What happens to you if you don’t drink enough water while taking creatine?
It won’t kill you.
But when it’s so easy to stay hydrated, why chance it?
Creatine, especially creatine monohydrate is pretty hydrophilic, that is, it likes to soak up water.
[Ok, anyone with a chemistry or biochemistry background, please don’t bombard me with hate mail for my lack of rigour for the explanation that follows. I am just a regular guy trying to give a quick & dirty answer to a practical question here].
The reason that many people probably feel pumped and that their muscles immediately swell after taking enough creatine is 1) usually creatine is taken with a pretty fair amount of carbohydrates, 1 g of CHO brings about 4g of water along with it and 2) Creatine is shuttled via a two transport proteins (CRET1 and CREAT2) into the muscle and brings lots of water with it on its way into these muscle cells.
So, if you decide to ‘’go dry’’, i.e. not take in sufficient liquids with creatine, it tries to get its water elsewhere.
This ‘’elsewhere’’ is going to be extracellularly (from outside the muscle cells) but interstitially (between the organs and other places in the body harbouring H2O).
Long term, or on a particularly hot day? This might lead to some trouble.
Short term, under normal conditions? Is not going to amount to much.