top of page

Combining Caffeine & Creatine: Is It a Good Idea? (Explained)

Updated: Oct 12

TL;DR: There is a possible interaction between caffeine and creatine, but there is also research suggesting there is no negative impact on performance. It's likely that combining these supplements is fine, providing you stay hydrated.

If you're taking creatine to help you enhance your gym exercise or gain muscle mass, you should learn more about how creatine and caffeine interact.

Caffeine and creatine are two of the most popular supplements.

Despite their widespread usage, there is still debate over whether it is safe to combine caffeine-containing drinks and supplements and creatine.

Although earlier theory and research indicated that caffeine could reduce any of creatine's benefits, many experts contend that there is little current evidence to back this up.

In this article, I'll explore the current research on combining caffeine and creatine and if it is a good idea or not, I'll also explain any benefits and drawbacks of doing so.

Table of Contents:

creatine pill on top of coffee beans

Is It a Good Idea to Combine Them?

Caffeine and creatine are two of the most powerful and proven performance boosters.

Creatine increases the body's energy production and caffeine is a potent stimulate, both are able to increase strength, endurance, and enhance muscle growth.

There are two adverse effects associated with the combination of creatine and caffeine, those being increasing the risk of dehydration and possible stomach upset and discomfort.

Although, negating the risk of dehydration is simply a matter of drinking enough water when taking creatine and caffeine.

Usually eating a meal before taking a supplement that causes stomach irritation can reduce any discomfort.

Some research suggests there is no negative impact on exercise performance when combining these two supplements.

In fact, there may be a performance enhancing benefit that outweighs any potential conflict between the two supplements.

More research is needed, but it seems as though combining caffeine and creatine improves exercise performance. There are two possible adverse effects, but they can be easily negated.

Due to the lack of research, I wouldn't say it is a good idea to combine them, but I don't see any evidence to suggest that it would be a bad idea either.

What the Science Says

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is mainly found in coffee and tea. Synthetic versions may also be found in energy drinks, pre-workout supplements, etc.

It's classified as a stimulant since it works on the central nervous system to make you feel more awake.

Creatine is an amino acid derivative that promotes muscular growth and strength. It's one of the most researched ergogenic aids, and it's well-known for its strength-training effects.

Creatine and caffeine both enhance performance in different ways. On the surface, this would seem to be an excellent supplement combination.

However, some early research suggested that consuming high doses of caffeine reduces the performance advantages of high-dose creatine.

The most probable reason for this might be to do with conflicting effects on muscle relaxation time and possible gastrointestinal discomfort when both substances are taken in large quantities. (1)

A 2017 Study Suggests There's No Impact on Performance

Caffeine was previously believed to counteract the performance-enhancing effects of creatine. However, the majority of recent research contradicts this.

In a five-day study conducted in 2017, 54 men were divided into four groups: (2)

  • Anhydrous caffeine (300 mg) with creatine (20 grams)

  • Instant coffee (300 mg caffeine) with creatine (20 grams)

  • Creatine only (20 grams)

  • A placebo group

There were no significant changes in power or sprinting performance across the groups, according to the findings. Caffeine and creatine users complained of more stomach pain, however. (2)

Caffeine and creatine have no pharmacokinetic interactions, which means how the body reacts to a medication, according to a 2015 review of studies.

They also discovered that multi-ingredient pills combining both creatine and caffeine may help with strength and power. (3)

More study is required due to contradictory findings on the effects of combined caffeine and creatine on sports performance.

Though there is little study on the combined efficacy of the two substances, their individual advantages in sports and athletic performance are generally acknowledged.

Increases Risk of Dehydration & Causes Stomach Discomfort

It's been argued that the actual reason behind caffeine's alleged impact on creatine has less to do with particular interactions between the two and more to do with your level of hydration. (3)

In those who take little to no caffeine on a daily basis, caffeine may function as a diuretic (promotes urination). Caffeine users, on the other hand, are less sensitive to its diuretic effects. (3)

Creatine, on the other hand, may cause water retention. This may have a detrimental impact on performance due to their conflicting effects on hydration.

During a hard workout, if you don't drink enough water, you may rapidly lose too much bodily fluid and get dehydrated. (3, 4)

Dehydration during sports, if not addressed promptly, may result in a variety of problems, including the following symptoms. (4, 5)

  • Lowering in blood pressure.

  • Inability to properly regulate body temperature.

  • Reduction in the body's capacity to generate energy.

These symptoms, along with the slew of other adverse effects from dehydration, would lead to a poor athletic performance.

One other side effect from this supplement combination is stomach discomfort.

Caffeine and creatine seem to have no detrimental impact on athletic performance when taken together, and may even improve power and strength.

They may, however, raise the probability of stomach pain as well as the danger of dehydration, if not addressed properly.


Caffeine and creatine are two performance enhancers that are both considered safe and effective, listed below are some of their individual advantages. (6, 7, 8, 9)

  • Increased Muscle Mass: Caffeine and creatine have both been related to increased strength and muscular growth. They may, in particular, assist you in lifting greater weight or doing more repetitions, which promotes muscular growth.

  • Increased Strength & Power: When you exercise, creatine ensures you have enough energy. It does this by boosting the amount of phosphocreatine in your muscles. This allows your cells to generate more energy (ATP) in working muscles more rapidly, resulting in increased explosive power and strength.

  • Increased Energy & Alertness: Caffeine activates the central nervous system by preventing the chemical adenosine from attaching to sleep-inducing receptors in the brain. This may provide you a boost of energy to help you get through your exercise.

Both creatine and caffeine have been shown to be safe and very effective performance enhancers in multiple studies.

They've been proven to boost muscular growth, strength, and performance in power, sprinting, and high-intensity sports.


Despite the many advantages of caffeine and creatine, certain disadvantages must be considered such as the following. (3, 10, 11)

  • Dehydration: Although additional study is required, creatine alone increases the risk of dehydration, combining creatine with caffeinated drinks and supplements may raise the risk of dehydration even further.

  • Stomach Discomfort: The passage of digested food through the intestines is aided by caffeine. This may result in stomach pain and more frequent bowel motions. Caffeine sensitivity is greatly based on the person.

  • Insomnia & Sleep Issues: Caffeine, because of its stimulating properties, should not be consumed too close to bedtime. Because lack of sleep may impair athletic performance, coffee should be avoided at least 6 hours before bedtime.

Caffeine and creatine are both considered to be safe and effective sports performance enhancers on their own.

In some individuals, the combination may cause sleep disturbances, dehydration, and stomach discomfort, among other adverse effects if dehydration becomes an issue.


There are best practises for sports and athletic performance whether you opt to take creatine and caffeine together or separately.

However, before beginning a new supplement regimen or altering your dosage, always get medical advice.


The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) advises consuming 0.9-2.7 mg of caffeine per pound (2-6 mg/kg) when used as a performance improver.

For most people, around 3-4 cups of coffee per day is sufficient.

Caffeine reaches its peak around 45-60 minutes after consumption. So, if you're going to exercise, consider drinking a cup of coffee or a preworkout around an hour before you start.


ISSN advises beginning with a “loading dosage” of 0.3 grams per kilogram (0.14 grams per pound) per day for around 7 days, then changing your daily dose to 3-5 grams per day on an ongoing basis.

For example, a 200 pound (~90 kg) person would take about 27 grams of creatine per day for the first week, then lower their dose to the typical 3-5 grams per day.

It's probably also ideal to take creatine just before your workout, but additional study is required to pinpoint the precise timing.

creatine muscle saturation loading vs maintenance dosage graph


Creatine and caffeine together in modest quantities should not have a detrimental impact on your exercises. In fact, combining the two may help you perform better.

Creatine and caffeine have both been extensively researched for their ergogenic properties. They may help with muscular development, strength, and power in particular.

However, stomach discomfort and a risk of dehydration are possible adverse effects of this supplement combination.

Before adding creatine or caffeine to your diet or changing your dose drastically, it's advisable to consult with a doctor.

This is particularly true if you're doing both at the same time or altering your exercise or overall physical activity.

If you want to improve your workout performance without the risk of combining supplements, both creatine and caffeine are excellent choices on their own.

Further Reading

> Creatine: What Are Its Benefits

> Caffeine + L-Theanine (Is It Any Good for Improving Workouts?)


This section contains links to research, studies, and sources of information for this article, as well as authors, contributors, etc. All sources, along with the article and facts, are subjected to a series of quality, reliability, and relevance checks.

Real Muscle primarily uses high-quality sources, such as peer-reviewed publications, to back up the information in our articles. To understand more about how we fact-check and keep our information accurate, dependable, and trustworthy, read more about us.

This evidence-based analysis of the combination of creatine and caffeine features 11 references, listed below.

1. Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE. Creatine and Caffeine: Considerations for Concurrent Supplementation. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. (2015, Dec) (Review) ✔

2. Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Roelofs EJ, Hirsch KR, Persky AM, Mock MG. Effects of Coffee and Caffeine Anhydrous Intake During Creatine Loading. J Strength Cond Res. (2016, May) ✔

3. Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE. Creatine and Caffeine: Considerations for Concurrent Supplementation. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. (2015, Dec) (Review) ✔

4. Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. (2016, Mar) ✔

5. Belval LN, Hosokawa Y, Casa DJ, Adams WM, Armstrong LE, Baker LB, Burke L, Cheuvront S, Chiampas G, González-Alonso J, Huggins RA, Kavouras SA, Lee EC, McDermott BP, Miller K, Schlader Z, Sims S, Stearns RL, Troyanos C, Wingo J. Practical Hydration Solutions for Sports. Nutrients. (2019, Jul 9) ✔

6. Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, Ziegenfuss TN, Wildman R, Collins R, Candow DG, Kleiner SM, Almada AL, Lopez HL. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2017, Jun 13) ✔

7. Grgic J, Grgic I, Pickering C, Schoenfeld BJ, Bishop DJ, Pedisic Z. Wake up and smell the coffee: caffeine supplementation and exercise performance-an umbrella review of 21 published meta-analyses. Br J Sports Med. (2020, Jun) (Meta-Analysis) ✔

8. Guest NS, VanDusseldorp TA, Nelson MT, Grgic J, Schoenfeld BJ, Jenkins NDM, Arent SM, Antonio J, Stout JR, Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Goldstein ER, Kalman DS, Campbell BI. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2021, Jan 2) (Review) ✔

9. Southward K, Rutherfurd-Markwick KJ, Ali A. The Effect of Acute Caffeine Ingestion on Endurance Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. (2018, Aug) (Review) ✔

10. Iriondo-DeHond A, Uranga JA, Del Castillo MD, Abalo R. Effects of Coffee and Its Components on the Gastrointestinal Tract and the Brain-Gut Axis. Nutrients. (2020, Dec 29) ✔

11. Clark I, Landolt HP. Coffee, caffeine, and sleep: A systematic review of epidemiological studies and randomized controlled trials. Sleep Med Rev. (2017, Feb) (Review) ✔

Citations with a tick indicate the information is from a trusted source.


The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.

Give Your Feedback

How would you rate this article?TerribleNot greatSatisfactoryGoodPerfectHow would you rate this article?

Get Your Free Workout Guide

Sign up to receive your free guide to workouts, including 5 of our best tips guaranteed to help you achieve your goals! Sign up now.

Great! Check your inbox.

Our Promise

Real Muscle is a fitness, health, and bodybuilding information publishing company working to make honest, accurate, and evidence-based information easy to find. We are working hard to improve the health and fitness of everyone.

Our evidence-based articles are based on the latest, most trustworthy studies and research, every statement is cited. Read the policy here.

Our evidence-based articles are regularly updated, scientifically reviewed, and fact-checked by subject matter experts. Meet the team here.

All of our articles are put through the most rigorous of editorial standards to ensure the highest-quality article possible. See our process here.

bottom of page