There is no doubt that creatine is one of the best supplements you can take for better athletic performance, faster recovery, and lean muscle mass building. It makes your workout sessions seamless, thereby helping you achieve your physique goals.
However, what if the same creatine supplement which you take for an easier workout session, instead gives you just the opposite of what you are looking for? We aren’t talking about dehydration or counter fatigue, but about bloating.
Yeah, sometimes, creatine powder does cause bloating along with other stomach discomforts. And it is no secret that a bloated stomach is perhaps the last thing you want during a workout!
But does creatine always cause bloating? No, not at all! There are some ways to get rid of gas due to creatine, or to avoid it in the first place.
Through this article, we will guide you on everything that you need to learn about creatine-induced bloating. So, read along, understand why you get bloated after taking creatine, and learn how to keep your stomach comfortable!
Does Creatine Make You Bloated?
Yes is the simple answer, although there are a number of factors at play here.
Creatine causes bloating in some; and is often a common side effect of the supplement, along with other conditions like headache and nausea. But keeping aside these common side effects, creatine is proven to be totally safe according to some recent studies.
Furthermore, not everyone using creatine may necessarily have gas issues. Most of the time, especially when you drink enough water, you can find relief from a gassy stomach.
What is Creatine Bloating?
Well, to answer this, you need to have a basic understanding of how creatine works. The supplement triggers increased ATP production in cells.
ATP is what provides energy to cells and as a result, your muscle cells will become more energetic and that is how you get the pump.
As a result, the creatine supplement also increases your body’s metabolism rate (which is actually a good thing). And, the faster the metabolism is, the more water will be absorbed by the cells.
In addition to this factor, creatine, which commonly has a chemical name of creatine monohydrate, is hydrophilic in nature. That means that creatine monohydrate molecules will themselves draw water. This water absorption will result in the largening or swelling of muscle cells.
When these factors combine, two things happen.
One, your stomach may not get enough water.
Two, your intestinal muscles also get swollen.
These two factors combine together to cause creatine bloating.
Creatine bloating in the initial phase when you start taking it, or if it comes only randomly, is not bad. But, if you suffer from a gassy stomach too often, you might have to take care of a few things which we will discuss later in this article.
Does Creatine Bloating Go Away?
Yes, in the majority of cases, creatine bloating will go away over time.
As stated earlier, a swollen stomach has a great role in causing bloating… As your muscle cells lose that extra water content, everything comes back to normal and as a result, you will find relief from gas trouble.
Also, if you are just starting with creatine powder, it is quite normal to have bloating in the initial days. Within a few days or a couple of weeks, your body will adjust to the supplement, and bloating will eventually go away.
And, only in very rare cases, some may face regular creatine bloating. If you too are suffering from regular creatine bloating or gas, you either have to reduce your intake or even better, consult a physician.
How Long Does Creatine Bloating Last?
Well, that depends on certain factors like how much creatine you take daily, whether or not you drink enough water, your workout intensity, diet, etc.
In most cases, if you have bloating, drink as much water as possible, and your bloating may go away within a few hours.
If you are just starting taking creatine and going through the loading phase and having bloating, wait till you complete the loading phase.
Most users say they have a bloated stomach in their creatine loading phase. But it will last only through the loading phase.
Also, there are a number of ways to get rid of creatine bloating faster.
How to Get Rid Of Creatine Bloating?
Learning how to get rid of bloating will be even easier, if you understand how creatine bloating happens in the first place. As we have made clear above, it is all about excess water absorption by your muscle cells and creatine molecules.
So, the very first thing to do when you have creatine bloating is to drink lots of water. Sometimes, you might have forgotten about drinking those extra glasses of water that you need to drink while taking creatine.
By drinking more water, there are chances that excess water absorbed in your muscle cells may go out of the system as urine because of course, the more water you drink, the more urine you will pass.
But what if you still can’t find relief even after drinking lots of water? Well, then we suggest you consult an expert or a physician. There are pills that give you relief from bloating.
Those were some of the ways to get rid of gas due to creatine. But here as well, prevention is better than cure; and there are a number of ways to avoid creatine bloating in the first place!
How to Avoid Creatine Bloating?
While it is quite common to have creatine bloating, especially in the initial days, there are a number of things that you can do to avoid it.
Skip the Loading Phase, if Needed
The creatine loading phase is when you take the supplement in higher doses than normal, to fill the creatine void within your cells. The loading phase is a great way to get faster results.
But at the same time, it also increases your chances of being creatine bloated. So, if you are in the loading phase and it is getting too much for your stomach, maybe it’s time to reconsider things.
We aren’t saying that you should skip the loading phase altogether, but try taking lower doses. Although a less intense loading phase may not be able to give faster results, it does keep your stomach safer.
Drink a Lot of Water
This is perhaps the best thing you can do to avoid creatine bloating. The supplement draws more water toward your muscle cells and this eventually leads to some side effects, one of which is bloating.
So, drink more water when taking creatine. For every 1 gram of creatine that you take, drink 100 ml more water than usual. That is, if you take 5 grams of creatine a day, just adding half a liter to your water intake may be just sufficient.
However, if you are in an aggressive loading phase and are taking 20 gram per day, you may have to drink an extra 2 liters of water!
Follow a good diet
It is a well-known fact that certain food items cause bloating. Avoid processed food and sugar, and lower your carbohydrate intake. Also, control your sodium or salt intake!
Sometimes, bad food can combine with creatine to make your bloated stomach even worse. So, stick with a good diet.
But that being said, we know that if you are serious enough to take creatine powder, you would already be eating clean!
Go for high quality creatine
This is very crucial; you can find cheaper creatine powders around, but they often come with poor quality and can worsen certain side effects like bloating.
Never sacrifice quality for the price; spending those extra few bucks will definitely prove to be helpful in the long run!
Also, nowadays, newer versions of creatine, like creatine HCL and buffer creatine are available on market. These versions claim to be extra effective, but there are no reliable studies that prove so.
We recommend you stick with creatine monohydrate, which is not only safe but also highly effective.
In addition to these measures, you can do even more to avoid or bring down the chances of creatine bloating. For instance, never forget to exercise once you have taken creatine.
The Bottom Line
The key takeaway here is that bloating is a common side effect of creatine. That means, you don’t have to worry about slight bloating discomforts. It may last for a few days and will most likely go away as your body adapts to creatine.
There are also a number of ways to avoid creatine bloating and to get rid of it; you can just try them out.
However, if you can’t find relief after all these measures, go consult an expert and understand why it happens and what you need to change!