The last thing you want to happen while trying to bulk up your muscles is to become dehydrated.
You’ll end up feeling weak, thirsty and tired. (Ugh!) But unfortunately creatine can have dehydrating effects.
An article published on the Healthline website explains that creatine alters your body’s stored water content by driving additional water into your muscles cells.
This is what leads researchers to believe is the reason that creatine causes dehydration.
How much water should you drink while taking creatine?
In an article published on Total Shape, that was fact checked by Donald Christman BHSc, (Bachelor of/in Health Sciences), explains how much water you should be drinking a day while taking a creatine supplement.
He shares that it’s important to keep your muscles hydrated because when you become dehydrated the effects on your muscles become adverse. Instead of gaining muscle, you’ll lose it and not be able to bulk up your muscle stores.
It’s suggested to take drinking water “seriously” if you want to get the maximum and best benefits while taking a creatine supplement. Keeping hydrated is essential, Christman further explains.
Some recommendations suggest about 1 liter of water while taking a creatine supplement, which is the equivalent to around 4.2 cups. That is a bit on the low end for others who suggest a solid 8 cups a day to reach your recommended level of maximum hydration, with or without the adage of creatine in your diet.
In another article published by Healthline, Saurabh Sethi, MD, MPH, (Doctor of Medicine, Master of Public Health), urges those taking creatine to skip sipping on alcohol or atleast cut back on their intake and not take it directly after working out.
This is because alcohol is dehydrating and reduces creatine’s benefits of building muscle, lessening endurance, and reduces your muscles overall recovery.
So why does alcohol cause dehydrating properties? The answer is simply because alcohol acts as a diuretic, and pulls water away from the tissues. This in turn causes muscle cramping and pain.
Creatine also cannot pull water in that’s not there. What creatine does is pull your water into your cells to build up your muscles after exercise.
So in relation, if you are dehydrated you can’t provide your muscles with power. Not to mention drinking alcohol directly impacts the organs that make creatine.
If you are an avid regular heavy drinker you can end up damaging your muscles, liver, and kidneys. Since creatine is made and used by those organs, alcohol misuse and abuse can slowly weaken your organs and your body overall.
What happens if you don’t drink enough water?
First and foremost when you do not drink enough water you become dehydrated, which is a huge overall problem. But as mentioned previously above, becoming dehydrated while taking creatine supplements can have detrimental and adverse effects to the muscles you are attempting to build up in the first place.
You can’t pull water from an empty vessel, and when your body doesn’t have enough water to pull from you won’t bulk up your muscles, and you’ll become tired more easily.
There isn’t really a point to taking creatine if you’re going to let your body’s water reservoir run on empty.
You will not have water to pull from and bulk up, and you can’t work out harder, better or faster when your body is tired and when it’s in dire need of some fresh H2O.
The Henry Ford Health System tells us that the human body is made up of about 80% of water. ( This basically makes us houseplants with more complicated emotions.)
This is why drinking enough water everyday is so important, shares Marjan Moghaddam, D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), “we’re made up of water more than anything else.”
She suggests drinking 6 to 8 ounces of glasses a day. (Which further supports the suggestion for water intake in the article that Donald Christman BHSc helped support.)
Dr. Moghaddam also gives the okay for those who aren’t “as active” to take in only 6 cups a day, (if they just can’t get in that recommended 8.)
Her stance on Gatorade or Powerade? She feels water is still better in the long run, as “you don’t need to replenish electrolytes after an hour workout.”
Still can’t find ways to down those ounces? Try keeping it in a fun water bottle that marks how much you’ve drank, and that keeps your water super cold.
You can also “eat” your water, and yes you read that right! You could try eating water dense fruits and vegetables like, cucumbers, lemon, limes, berries, and melons. Eating those are an excellent way to get your water intake up.
There are also other health side effects that can happen to your body when you become dehydrated.
- Persistent Headaches: One sure sign of dehydration is a headache. If you notice a throbbing headache, a lack of H2O may be to blame. But the good news is that it should dissipate quickly after drinking a large glass of water.
- Sluggish Bowel Function: No one wants to talk about problems in the bathroom, but they do come up. Your body has water receptors in your colon that they pull from in order to make your stool softer. If you don’t get enough water, you can experience abdominal pain and cramps, which are both results from constipation.
- Fatigue: Lack of hydration can cause brain fog and that sluggish “need coffee feeling.” Sadly, coffee is also dehydrating, so before you reach for that delicious bean juice you should have a glass of water.
- Weight Gain: Sometimes people mistake thirst for hunger, Dr. Moghaddam explains. So instead of grabbing a drink they eat instead, which can lead to unintended weight gain.
- Dry Mouth: A lack of saliva can lead to a dry and scratchy throat, and dry mouth. But, a simple drink should cure that.
In the end keeping hydrated is the key, rather it be because you’re taking a supplement or because you just want to stay healthy.
Try to find exciting ways to get your water in (fruit infused water is delicious!), and you’ll find that you love the results in the long run.