
I’m personally a big coffee fan, particularly since it’s a way to get an energy boost without sugar. But before you start whisking creatine into your pre-workout coffee, it’s critical to understand a few things. Here’s what you need to know.
- What Is Creatine, and What Are Its Benefits?
- What Is Caffeine, and What Are Its Benefits?
- The Pros and Cons of Combining Creatine and Caffeine
- How to Take Both Effectively and Safely
What Is Creatine, and What Are Its Benefits?
Creatine is a non-proteinaceous amino acid derivative, and it’s naturally produced by the human body. It’s synthesized from L-arginine, L-methionine, and glycine and is created by the kidneys, pancreas, and liver before being transported to various tissues, including the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle.
Once creatine reaches the tissues, it’s typically metabolized. Essentially, it becomes phosphocreatine, which serves as a form of energy storage.
In that state, the creatine provides energy for muscle contractions, which can help a person keep working – or exercising – thanks to the energy it provides.
While the body does create creatine, some people choose to use a creatine supplement – either creatine monohydrate or creatine HCL – to increase their energy levels, particularly for workouts.
Creatine monohydrate has long been used during exercise, and there are several studies outlining its potential benefits. Creatine HCL is a newer variant, though research shows it’s beneficial in many ways, too.
One study showed that creatine can enhance strength and increase fat-free mass. Another study identified general health improvements, such as improved cellular metabolism, that could assist with injury recovery or chronic disease management. However, it’s not ideal for everyone, as you’ll see below.
What Is Caffeine, and What Are Its Benefits?
Caffeine is a naturally-occurring stimulant found in coffee, tea, and cacao (though also added to a variety of drinks and food products) that can reduce fatigue, increase alertness, and improve focus. Research shows that the reason caffeine works is that it blocks the impact of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that leads to feeling tired.
When consumed before a workout, caffeine is associated with improved strength and endurance. However, research suggests that anaerobic exercise benefits are more notable in men than in women.
The Pros and Cons of Combining Creatine and Caffeine
Creatine and caffeine pre-workout drinks are popular. However, there are pros and cons to using them together.
While initial research suggested that combining the two lessened the impact of creatine, that’s now believed to be a creatine and coffee myth. A study showed similar performances among those who combined creatine with caffeine and those who just took creatine supplements. Additional research outlined that having creatine and caffeine at the same time could boost strength and power.
However, research on using creatine and caffeine simultaneously is limited, and some studies do counter the points above, stating that caffeine lowers the effectiveness of creatine. Additionally, there are risks associated with both substances, including when used together or separately.
In some studies, creatine and caffeine – when combined – increased the chances of digestive discomfort. For some, it may also heighten feelings of anxiety, though that can occur with many types of stimulants. It’s also unclear whether using the two together could increase a person’s risk of dehydration, particularly if they don’t consume enough water while exercising.
For individuals with Parkinson’s disease, combining creatine and caffeine is also risky. A study showed that creatine and caffeine in Parkinson’s patients could accelerate the progression of the condition.
When it comes to creatine and caffeine stroke risks, the research is a bit mixed. There is research that suggests that consuming caffeine could increase a person’s risk of stroke. Additionally, there are cases – including one involving a 33-year-old and another involving a 25-year-old – of otherwise healthy individuals experiencing strokes after consuming energy supplements that include creatine.
However, animal research indicates that increased creatine consumption may reduce stroke damage if one occurs. Additionally, studies have shown that creatine supplementation and progressive resistance training may help people who’ve had a stroke recover faster.
There also isn’t enough research to show if creatine is safe for individuals with kidney or liver disease. Similarly, research is lacking regarding the safety of creatine in those who are pregnant or breastfeeding or who have diabetes.
How to Take Both Effectively and Safely
Ultimately, the answer to the question, “Can you put creatine in coffee?” is “yes,” and you might even get some benefits by doing it. If you want to give it a go, choose an unflavored creatine monohydrate. Then, review the manufacturer’s directions to see how many scoops you want to add.
When it comes to whether you can put creatine in coffee safely, there’s one critical thing to remember: moderation matters. Generally, the amount of caffeine in coffee is deemed safe for most people. Similarly, the recommended dosages of creatine on most products aren’t considered dangerous. However, if you supplement either (or both) beyond typical dosages, your risks could increase.
Additionally, whether you have any health conditions plays a role. If you have any medical concerns, speak with a physician before consuming creatine or caffeine to ensure it’s right for you.
Does Creatine Contain Caffeine?
No, creatine does not contain any caffeine.
Can You Put Creatine in Hot Coffee?
Can You Put Creatine in Iced Coffee?
Yes, you can put creatine in iced coffee. However, it’s easier to mix the creatine in if you add it to the coffee before pouring it over ice.
Can You Mix Creatine with Milk?
Yes, you can mix creatine with milk. You can simply drink it after stirring it into the milk or add the creatine-containing milk to coffee.
What Should You Not Mix Creatine With?
If you’re taking any of the following, you shouldn’t use creatine supplements:
· NSAIDs (pain relievers like ibuprofen)
· Cimetidine (an ulcer medication)
· Probenecid (a gout medication)
Depending on the substances listed above, using creatine could increase a person’s risk of kidney damage, stroke, dehydration, or different health issues. However, other problematic combinations can exist. If you take any medications or supplements, speak with your doctor before adding creatine.
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- About the Author
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Catherine Reed is a freelance writer and coffee enthusiast. She has been a lover of coffee, espresso, and various café-style concoctions for more than 20 years, and enjoys exploring everything the world of coffee has to offer. Whether it’s trying out new coffee technologies or exploring small-batch creations from independent micro-roasters, Catherine is open to any coffee experience, and aims to share everything she’s learned with discerning readers interested in leveling up their coffee game.