According to a study from Australia, one of the risks of taking creatine monohydrate includes bloating. But not everyone can experience creatine bloating.
If so, what are the reasons why creating bloating occurs?
In this article, we will discuss creatine supplementation, creating bloating, how long it lasts and how to treat it, and other side effects of taking creatine.
Creatine Supplementation: An Overview
Creatine is very popular with athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
A creatine supplement is generally used to increase athletic performance, lean muscle mass, and muscle size.
Additionally, a creatine supplement works by increasing your ATP production by donating a phosphate group to adenosine diphosphate.
As a side effect, this compound will then draw more fluid into your muscle cells.
The Role of Amino Acids in Creatine Production
Creatine is naturally produced in your body’s muscle cells, especially in the kidneys, pancreas, and liver.
According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, around 95% of creatine is stored in your muscle cells.
In another study from Oklahoma, your muscle cells make around 1 gram of creatine per day.
The production of creatine is made by combining two amino acids, specifically, the amino acid arginine and the amino acid glycine.
Aside from the natural production of creatine through muscle cells, creatine can also be consumed through foods and supplements.
For the latter, different types can be considered.
These are creatine monohydrate and creatine hydrochloride.
What is Creatine Bloating?
Before we discuss creatine bloating, let us first elaborate on the loading phase and maintenance dose.
The loading phase is the beginning of a creatine cycle while the latter is the dose taken after the loading phase.
According to a study from Texas, the loading phase includes taking up to 25 grams of creatine for 7 days.
After the loading phase, the maintenance phase will follow. This includes taking 0.03 grams per kg of this compound per day.
Generally, the use of the loading phase is to saturate your muscle cells with creatine.
However, because the high dose of creatine forces water into your muscle cells, bloating can be experienced.
In a randomized controlled trial from Brazil, it was reported that a 7-day creatine consumption using a 0.3 grams per kg dose increased the body’s total water, by around 2.3 lbs.
Thus, if you are prone to creatine bloating, you can skip the loading phase altogether.
Aside from this, the use of the loading phase depends on the type of creatine used.
For example, creatine HCl does not require a loading dose.
If you want to skip the loading phase altogether, make sure to follow a strict maintenance dose to optimize the benefits of creatine in getting more ATP to improve power output and increase lean muscle mass to achieve your fitness goals.
Does Creatine Bloating Wear Off?
According to a study from Belgium, bloating due is short-term. It can resolve a few weeks after following the loading phase.
So, if you have just started taking creatine powder, it is normal to experience creating bloating some days.
As your body adjusts to the supplement you are taking, intestinal bloating will wear off on its own.
Again, not everyone can experience creating bloating.
Many healthcare professionals state that this condition is rare.
However, if you suffer from other gastrointestinal issues and bloating, you might want to consult a doctor.
If you wonder how long creatine bloating lasts, the answer would be it depends on many factors such as dose, water consumption habit, diet, and workout routine.
If you want to avoid creatine bloating, you should increase your water intake as much as you can. In the next section, we will more elaborate on how to treat and avoid creatine bloating.
Treatment and How to Avoid Creatine Bloating
Many ways can be used to address creatine bloating.
Although this unpleasant feeling can go away after your loading dose, it is still recommended to relieve it, especially when it becomes intolerable.
1) Loading and Dosage
Creating bloating is mostly experienced during the loading phase or the initial phase of a creatine cycle.
During this phase, a user will have to take higher doses of this compound to keep the muscle saturated.
Generally, high doses cause bloating. So, to avoid the side effects, you might want to skip this initial phase and proceed to your maintenance or daily dose.
If you opt to skip, make sure to know how much creatine is right for you.
2) Change your creatine
Another way to avoid bloating is by changing your creatine – this means changing your brands or the type used.
Creatine powder is the most stable form, and if you are not using this yet, you might want to start switching.
Likewise, if this form is not suitable for you, you can consider other forms as well. Some of these include the following:
- Creatine HCl
- Creatine malate
- Creatine citrate
- Micronized creatine
When you purchase supplements, you should get high-quality ones. You can also check for user reviews online if the brand you are getting offers no side effects, such as bloating.
Doing this will surely help you find the answer to your question – does creatine make you bloated?
3) Improve your lifestyle
Improving your lifestyle means choosing a healthy diet and proper exercise.
According to some experts, proper lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of experiencing creatine bloating.
Some of the lifestyle choices you can follow include:
- Reduce salt intake to prevent water retention
- Avoid high amounts of carbohydrates while on a creatine cycle
- Skip fast foods and processed foods
- Increase your gut health by consuming foods that can aid digestion
- While on a creatine cycle, take the easy-to-digest foods
- Lift weights and do other exercises
Many people tend to blame creatine for their bloating but they never realize that the bloating might also be due to their choices.
4) Increase water intake
There is an association between creatine and water retention. The chemical properties of this compound create a hydration shell leading to water retention and bloating.
According to a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, it was found that an increase in the dose of creatine can increase total body water leading to excessive water retention.
To eliminate water retention, you can increase your water consumption. Doing this will make you urinate more, thus, removing the excess water stored in your muscles.
Remember, water retention is also associated with heart disease and kidney malfunction. So, you might want to address it as soon as possible.
Other Side Effects of Creatine Monohydrate
Aside from bloating, there are other side effects of using creatine. Some of these side effects of creatine will be discussed in this section.
1) Weight gain
According to a study from the USA, aside from loathing, one of the most common side effects of creatine is weight gain.
Just like bloating, this weight gain is caused by excessive water retention.
Dehydration is also due to too much water in your muscles.
So, when you take this compound, keep in mind that you can get dehydrated more while doing intense exercise.
Muscle cramps occur when your body does not get enough water. When you take this performance-enhancer supplement, your body’s water is stored in the muscles, making cramping more possible.
4) Digestion issues
According to a study from Serbia, this compound can increase the risk of experiencing diarrhea by up to 56%.
Thus, it is important to know how much creatine is suitable for your body to avoid side effects.
Creatine is an effective pre-workout and post-workout supplement.
It works by increasing your body’s ATP stores and providing many health benefits from muscle function to cognition.
However, users may wonder, does creatine make you bloated?
The answer is yes, supplements with creatine cause bloating but not all can experience it.
Many factors can cause creatine bloating and one of these includes the dosage of the compound.
Too much of it can also cause other side effects.