Can You Take Creatine On An Empty Stomach? (Science-Based)

Creatine supplementation has grown immensely popular in the industry of fitness and performance enhancement winning over the attention of athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts collectively. The remarkable benefits attributed to this dietary supplement have made it a staple in many regimens. 

However, amidst the fervor surrounding creatine, a particular question frequently emerges: Can you take creatine on an empty stomach?

Some advocate for taking creatine on an empty stomach, while others argue for the necessity of accompanying it with a meal. 

Research and scientific studies have examined the effects of different intake methods, providing valuable insights into the advantages and disadvantages of taking creatine on an empty stomach. 

By understanding the interplay between digestion, absorption, and effectiveness, we can navigate the nuances of creatine supplementation and optimize our practices accordingly.

Read on as we embark on this exploration, unraveling the truth behind taking creatine on an empty stomach, and uncovering the optimal strategies to make the most of this widely acclaimed supplement. Can you take creatine on an empty stomach? Let’s find out.

Can You Take Creatine on an Empty Stomach?

In short, yes, you can take creatine on an empty stomach. It is rapidly absorbed by the body and doesn’t require food for proper utilization. However, some people may experience stomach discomfort when taking creatine without food. It’s advisable to assure drinking plenty of water.

Taking creatine on an empty stomach asserts that doing so allows for faster absorption and potentially enhances its effectiveness. It is believed that without the presence of food, the body can swiftly process and absorb creatine, leading to more immediate benefits. 

On the contrary, consuming creatine with a meal minimizes the likelihood of gastrointestinal discomfort. When creatine is taken alongside a meal, the presence of food may mitigate any potential side effects like stomach upset that some individuals may experience.

Scientific studies and expert opinions have presented contrasting findings. As with many aspects of supplementation, personal experimentation and careful observation of one’s own body’s response may be necessary to determine the most suitable approach.

Let’s See What Science Says

1. A study was undertaken to understand the probable positive outcomes associated with taking a dietary supplement packed with creatine monohydrate (CrM) and protein-carbohydrate (PRO CHO). The study explored how it could potentially contribute to improving body composition, increasing muscular strength as well as facilitating change in muscle fibers during resistance-based workout regimes.

The results showed that participants who took the CrM-PRO-CHO supplement had greater improvements in muscle strength, muscle size, and contractile proteins compared to those who took a placebo or a protein-carbohydrate supplement without creatine. So, taking creatine with a meal high in protein and carbohydrates can be more beneficial to some people.

2. Another study examined the effects of creatine supplementation alone versus creatine combined with carbohydrates on anaerobic performance. The results showed that taking creatine alone improved average mean power and peak power during the anaerobic tests.

However, when creatine was combined with carbohydrates, there was no additional improvement in performance compared to creatine alone. Therefore, ingesting creatine with carbohydrates did not provide any extra benefits for anaerobic performance.

Related: Can You Take Pre-Workout On An Empty Stomach? Boost Gains?

Absorption and Bioavailability

In order to solve the convoluted interplay between creatine supplementation and food intake, we must delve deeper into the fascinating mechanisms of absorption and bioavailability. 

It is within the confines of the remarkable digestive system that the fate of ingested creatine is ultimately determined, as it undergoes a series of complex transformations and intricate metabolic processes.

When creatine enters the gastronomic arena, it crosses a complicated path. Initially, its robust solubility and stability allow it to withstand the acidic environment of the stomach, emerging relatively unscathed. 

However, it is in the sprawling expanse of the small intestine, the central hub of nutrient assimilation, where creatine encounters its most demanding challenges.

The simultaneous presence of food and creatine introduces a multidimensional dynamic. The coexistence of these elements within the digestive environment initiates a contest for coveted absorption sites, potentially diminishing the total quantity of creatine that finds its way into the bloodstream. 

Ingested food contains fiber, fats, and bioactive compounds that interact with creatine in intricate ways. As a result, this interaction influences how quickly and effectively our bodies absorb creatine.

Related: How Long Does Creatine Stay In Your System? (Explained)

Taking Creatine on an Empty Stomach: Pros and Cons

can you take creatine on an empty stomach

Pros of Taking Creatine on an Empty Stomach

Taking creatine on an empty stomach offers potential advantages that proponents advocate. These include:

  1. Enhanced Absorption: Consuming creatine without food may promote faster absorption, allowing for more immediate availability and utilization by the body.
  2. Avoiding Competition for Absorption: In the absence of food, there is less competition for absorption sites, potentially maximizing the amount of creatine that can be effectively absorbed.
  3. Increased Effectiveness: Though not proven, it is believed that taking creatine on an empty stomach may enhance its overall effectiveness, leading to greater improvements in performance.

Related: Does Creatine Make You Poop? (Yes, And Here’s Why)

Cons of Taking Creatine on an Empty Stomach

Opponents of taking creatine on an empty stomach raise concerns about potential drawbacks. These include:

  1. Gastrointestinal Discomfort: Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort when consuming creatine without food, which can be mitigated by taking it with a meal. Especially, evidence suggests taking creatine in higher doses can increase changes in GI discomfort.
  2. Buffering Stomach Acid: The presence of food during creatine consumption may help buffer stomach acid, reducing the likelihood of digestive issues.
  3. Uncertain Impact on Muscle Creatine Levels: While taking creatine on an empty stomach may result in higher plasma concentrations, it is unclear whether this translates into significantly higher muscle creatine levels and subsequent performance benefits.

It is crucial to consider individual variations in digestion and response when deciding whether to take creatine on an empty stomach. Personal experimentation and consultation with a professional can help determine the most suitable approach for optimizing creatine supplementation.

Related: Does Creatine Break a Fast? (Unlocking the Truth)

Can We Take Creatine Before Workout?

The timing of creatine consumption, particularly before workouts, has garnered significant attention within the fitness community. Exploring the potential benefits and considerations of taking creatine prior to exercise can provide valuable insights into maximizing its effects on performance and energy levels.

Benefits of Taking Creatine Before Workout

  1. Improved Performance: Several studies suggest that consuming creatine before workouts can enhance performance, especially during high-intensity, short-duration activities. Creatine supplementation may contribute to increased strength, power, and overall exercise capacity, potentially leading to improved athletic performance.
  2. Increased Energy Availability: By increasing creatine stores through supplementation, individuals may have greater access to immediate energy reserves during intense workouts.
  3. Enhanced Muscle Recovery: Creatine supplementation before exercise has been associated with reduced muscle damage and improved recovery. This may contribute to faster muscle repair and adaptation, enabling individuals to engage in subsequent training sessions with less downtime.

Few Considerations 

  1. Timing and Dosage: Determining the ideal timing and dosage of creatine intake before workouts can be challenging. Factors such as individual response, exercise type, and personal preferences should be considered to optimize the benefits.
  2. Fluid Balance and Hydration: Creatine supplementation may cause an initial increase in water retention. Staying adequately hydrated and maintaining proper fluid balance is crucial to prevent any potential dehydration-related issues.

Related: Does Creatine Cause Constipation? The Truth

Do You Have to Eat More When Taking Creatine?

Creatine on an empty stomach
Eugeniusz Dudzinski/iStock

The concept of increased caloric intake when supplementing with creatine has sparked inquiries into the relationship between creatine supplementation and dietary requirements. Understanding the interplay between these 3 factors can shed light on whether additional food consumption is necessary to optimize creatine’s benefits.

1. Increased Energy Demands

Creatine supplementation has been linked to improved exercise performance and increased energy availability. Consequently, individuals engaging in intense physical activities may experience greater energy expenditure, potentially necessitating a higher caloric intake to meet their heightened demands.

2. Individual Variations

The impact of creatine on caloric requirements can vary depending on factors such as body composition, metabolic rate, training intensity, and goals. Some individuals may find that their existing caloric intake adequately supports their needs, while others may benefit from adjusting their dietary intake to accommodate the added energy demands associated with creatine supplementation.

3. Balancing Macronutrients

While an increase in total calories may not be necessary for everyone, it is important to ensure a balanced macronutrient distribution. Adequate protein intake is particularly crucial for muscle repair and growth, complementing the potential benefits of creatine supplementation.

Related: Does Creatine Make You Hungry? The Reality


Related: Can You Dry Scoop Creatine? Pros, Cons, And More!


The question of whether to take creatine on an empty stomach has sparked much discussion. While you can take it on an empty stomach, it is also extremely important to be aware of certain cons of doing so. Here are the key takeaways to remember:

  • Taking creatine on an empty stomach has potential benefits, including enhanced absorption and effectiveness. However, individual responses may vary, and some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Timing is crucial when incorporating creatine into your routine. Consider taking it before or after workouts, but also take into account personal preferences and schedules.
  • Consistency in creatine supplementation is important. Follow recommended dosage guidelines and aim for daily intake, regardless of workout days.
  • Hydration plays a vital role in optimizing creatine supplementation. Stay adequately hydrated to support the potential water-retention effects of creatine.
  • Individual variations exist, and personal experimentation is often necessary to determine the most suitable approach. Monitoring your progress and consulting with healthcare professionals or experts can provide personalized guidance.

When dealing with creatine consumption on an empty stomach or any other type of nutritional regimen it’s imperative to understand that every person is different. What works well for one individual may not have the same outcome for another due to varying factors. 

Stay in tune with how your body reacts when adapting behaviors as needed and always consider consulting specialists if necessary.

By understanding the complexities and considering optimal practices, you can make informed decisions about incorporating creatine into your fitness and performance journey.

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  • CRIBB, PAUL J.1; WILLIAMS, ANDREW D.2; HAYES, ALAN1. A Creatine-Protein-Carbohydrate Supplement Enhances Responses to Resistance Training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 39(11):p 1960-1968, November 2007. | DOI: 10.1249/mss.0b013e31814fb52a 
  • Theodorou AS, Paradisis G, Smpokos E, Chatzinikolaou A, Fatouros I, King R, Cooke CB. The effect of combined supplementation of carbohydrates and creatine on anaerobic performance. Biol Sport. 2017 Jun;34(2):169-175. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2017.65336. Epub 2017 Jan 19. PMID: 28566811; PMCID: PMC5424457.
  • Ostojic SM, Ahmetovic Z. Gastrointestinal distress after creatine supplementation in athletes: are side effects dose dependent? Res Sports Med. 2008;16(1):15-22. doi: 10.1080/15438620701693280. PMID: 18373286.
  • Antonio J, Ciccone V. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Aug 6;10:36. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-36. PMID: 23919405; PMCID: PMC3750511.

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