Creatine can help you kill it at the gym (or your home gym) and boost muscle growth (especially after intense exercise.) Alcohol has the opposite effect.

It turns out that opposites don’t always attract. (Sorry, Paula Abdul). Here’s everything you need to know about mixing creatine and alcohol.

Creatine and alcohol

Creatine is a compound that helps energize your muscles and hydrate your cells. While creatine is busy supporting healthy muscles, alcohol can work against it.

The occasional boozy beverage probably won’t affect you. But drinking alcohol in excess can slow down your recovery, reduce muscle mass, and increase your chances of getting hurt.

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Creatine is an amino acid compound that your liver, kidneys, and pancreas make. It helps your muscles store more energy so you can use that energy in powerful bursts (like powerlifting.) That can lead to more muscle growth. #Gains

While your body does make its own supply of creatine, you can also take it as a supplement. This extra boost can help increase your energy and power. (That’s super helpful if you do a lot of high-intensity or strength training workouts).

Creatine supplements might also improve brain function, support your immune system, and prevent muscle loss that’s caused by aging.

Creatine and alcohol both affect your physical performance. Here’s what you need to know about what you’re putting in your bod.

Can steal water from your muscles

Alcohol acts as a diuretic (it takes water from your tissues.) That can cause pain, cramping, and dehydration. It can also cause probs for creatine.

Creatine needs lots of H2O to help your body build and maintain muscle. When there isn’t plenty of water to use, you’re not getting the max benefit out of your creatine supp.

FYI: Alcohol can also damage your liver and kidneys if you drink it excessively. (These are the same organs that make and use creatine).

Might slow nutrient absorption

Do you make sure to eat healthy, nutritious meals every day? Your body relies on those sweet, sweet nutrients to stay fueled up, especially during exercise.

Research shows that heavy alcohol use might change the way you metabolize some of those important nutrients, like zinc. That can slow down your post-workout recovery, and it can even be bad news for your bones.

Decreases coordination (maybe)

Remember those drunk goggles that your health teacher used to illustrate how bad you are at hand-eye coordination while drunk? It turns out that alcohol may even impact coordination and muscle movement once you’ve sobered up.

Drinking may affect muscle contraction, which can take a toll on your ability to remain upright. While test tube studies suggest that alcohol does this by slowing down calcium movement to your muscles, more research is needed.

Creatine supplements are generally considered safe to use, even if you have some alcohol while taking them.

A recent study on mice suggests that mixing alcohol and creatine may actually amplify the negative effects of alcohol on your liver.

Most peeps get about 1 to 3 grams of creatine each day from the food they eat. If you’re looking to amp up your physical performance, aiming for 3 to 5 grams can help.

Taking more than 5 grams isn’t likely to cause any negative side effects, though. Older studies suggest that taking as much as 15 to 25 grams per day for up to 12 weeks for intense exercise isn’t linked with side effects.

If you have liver or kidney disease, talk with your doctor before adding a creatine supplement to your routine.

Top tips for drinking alcohol if you’re taking creatine

Looking to enjoy your fave boozy bevvie while taking a creatine supp? Keep the following in mind:

  • Enjoy alcohol in moderation. The occasional drink isn’t likely to wreak havoc on your bod (and it may actually have certain health benefits). However, drinking too much may counteract creatine’s effects.
  • Say “no” to a post-workout boozy beverage. Those first hours after a workout are when muscle-building is at its peak. Drinking alcohol right after exercise may get in the way of this important work.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Creatine craves water. Alcohol steals water. That means you need to drink plenty of H2O for every alcoholic drink to keep your body hydrated.
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Creatine is an amino acid compound that supports muscle and boosts energy. Alcohol, on the other hand, may counteract creatine’s power-boosting impact.

Be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol right after a workout. If you decide to drink while taking a creatine supplement, do so in moderation and don’t overindulge.

Still not sure if a creatine supplement is right for you? Talk with your doctor.