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February 12, 2023 5 min read

Creatine phosphate is a naturally occurring molecule in the human body and is responsible for replenishing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) during fast muscular movements through the phosphagen system [1].

We know from research and real-world experience that increasing the storage of free creatine and creatine phosphate inside the muscle cell can help prolong the usage of the phosphagen system.

It’s well known that creatine supplementation has been shown to enhance the total storage of creatine phosphate and helps increase anaerobic power and strength performances [2].

Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium are transporters used to aid in the absorption and utilization of creatine by the body [3].

While some studies have combined the use of creatine supplementation with beta alanine and other solutions, there is very little literature on creatine supplementation coupled with electrolytes.

Research on creatine and electrolytes

A study published in 2019 investigated the effects of a creatine supplement formulated with various electrolytes on upper and lower limb anaerobic power, and strength outcomes for recreationally-trained, college-aged individuals.  Results showed that creatine combined with phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium for six weeks led to significant improvements in bench press, back squat max strength, and multiple repetition tests to fatigue, compared to a placebo. 

Researchers stated that the current study combined both creatine and various electrolytes that potentially increase the absorption of creatine, increase transport into the muscle, and increase performance [4].

A study published in 2018 investigated the effects of a six week creatine-electrolyte supplementation intervention on overall and repeated peak and mean power output during repeated short duration sprint cycling performance, in a group of recreational cyclists.

Results demonstrated significant increases in overall and repeated peak and mean power output during repeated sprint cycling when the sprint and recovery durations are 15 sec and 2 min, respectively.

The increase in peak power output observed in this study is the first time a significant increase in overall and repeated peak power output has been observed during sprint cycling following creatine-electrolyte supplementation [5].

Figure: Mean power output (W) during each of the five 15-s sprints in the CE and P group, pre- and post-supplementation. * Indicates significant improvement in sprint performance from pre- to post-testing adapted from [5]


Another study contrasted the effects of creatine-electrolyte vs creatine monohydrate on anaerobic power in NCAA division II athletes.

  • For the creatine-electrolyte group, they found significantly greater improvement in anaerobic power (i.e. bench press 1RM, vertical jump height, and 100-yard dash time) compared to the creatine monohydrate group [6]. These results indicate that sustained supplementation with a creatine-electrolyte material may yield greater effects than supplementing with creatine monohydrate alone.

A 1999 study found that creatine uptake was significantly reduced by 47% when both calcium and magnesium were absent from an extracellular fluid.

  • The same group of researchers also found that in a similar fluid, creatine uptake is increased when concentrations of sodium and chloride are increased, even when creatine concentration remains constant [7]. For optimal creatine transportation, the body requires both sodium and chloride ions to transport the creatine molecules. Supplementing creatine with these electrolytes’ aids with increased uptake and storage of muscular creatine, thus potentially increasing performance.

How it works

Despite all the fascinating properties of oral creatine supplementation, the mechanism(s) mediating its intestinal absorption have not been investigated.

A 2002 study characterized intestinal creatine transport and demonstrated for the first time that mammalian and avian enterocytes express creatine transporter along the villus, where it mediates high-affinity, sodium, and chloride-dependent, apical creatine uptake [8].

Figure: In vitro Na+-dependent creatine uptake vs. Na+ concentration. Adapted from [8]

It is evident from past research that electrolytes further improve creatine uptake and the ergogenic effects associated with exercise.

  • Potassium is involved in maintaining the balance of fluids inside and outside the cells, which can affect the uptake of creatine into the muscles.
  • Sodium helps to regulate the osmotic pressure in the cells, which can also impact creatine uptake. 

In addition, creatine transport into cells is mediated via transporter proteins, which operate in an electrogenic fashion, requiring sodium and chlorine ions.

Essentially, the sodium-creatine cotransporter makes use of the free energy of the sodium concentration gradient and also of the inside-negative membrane potential [9]. 

Research indicates that the sodium-creatine transporter is not near equilibrium of max capacity and therefore is a potential site for the control of intracellular creatine content [10].


Summary and recommendations

Research indicates that the rate and magnitude of creatine uptake is enhanced when the extracellular solution contains electrolytes, compared to when these electrolytes are absent. It’s also very clear that creatine and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium could be beneficial for people wishing to increase their performance.

If you're looking for a powerful electrolyte and creatine combination to improve your performance, look no further than Hyperade and ATP-Fusion.

HyperAde quickly replenishes muscle glycogen and electrolytes that are depleted from intense bursts of energy and ATP-Fusion is 100% pure creatine monohydrate powder infused with a precise amount of sodium and potassium to deliver more of the performance enhancing benefts you're looking for.

You can find them both here.

1.    Kresta, J.Y., et al., Effects of 28 days of beta-alanine and creatine supplementation on muscle carnosine, body composition and exercise performance in recreationally active females. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2014. 11(1): p. 55.
2.    Aedma, M., et al., Short-term creatine supplementation has no impact on upper-body anaerobic power in trained wrestlers. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2015. 12: p. 45.
3.    Brilla, L.R., et al., Magnesium-creatine supplementation effects on body water. Metabolism, 2003. 52(9): p. 1136-40.
4.    Hummer, E., et al., Creatine electrolyte supplement improves anaerobic power and strength: a randomized double-blind control study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2019. 16(1): p. 24.
5.    Crisafulli, D.L., et al., Creatine-electrolyte supplementation improves repeated sprint cycling performance: A double blind randomized control study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2018. 15: p. 21.
6.    Stout JR, E.J., Noonan D, Moore G, Cullen D. , Effects of 8 weeks of creatine supplementation on exercise performance and fat-free weight in football players during training. Nutr Res., 1999. 19: p. 217–225.
7.    Dai, W., et al., Molecular characterization of the human CRT-1 creatine transporter expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Arch Biochem Biophys, 1999. 361(1): p. 75-84.
8.    Peral, M.J., et al., Human, rat and chicken small intestinal Na+ - Cl- -creatine transporter: functional, molecular characterization and localization. J Physiol, 2002. 545(1): p. 133-44.
9.    Kemp G, B.A., The regulation ofintracellular orthophosphate concentration. J Theor Biol, 1993. 161: p. 77-94.
10.    Odoom, J.E., G.J. Kemp, and G.K. Radda, The regulation of total creatine content in a myoblast cell line. Mol Cell Biochem, 1996. 158(2): p. 179-88.


Dr. Paul Henning

About Dr. Paul

I'm currently an Army officer on active duty with over 15 years of experience and also run my own health and wellness business. The majority of my career in the military has focused on enhancing Warfighter health and performance. I am passionate about helping people enhance all aspects of their lives through health and wellness. Learn more about me