Home  /  All  /  Nutrition

Creatine on Keto: What You Need to Know

Written by
FACT CHECKED
  Published on September 7th, 2022
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified September 9th, 2022
Creatine on keto

Creatine is one of the best-studied supplements on the market. It’s useful for anyone who needs a boost in their performance at the gym. More specifically, it can help improve your strength, muscle mass, power for high-intensity workouts, and recovery. [1]

But can you take creatine on keto? This article provides information about creatine as a sports supplement: what it is, whether you can have creatine while on keto, reasons to use it, and dosage and timing tips. 

What Is Creatine?

While athletes and fitness enthusiasts use creatine to assist in their training, our liver, kidneys, and pancreas naturally produce creatine—about 1 gram per day—and it is stored in our skeletal muscles. Additionally, individuals whose diets are comprised predominantly of meat have more creatine stores than vegetarians, since creatine is found in red meat and seafood. [2] [3]

Various types of creatine supplements exist, but creatine monohydrate is the best. Its use is supported by multiple studies and it is generally safe and well-tolerated, easy to find, and affordable. [4]

Can You Have Creatine On Keto?

Creatine itself has no carbohydrates, making it a keto-friendly supplement. It comes in a pill or powder form. You’ll also find protein bars and performance shakes with creatine in them.

Creatine powders are more rapidly absorbed by your body, although keep in mind that some powders have added carbs and sugar. So, when choosing the best creatine for keto—regardless of the form—always check the nutrition facts label and ingredients list. 

Adding creatine powder to a smoothie

If you’re already taking electrolytes as one of your current keto supplements, studies show that electrolytes may aid in the absorption and utilization of creatine, thereby boosting your performance. 

For example, a double-blind randomized controlled study on 23 male recreational cyclists found that supplementing with creatine and electrolytes for 6 weeks increased peak and mean power output during repeated short duration sprint cycling performance. [5]

The Benefits of Creatine on Keto

Creatine helps your body in the following ways: 

Lean body mass

Research shows that supplementing with creatine during training can enhance lean body mass. Healthy but sedentary female volunteers who did resistance training and took creatine experienced greater increases in their lean mass and strength in the muscle groups that were trained compared to the group that did resistance training alone. [6]

High-intensity exercise performance

Training at high intensities can be challenging for some people who follow the keto diet. This is also true for those who are new to the diet. If you prefer high-intensity exercise on keto, the good news is that creatine helps produce and replenish your ATP (the energy-carrying molecule in your cells). That way, your muscles have more energy to sustain your workouts. [7]

Recovery from intense training

Another reason to supplement with creatine while on keto is that it speeds up muscle recovery due to exercise. Among fourteen male participants, creatine monohydrate led to significant improvements in the rate of recovery of their knee extensor muscle function. [8]

Creatine can be very helpful for low-carb dieters whose glycogen stores are depleted, especially after an exercise. It’s common practice among athletes to consume carbohydrates to promote post-workout recovery by replenishing muscle glycogen. [9]

Taking creatine may serve as an alternative to post-workout carbs or it may be taken with carbs based on your daily carb limit on keto, which is up to 50 grams.  

May improve lipid profile 

The keto diet leads to healthy cholesterol levels by increasing HDL and decreasing triglycerides. [10] There’s also growing evidence that creatine monohydrate supplementation lowers triglycerides and may even reduce fat accumulation in the liver, helping individuals with fatty liver and non-alcoholic liver disease. [11]

How to Take Creatine on Keto

Drinking creatine while on keto

If you’re interested in taking creatine for the reasons stated above, the recommended dose is 5 grams (or 0.3 g/kg body weight) of creatine per day. [12] Take it within 30 minutes of working out OR immediately after working out. If you prefer before AND after a workout, split the dose so that you take the first half prior to a session and the second half afterward.

As mentioned earlier in this article, one way to maximize creatine uptake is to consume creatine with electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and magnesium). 

As mentioned earlier in this article, one way to maximize creatine uptake is to consume creatine with electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and magnesium). 

There’s no need to take creatine, though, unless you’re serious about body recomposition or striving for better workouts. If you’re not eating enough meat and seafood—which are natural keto-friendly food sources of creatine—and you happen to be active, creatine monohydrate will also help you see improvements in your physical performance. 

The Bottom Line

Can you use creatine on keto? There’s no reason to avoid it if you’re looking for a well-research sports supplement that promotes muscle growth, performance, strength, recovery, and even health. 

Need more keto-friendly supplement ideas that support your overall health and wellness? Check out these 9 keto supplements

References

1.

Kreider, R. B., Kalman, D. S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., Candow, D. G., Kleiner, S. M., Almada, A. L., & Lopez, H. L. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14, 18. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z

2.

Cooper, R., Naclerio, F., Allgrove, J., & Jimenez, A. (2012). Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 33. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-9-33

3.

Kaviani, M., Shaw, K., & Chilibeck, P. D. (2020). Benefits of Creatine Supplementation for Vegetarians Compared to Omnivorous Athletes: A Systematic Review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(9), 3041. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093041

4.

Kreider, R. B., Kalman, D. S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., Candow, D. G., Kleiner, S. M., Almada, A. L., & Lopez, H. L. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14, 18. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z

5.

Crisafulli, D. L., Buddhadev, H. H., Brilla, L. R., Chalmers, G. R., Suprak, D. N., & San Juan, J. G. (2018). Creatine-electrolyte supplementation improves repeated sprint cycling performance: A double blind randomized control study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15, 21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-018-0226-y

6.

Vandenberghe, K., Goris, M., Van Hecke, P., Van Leemputte, M., Vangerven, L., & Hespel, P. (1997). Long-term creatine intake is beneficial to muscle performance during resistance training. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 83(6), 2055–2063. https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.1997.83.6.2055

7.

Balsom, P. D., Söderlund, K., Sjödin, B., & Ekblom, B. (1995). Skeletal muscle metabolism during short duration high-intensity exercise: influence of creatine supplementation. Acta physiologica Scandinavica, 154(3), 303–310. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-1716.1995.tb09914.x

8.

Cooke, M.B., Rybalka, E., Williams, A.D. et al. Creatine supplementation enhances muscle force recovery after eccentrically-induced muscle damage in healthy individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 6, 13 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-6-13

9.

Ivy J. L. (2004). Regulation of muscle glycogen repletion, muscle protein synthesis and repair following exercise. Journal of sports science & medicine, 3(3), 131–138.

10.

Dashti, H. M., Mathew, T. C., Hussein, T., Asfar, S. K., Behbahani, A., Khoursheed, M. A., Al-Sayer, H. M., Bo-Abbas, Y. Y., & Al-Zaid, N. S. (2004). Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Experimental and clinical cardiology, 9(3), 200–205.

11.

Barcelos, R. P., Stefanello, S. T., Mauriz, J. L., Gonzalez-Gallego, J., & Soares, F. A. (2016). Creatine and the Liver: Metabolism and Possible Interactions. Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry, 16(1), 12–18. https://doi.org/10.2174/1389557515666150722102613

12.

Kreider, R.B., Kalman, D.S., Antonio, J. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 18 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Never miss out on exclusive content and limited deals.

As a Member, you get instant access to personalized meal plans, exclusive videos & articles, discounts, a 1 on 1 Coaching Session, and so much more. As a member, you join our mission of empowering 1,000,000 people to positively change their lives throughout the world. Get started today.

Monthly

A Great Deal
$ 19
99 /month
  • 7-Day Free Trial
  • Cancel Anytime

Annual

3 Months Free
$ 179
/year
  • 3 Months Free
  • Cancel Anytime

Lifetime

Membership for Life
$ 349
  • Lifetime Access
  • Limited Availability