No doubt, creatine is a popular topic for those looking to gain muscle and improve their athletic performance.
You may have heard of creatine supplementation if you spend time in the gym or engage in athletic activities.
While many swear by its effectiveness in helping build muscle and improve performance, have you ever wondered, does creatine make you bloated?
Well, do its benefits outweigh its potential drawbacks?
Let’s find out more!
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More About Creatine
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound produced in the body and stored as phosphocreatine.
It serves as a source of energy during periods of intense physical activity, such as exercise or sports performance.
The main amino acids in its production are glycine, arginine, and methionine.
The body typically produces enough of these amino acids, but supplementing with creatine has increased levels beyond what the body can produce naturally.
Apart from its natural occurrence in the body, creatine can also be found in some foods such as fish and meat(mainly animal proteins).
Still, many athletes turn to creatine supplements to gain the maximum benefits it provides.
How to Take It?
Since the supplements are mostly available in powder form, you can drink them by mixing them with juice or water at your convenience. Timing is not an important factor.
Therefore, you can take it any time of the day, but preferably after meals. Some also prefer to split their doses and have half in the morning and another half in the evening.
How Creatine Works
The human body’s primary energy source for physiological processes is adenosine triphosphate(ATP ).
When a person performs any activity, their body breaks down ATP to release energy and sustain their physical performance.
When ATP is broken down, it releases a phosphate group that binds to creatine in the muscles, creating a new molecule called phosphocreatine (PCr).
This PCr can then replenish ATP levels so that performance and energy levels remain consistent throughout physical activity.
This process of binding phosphate groups to creatine molecules makes creatine supplementation so popular among athletes and bodybuilders.
An increase in energy levels eventually reduces fatigue giving your muscles more strength.
As a result, the body’s metabolism rate increases when you take creatine supplements. This is a good thing as it helps the body to burn more calories and stores fat.
The increase in the metabolism rate results in more water absorbed by the cells.
Since the creatine monohydrate is hydrophilic, this supplement’s molecules will draw water resulting in the largening or swelling of muscle cells.
The combination of increased metabolic rate and the water retention nature of the creatine eventually results in two things:
- The stomach may get insufficient amounts of water.
- Intestinal muscles swelling
These two factors cause creatine bloating before the kidneys can excrete the excess through the urine.
However, this is common in the loading phase, which entails taking 20-25 grams of creatine daily for the first 4-5 days.
The loading phase is designed to ensure that the body is saturated with creatine for faster realization of muscle transformation before commencing on a lower dose.
How Long Does Creatine Bloating Last?
The bloating tends to subside after a few days as the muscles lose extra water.
The creatine intake also tends to reduce during maintenance, which calls for a shorter period of taking only 5-10 grams daily.
This maintains your body’s creatine levels while reducing the effects of bloating.
Does Creatine Bloating Go Away?
Creatine bloating usually passes within a few days as your body adjusts to the new energy and water balance levels.
However, it is always important to take care when taking any supplement or medication and consult your doctor if you have any concerns.
With proper supplementation and hydration, creatine bloating can be minimized or avoided altogether.
How to Get Rid of Creatine Bloating?
The best way to eliminate creatine bloating is to stay hydrated and consume enough water throughout the day.
The recommended intake for an adult is 8-12 glasses per day. Keeping yourself hydrated helps flush out toxins and excess water from the cells, reducing bloating.
Additionally, you should avoid taking too much creatine in a single dose as that may result in more water retention than your body can handle, leading to bloating.
You should have a routine of performing proper exercises while supplementing with creatine to ensure maximum benefits without any side effects.
It is also essential to follow a good diet and include food sources rich in dietary fiber, such as fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and legumes.
This helps regulate your digestion and prevents further bloating from creatine supplementation.
The quality of the supplement also plays a role in avoiding creatine bloating. You should always purchase the best quality supplements from trusted brands that have been tested and certified.
Benefits of Creatine Supplementation to Your Health?
Creatine supplementation can improve physical performance and muscle growth, resulting in better body composition, strength, and endurance.
It also increases lean muscle mass, reduces fatigue and soreness, and enhances recovery after a workout.
Additionally, it may help people with certain neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s. This is because it aids in producing ATP necessary for healthy brain function.
Creatine also helps reduce cholesterol levels and has been suggested to help improve heart health.
Creatine is one of the most studied and safest supplements to take.
When taken correctly and with a balanced diet, users can experience the benefits with minimal risk of side effects.
That said, it is still essential to be aware of potential risks and any pre-existing conditions that may make taking the supplement unsafe.
Nothing beats a healthy diet and lifestyle for building muscle. However, creatine is an effective supplement to support those goals when taken correctly.
Consulting your doctor before starting a creatine regimen is always recommended.
With all these tips in mind, there’s no reason why taking creatine should be anything but beneficial for your health.
So, does creatine make you bloated? When taken in the right dosage and properly hydrated, creatine supplementation can provide many benefits without bloating.