Does Creatine Make You Bloated?

Creatine Powder

If you’re a fan of creatine, then you might have wondered “Does creatine make you bloated?” And maybe you’ve experienced some bloating, and you’ve wondered if it’s the creatine that you’re taking.

With studies dating back five decades, the simple white powder has proven itself as a genuinely beneficial supplement, capable of elevating your athletic performance, promoting recovery, and even improving cognitive function.

But despite the countless benefits and excellent safety profile, many people wonder, “Does creatine make you bloated?”

So, let’s talk about it.

What is Creatine, Anyway?

Creatine is an organic compound produced inside your body and found in certain foods. The compound is also available as a supplement that provides a concentrated dose, allowing you to achieve peak saturation and reap performance-related benefits.

Supplementing with creatine is beneficial because it promotes energy production, allowing you to train harder, perform better, and possibly make more progress in the long run. Some research also finds that creatine supports recovery and promotes cognitive improvements, since it increases the amount of available energy for the brain.

Creatine

Does Creatine Make You Bloated?

Creatine doesn’t lead to bloating under normal circumstances. Taking the standard three to five grams daily won’t lead to noticeable bodyweight changes or a bloated look. (1)

The only people who can experience some bloating from creatine are those doing a loading phase. Loading creatine is beneficial for realizing the supplement’s benefits quicker. To achieve this, you must take 20 to 25 grams of creatine daily for five days. Once finished with the loading phase, you can move down to a maintenance dose of 3-5 grams per day. (2)

How Does Creatine Bloating Feel?

It’s necessary to specify what creatine bloating is, because many people misunderstand it.

Feeling bloated from creatine doesn’t mean you’re retaining more water subcutaneously (under the skin), looking watery, or having a puffy face. It refers to your gastrointestinal system and temporary bloating that might occur there.

In simple terms, people who do a loading phase are at risk of experiencing some bloating in the stomach. You’re at no risk of retaining water under your skin, simply because creatine doesn’t work that way. The substance draws water inside your muscles, making them appear fuller.

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How to Avoid Bloating From Creatine Supplementation

The best way to avoid feeling bloated from creatine is to skip the loading phase and stick with the standard 3-5 grams daily from the start. Doing so will bring the benefits of creatine more slowly––within three to four weeks.

If you’re adamant about doing the loading phase because you want to reap creatine’s benefits more quickly, consider spreading the daily dose into multiple smaller ones. For example, instead of taking 20 grams in one go, split that up into four or five equal doses, taken a few hours apart:

  • 7 AM – 4 grams
  • 10 AM – 4 grams
  • 1 PM – 4 grams
  • 5 PM – 4 grams
  • 9 PM – 4 grams

That way, you can saturate your muscles with creatine in less than a week, but you give your stomach enough time to process each dose, reducing the risk of becoming bloated or experiencing nausea.

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Philip Stefanov

Philip Stefanov

Philip is a fitness writer, blogger, certified personal trainer, and the founder of ThinkingLifter.com. He has spent the last seven years writing fitness content and training men and women in the gym, as well as online. His passion is fitness and exercise, and helping others improve their fitness and wellness.

References

  1. Bodybuildingcom. (2022, March 7). Creatine dosage calculator for men and women. Bodybuilding.com. https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/creatine_calculator.htm
  2. MS, M. M. (2018, December 12). Creatine loading phase: How to, results, benefits, and safety. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/creatine-loading-phase#:~:text=When%20starting%20to%20supplement%20with,over%20several%20days%20(%2020%20).

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