Does Caffeine Cancel Out Creatine? Debunking Myths About Supplement Interactions - Lucid™

Does Caffeine Cancel Out Creatine? Debunking Myths About Supplement Interactions

Written by: Kat Austin



Time to read 6 min

In the world of fitness and health, supplements play a crucial role in enhancing performance and achieving goals. Among the most popular are caffeine and creatine. However, a persistent question remains: Does caffeine cancel out creatine?

Luckily, the answer seems to be no–caffeine does not cancel out creatine, and the two can be taken together (in moderation) to achieve enhanced benefits.

Follow us as we explore and debunk the myths surrounding this supplement interaction, providing clarity based on scientific evidence. Let's jump in:

Key Takeaways

Caffeine and creatine may cause side effects due to opposing impacts on muscle relaxation and digestion, but they do not negate each other’s effects.

Caffeine acts as a diuretic and creatine causes short-term water retention within cells, so both can lead to dehydration if water intake is insufficient during workouts.

Overall, the combination of creatine and caffeine may have more benefits than drawbacks

Understanding Caffeine + Creatine

Caffeine is a well-known stimulant found in coffee, tea, and various energy drinks. It boosts alertness, reduces fatigue, and enhances physical performance by stimulating the central nervous system.

Creatine, on the other hand, is a compound found in muscle cells that helps produce energy during high-intensity exercise. It is one of the most widely studied ergogenic supplements used to enhance strength, increase lean muscle mass, and enhance recovery.

Although the two play very different roles, both are used as ergogenic aids, meaning they are used to regulate energy production. Many supplements blend creatine and caffeine together for enhanced benefits–but rumor has it that the combination may pose a threat.

Luckily, there's no real evidence to prove severe negative side effects. Let's debunk this caffeine creatine myth.

The Origins of the Myth: A Look at Caffeine Creatine Research

The belief that caffeine cancels out creatine’s effects has been around for years. Early studies and anecdotal reports suggested that combining these two supplements might negate their benefits. This myth has persisted, leading many to question whether they should avoid taking caffeine and creatine together

Fortunately, most modern research disproves a negative interaction between creatine and caffeine.

A 2017 study over five days with 54 males divided into four groups found no significant differences in power and sprinting performance among the groups, which included combinations of anhydrous caffeine (300 mg) and creatine (20 grams), instant coffee (300 mg caffeine) and creatine (20 grams), creatine only (20 grams), and a placebo. However, those taking caffeine and creatine did report greater digestive discomfort.

A 2015 review found no pharmacokinetic interactions between caffeine and creatine, suggesting that multi-ingredient supplements containing both may support strength and power performance. Despite some conflicting reports, the individual benefits of caffeine and creatine in sports and athletic performance are well-established.

Positive Effects of Caffeine and Creatine Interactions

A few studies indicated that combining caffeine and creatine might offer synergistic benefits, enhancing both mental alertness and physical performance.

According to various studies, including one umbrella review of 21 published studies, creatine may be linked to:

  • Enhanced power and strength: Creatine boosts phosphocreatine levels in muscles, facilitating rapid ATP production for increased explosive power and strength during exercise.

  • Increased muscle mass: Both creatine and caffeine have been linked to greater strength gains and muscle mass, promoting muscle hypertrophy and improved performance.

  • Heightened alertness and energy: Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, providing an extra boost of energy and alertness to support workouts.

  • Proven ergogenic benefits : Extensive research supports the effectiveness of both creatine and caffeine in enhancing muscle building, strength, and performance in various sports and activities.

Caffeine and Creatine Side Effects

According to some research ( 2015 , 2016 ) potential side effects of combining caffeine and creatine may stem from their opposing effects on muscle relaxation time and gastrointestinal issues rather than direct interactions between the two.

Caffeine can act as a diuretic, promoting urination, particularly in individuals who do not regularly consume it. Regular caffeine users, however, are less likely to experience this effect.

In contrast, creatine often causes water retention, primarily within cells, and this effect is usually short-term. Over longer periods, studies indicate that creatine does not significantly increase total body water.

These differing impacts on hydration could negatively influence performance. Insufficient water intake during workouts can lead to dehydration, exacerbating the side effects of both supplements.

Addressing Other Caffeine and Creatine Myths

Now that we’ve reviewed the research, let’s address some of these myths head on:

Myth: Caffeine Completely Negates Creatine’s Effects on Muscle Performance

Evidence shows that while caffeine may affect muscle endurance, it does not completely negate creatine’s benefits. Many users report improved performance when using both supplements.

However, chronic caffeine consumption may have a mild effect that negates the benefits of the creatine-loading phase. A study found that while six days of creatine loading increased quadriceps torque during resistance exercise, adding caffeine during the last three days did not improve performance.

This interference might be due to their opposing effects on muscle relaxation: creatine reduces muscle relaxation time by increasing calcium reuptake into the sarcoplasmic reticulum, while caffeine increases muscle relaxation time by releasing more calcium. Reduced relaxation time is beneficial for generating quick, high force.

Myth: Caffeine Negatively Impacts Creatine Absorption

There is no strong evidence to support the claim that caffeine hinders creatine absorption. Both supplements are processed differently in the body.

Myth: Combining Caffeine and Creatine Leads to Dehydration or Other Health Risks

While both supplements can cause dehydration if not used properly, consuming adequate water and following recommended dosages can mitigate these risks. Using caffeine and creatine together will not automatically result in dehydration.

How to Use Creatine and Caffeine Most Effectively

For those wondering, “Does caffeine cancel out creatine?”, it’s important to consider individual responses to these supplements. Here are some recommendations:

  • Timing: To maximize benefits, consider spacing out the intake of caffeine and creatine. For instance, take creatine post-workout and consume caffeine before your workout. 

  • Hydration: Ensure adequate water intake to prevent dehydration. You may find that you need to increase your water intake when starting either substance. Caffeine is a diuretic and creatine draws more water into the muscles, so both will affect your hydration levels.

  • Individual Differences: Monitor your body’s response to these supplements and adjust accordingly. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, and certain people (like those with certain liver conditions) cannot take creatine.


So, does caffeine cancel out creatine? The answer is no. 

While some early studies suggested potential negative interactions, the bulk of evidence indicates that caffeine does not negate creatine’s benefits. By understanding the science and following best practices, you can effectively use both supplements to enhance your performance.

For more detailed information, always refer to the latest studies and consult with healthcare professionals to tailor supplement use to your individual needs.

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  1. “Effects of coffee and caffeine anhydrous intake during creatine loading”

  2. “Creatine and Caffeine: Considerations for Concurrent Supplementation”

  3. “Wake up and smell the coffee: caffeine supplementation and exercise performance-an umbrella review of 21 published meta-analyses”

  4. “Caffeine counteracts the ergogenic action of muscle creatine loading”