Is Creatine ACTUALLY Safe for You on the Ketogenic Diet?

Is Taking Creatine Safe While on Keto?


A lot of people wonder if they should take supplements when they start on a new diet. This is particularly the case for individuals who are starting the ketogenic diet because many worries they will not have enough energy to exercise (thanks to the low-carb requirements).

This is why a lot of people begin taking creatine while on the ketogenic diet.

The good news is that if you do or are interested in taking creatine, the keto dietary requirements are perfectly compatible with it. But, before you run out to get your ketogenic creatine game on, keep reading to find out if you need to take it while on the keto diet.

Can You Take Creatine On The Keto Diet?

Taking creatine while on the keto diet is perfectly OK, as there generally are no hidden carbs in these supplements.

The one thing you want to avoid is any kind of carbs, and because creatine is an organic substance that is not a carbohydrate, it will not interfere with the diet goals.

At the same time, you should pay very close attention to the labelling of the supplements you buy.

a scoop of creatine

 Some may contain many other ingredients beyond creatine, or they could even have sugars added to make it taste better.

There are many benefits to taking creatine that we will get into below. But before you start taking it, you need to first ask yourself...

Should You Take Creatine on the Keto Diet?

man thinking

Before taking any supplement, you should always understand what it’s for and whether your body and lifestyle would benefit from taking it. You should also be aware of its benefits and its potential drawbacks.

So, here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not you should be taking creatine while on your keto diet.

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    Do you currently practice intense exercise or athletics? If the answer is “yes,” then taking creatine on keto diet plans can help. It can give you some of the bursts of energy that you will need to perform well, energy that you may be lacking as you lessen your carbohydrate intake.
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    Do you plan to start exercising or participating in athletics? Yes? Then creatine can help. But keep in mind – taking it without using it afterward makes it useless. It’s not going to act as a general energy booster. It is explicitly stored in the muscles and helps provide energy during intense workouts.
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    Do you have kidney problems or liver problems? If yes, then you should NOT TAKE creatine as there is some evidence suggesting that it could damage weak kidneys, livers, and more. [1]

The bottom line is that there is nothing wrong with taking creatine when following the keto diet. They are perfectly compatible, and studies have indicated that the supplement is perfectly okay for healthy people as well. BUT, if you’re not going to exercise, then don’t bother, as you will get none of its energizing effects.

Of course, if you’re serious about changing your lifestyle and getting strong and healthy, why wouldn’t you plan to exercise anyway?

What are the Benefits of Taking Creatine?

Sexy abs slim stomach and buffed arm

There are numerous benefits to using the supplement, especially for those on the ketogenic diet who want to work out.

Here are some of the main benefits:

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    Fight Off the “Low Carb Flu": For most when first starting the low-carb keto diet, they experience severe physical fatigue and lack of energy. This is especially true when they go to hit the gym and do their routine exercise. Many even lessen the number of workouts or quit altogether. Incorporating creatine into your daily routine before exercising can help restore the energy you need for those workouts. It helps supply those bursts of energy is necessary for exercise without leaving you fatigued.
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    Fight Off Brain Fog: Another common symptom when first starting out with lower carbs is brain fog. Though primarily for physical energy, studies are beginning to suggest that creatine may also help with mental energy as well. You are even helping yourself to think quicker and handle difficult mental tasks better.
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    Energy Boosts: On any given day for any given person, a key benefit of creatine is the added energy boost it provides. It is particularly useful for exercises that require intermittent bursts of extra energy, such as weightlifting or sports like hockey or basketball where athletes play in stints. [2]
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    Build Bigger Muscles: Another perk of this supplement is that it helps make your muscles bigger. This is particularly helpful for those on the keto diet because it can often be difficult to build muscle when eating low carb and lower protein. [3]
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    Avoid the Cramps: Research is also finding that the use of creatine on keto diets can help cut down on the amount of cramping you experience during exercise. The reason this is of concern is because cramping during a workout tends to increase with low carb diets.

Are there Drawbacks to Using Creatine on Keto?

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    Water Weight: Creatine draws water into the muscle fibers. This is part of the reason why it makes muscles pump up so much. However, this does mean that you are almost guaranteed to “gain weight” while using it because you begin retaining more water. However, this is typically a short-lived side-effect that dies down after consistent use. It will indeed contribute to helping remove fat from the muscles.
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    Kidney Concerns: While studies have shown no risks whatsoever of kidney damage to healthy individuals, there does seem to be evidence suggesting that it is not a safe supplement for those with unhealthy organs.
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    Dehydration: Because creatine draws water into the muscle cells, there is concern that users could experience dehydration. It is essential that if you take it, you should also stay well hydrated (maybe even take electrolytes), which you should be doing anyway.
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    GI Irritation: Some report that use of creatine upsets their GI. However, making sure you take it with food and not taking heavy “loading” dosages when you start using any product could help prevent this side effect.
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    Toxins & Impurities: All supplements, including the most natural and healthy vitamins, have the risk of having impurities and toxins in them if not properly handled by the producer. This is why it is important that you choose a high-quality powder if you decide to take it.
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    Non-Responsive: Some folks just don’t respond to creatine. They are dubbed “non-responders.” It’s just something in your genetic makeup, and unfortunately, there isn’t anything you can do to change it if you are a non-responder. You should notice after a week of consistent use whether or not you have experienced improvement during your workouts or not.

When Should You Take Creatine On Keto Diet?

clock showing the time for usage

You should take creatine both before and after high-intensity workouts, especially when you’re on the keto diet.

Creatine helps to process energy in muscle cells, and because your diet will remove all carbs, you can end up struggling to generate enough energy.

When you take it before a heavy training session at the gym, a long run or cycle, then you help your muscles to maximize the use of available energy.

Post workout, the supplement will encourage your muscles to grow new cells as well as repair any damaged tissue. This speeds up the recovery period so that you can train more often and harder.

And because low energy is something that people often struggle with on the keto diet, this is an ideal supplement to be taking to beat that drained physical and mental feeling.

What’s the Best Creatine for Keto?

By now, you probably are ready to get started on your journey to improving your keto diet, but you do want to be careful about the brand of creatine you use. So, what do we think is the best brand for use on the ketogenic diet?

For those wanting to take creatine on their keto diets, we believe that BPI Sports’ Best Creatine (no coincidence on the name) is the way to go. If you’re planning to work out as you transition onto your keto diet, you can't do without it, or at least it will help you get through rigorous workouts easier. 

With the product being 'unflavored,' you can easily add it to your usual pre-workout drink just before hitting the gym without any hassle.

 BPI Sports will provide you that extra boost that you will need to get to the next level in your training.

About the Author

Ryan is a personal trainer, athlete, health enthusiast, and entrepreneur. He is researching and expanding his knowledge about the ketogenic diet. He spends most of his time writing content about his new learnings of the ketogenic diet and shares it on Ketogenic Supplement Reviews. You can find me on: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.