Creatine and its impact on body weight – Fitness Volt

creatine is a popular sports nutrition supplement and a hit with bodybuilders. It is considered an ergogenic, performance-enhancing supplement. Creatine can be produced naturally in the liver and can be obtained from the diet.

Creatine can help with energy production during short, high-intensity exercise such as weightlifting or sprinting.

Studies show that creatine can improve muscle mass, strength and exercise performance. However, in addition to its many benefits, the supplement is criticized by many for its alleged side effects. In particular, there is no empirical evidence to support these claims. [1]

Before we explore if and how creatine is associated with body weight, let’s discuss the nature, composition and effects of creatine.

Understanding Creatine

Creatine is an organic compound found naturally in muscle cells. It is made up of amino acids arginine and glycine. Creatine is also found in natural food sources such as meat, fish and other poultry. Additionally, creatine supplements have gained popularity among bodybuilders and athletes who play physically intensive sports.

Creatine supplements are similar to amino acids in that they are made up of essential compounds that help build protein in the body. While 95 percent of the body’s creatine is stored in the muscles, five percent is in the brain.

Creatine in skeletal muscles is stored as creatine phosphate. This substance binds to the ADP (adenosine diphosphate) to convert to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which serves as energy fuel for the body and brain. [2]

Creatine composition

Creatine consists of three basic amino acids: arginine, glycine and methionine. If you are concerned about your calorie intake due to ingesting creatine, you should know that most creatine supplements on the market offer zero calories for ration

How does creatine work in your body?

Creatine helps maintain a continuous supply of energy to the muscles during exercise. It is also essential for the brain, heart and the functioning of other tissues. In particular, it is possible to have a low reserve of creatine in the muscles even though it is produced naturally in the body.

In case of creatine deficiency or for muscle building purposes, it can be consumed as a supplement. Therefore, if you are planning to take a creatine supplement, it is important to understand that the compound will bond with a phosphate molecule to form phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine provides your body with instant energy, boosting high-intensity performances. With proper creatine supplementation, you can expect an increase in ATP availability, providing your body with additional strength, energy and endurance.

remarkably, creatine does not show instant results. Creatine takes time to saturate the muscles. Creatine saturation occurs when the body has sufficient creatine stores and the dormant chemical compound begins to work its magic.

Can creatine make you fat?

Creatine makes you fat

There is much debate about whether creatine can increase body fat storage. Creatine has no calories of its own and will not make you fat unless you are in a calorie surplus. In a calorie surplus, you consume more calories than you expend in a day.

An athlete trying to build muscle mass and strength needs more calories. When the body goes through a rigorous workout, it will burn excess calories for fuel instead of storing them as fat.

Some studies indicate that creatine retains water within the muscles, causing them to swell. Lean and muscular people retain water in their muscles during the initial phase of creatine intake. Therefore, the weight gain associated with creatine supplementation may be due to water retention. [3]

If your body has anything from normal to higher levels of body fat, the water retention from creatine intake may not show up in your muscles. This is because the muscles are already covered in fat instead of water. So, if you want to build bigger, stronger, fuller muscles, creatine is worth a try!

Can Creatine Make You Gain Weight?

Creatine can help you gain muscle mass. However, you have to work hard in the gym. It’s certainly not as simple as drinking creatine and expecting the muscles to come out.

Creatine makes you gain weight

For creatine to work, you will have to work hard. Creatine is converted into ATP in the body, which is essential for generating energy. ATP is catalyzed quickly in muscles, helping them recover after intense bouts of training.

Increased energy can help improve your performance in the gym, which can lead to muscle gain.

For some, creatine consumption may initially accompany bloat, especially during the loading phase. However, swelling balances out as the body reaches creatine saturation.

[Related: Weight Gain Calculator]

Creatine loading and how it affects your body weight

In the creatine loading phase, athletes consume 20 to 25 grams of protein each day to achieve muscle saturation quickly. This phase is followed by the maintenance phase, which consists of consuming three to five grams of creatine every day.

The loading phase may cause water weight gain, but fluid retention may disappear as you increase lean muscle mass.

Creatine dosage

Creatine dosage
Creatine dosage

Whether or not conscious weight gain is sought, creatine intake should be limited to the recommended dosage. People who eat an omnivorous diet, which contains 1-2 grams of creatine derived from meat and fish, can achieve creatine saturation by consuming five grams of creatine four times a day for at least five to seven days.

You can maintain your creatine stores by ingesting three to five grams of creatine per day. However, athletes and weightlifters who want to increase strength and muscle should consume 5-10 grams of the compound per day. Check out our creatine dosage calculator to find out your daily creatine needs.

Studies reveal that creatine can help build lean muscle mass. Therefore, creatine can help you gain weight without increasing body fat. In addition, it can promote faster recovery from injuries [4]. Creatine is a proven supplement for muscle growth and works for most body types. Additionally, men and women can use a creatine supplement.

security

Creatine is considered safe, but that doesn’t mean all supplements available on the market are held to the same standards. [5]

Taking creatine for an extended period could have side effects, although they are not very prominent. Some of the more common side effects of creatine overdose include weight gain, shortness of breath, anxiety, fatigue, headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach, among other conditions. You should consider lowering your dose if you have these problems.

Creatine is not recommended for people suffering from diseases such as diabetes, kidney or liver diseases. In addition, people under the age of 18 and pregnant or lactating women are not recommended to supplement with creatine. Finally, if you are taking medication, it is best to consult a health professional before supplementing with creatine.

Things to do if you gain creatine supplements

Although the weight gain from taking creatine might be temporary, here’s what you can do to get relief fast:

  • Regulate your sodium intake: Excessive accumulation of sodium in the body can cause fluid retention. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and reducing your intake of fast and processed food can help keep your sodium intake low and reduce your chances of gaining water weight. [6]
  • Limit your carbohydrate intake: Carbs are certainly great for energy, but a high-carb diet can make you gain weight. Reducing your carbohydrate intake can be helpful, especially when fighting weight gain.
  • Get the best quality creatine: Also, stick to a daily dose to avoid side effects.
  • Train hard: Intense training sessions can reduce water retention. The more you exercise, the less water your body will retain and the more fluid will be eliminated as sweat.

Frequently asked questions

Is it safe to consume creatine?

Creatine consumption has no adverse health effects when taken in the recommended dosage. It is best to consult a medical professional if you have any underlying medical conditions before starting creatine supplementation.

How do I get started with creatine?

Although not always necessary, the loading phase is one of the most effective ways to start creatine supplementation. Keeping a dose of three to five grams for beginners and five to ten grams for high-level athletes can work well.

Creatine monohydrate is a supplement widely used by high performance athletes.

Can I lose the weight I gained with creatine supplementation?

Creatine will not make you lose or gain weight. If you are concerned about weight gain due to water retention, yes, you can lose that weight when you stop taking the creatine supplement.

Can women take creatine?

Yes, women can take creatine, especially if they plan to improve their exercise capacity, build lean muscle mass, strengthen muscles, and improve recovery speed.

Learn more about creatine:

bottom line

In short, there is no evidence to show that creatine is directly related to weight gain and obesity. On the other hand, this supplement is not a shortcut to building muscle.

Finally, people with health problems such as liver problems should consult a doctor before starting creatine supplementation.

References:

  1. Guingand, Deborah L. de, et al. “Risk of adverse outcomes in women taking oral creatine monohydrate: a systematic review and meta-analysis – PMC”. PubMed Central (PMC)June 15, 2020.
  2. Creatine: MedlinePlus Supplements. Creatine: Supplements MedlinePlus, accessed September 9, 2022.
  3. Creatine supplementation increases total body water without altering fluid distribution – PubMed. PubMedMarch 1, 2003.
  4. Cooper, Robert, et al. “Creatine supplementation with a specific view of exercise/sport performance: an update – PMC”. PubMed Central (PMC), 20 July 2012,
  5. Wax, Benjamin, et al. “Creatine for exercise and athletic performance, with recovery considerations for healthy populations – PMC”. PubMed Central (PMC)June 2, 2021.
  6. “Notification of Fatty Creatine Monohydrate” – https://www.fda.gov/media/143525/download
  7. Rakova, Natalia, et al. “Increased salt intake induces body water conservation and decreases fluid intake – PMC”. PubMed Central (PMC)April 17, 2017.

Leave a Reply