Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight?

In relation to evidence-based supplements, creatine tops the charts as one of the efficient methods to enhance your efficiency each within the gymnasium and on the observe. Not solely is it thought of protected for nearly anybody to tackle a constant foundation, creatine can be touted for its potential benefits to brain health in sure populations, and even presumably lowering age-related muscle loss.

Regardless of its nice observe document, some folks keep away from utilizing creatine as a result of they’re frightened concerning the potential for undesirable weight achieve. Only a fraction of a pound might change the circumstances for a weight-class-bound athlete, and people pursuing weight loss could be understandably flustered by a sudden uptick on the size. 

A scoop of creatine with weights in the background.
Credit score: RHJPhtotos / Shutterstock

So, it begs the query — are the performance-related gains well worth the weight achieve, and is there something you are able to do about it?

Editor’s Observe: The content material on BarBend is supposed to be informative in nature, nevertheless it shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. When beginning a brand new coaching routine and/or weight-reduction plan, it’s at all times a good suggestion to seek the advice of with a trusted medical skilled. We aren’t a medical useful resource. The opinions and articles on this website should not supposed to be used as analysis, prevention, and/or therapy of well being issues. They aren’t substitutes for consulting a professional medical skilled.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is an natural compound that may be shaped within the physique (largely within the kidneys and liver) with reactions involving the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine. Most of the physique’s creatine stockpile is saved in skeletal muscle as creatine phosphate, the place it powers intense train by donating its phosphate group to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to replenish adenosine triphosphate (ATP). (1)

In easy phrases, creatine helps you produce, regulate, and apply your vitality shops extra effectively. It isn’t an energy source itself, nevertheless it augments the processes that power high-intensity training

Sources of Creatine

Creatine may also be obtained from the weight-reduction plan (in small quantities) by way of meat consumption or, extra generally, supplementation. Although it’s bought in several varieties, creatine monohydrate seems to be the superior (and normally less expensive) alternative for exterior supplementation attributable to its bioavailability and long-term stability at room temperature. (1

Does Creatine Make You Achieve Weight? 

Each cell in your physique fastidiously regulates its steadiness of water amongst different substances like electrolytes, proteins, and creatine. This ensures that the cells don’t burst or shrivel, and that your physique maintains acceptable electrolyte concentrations to enable your nervous system to perform correctly.

 

A runner drinking from a sports bottle.
Credit score: Pablo Calvog / Shutterstock

Creatine is an osmotically-active substance, which suggests it causes water to enter cells when it’s absorbed. Skeletal muscle cells can’t make their very own creatine, in order that they have to soak up it from the blood by way of a sodium-dependent transporter, which ends up in each sodium and water uptake. (1) The consequential water retention from creatine supplementation each bolsters your efficiency and sometimes results in the next quantity on the size. 

Creatine Loading May Trigger Water Retention

Some research have proven that creatine loading (that’s, taking extra-high doses of creatine past the usual day by day five-gram prescription in an try and shortly accumulate a ample reserve) may cause weight gain (of wherever from one to 6 kilos) by elevating whole physique water content material. (1)(2)(3)

In a latest research on repeated sprint performance, the preliminary weight achieve from creatine supplementation correlated with enhancements in energy output, which could point out that people who discover some weight achieve are additionally more likely to discover some advantages. (4

Nevertheless, different quick and long-term research haven’t backed this discovering up, which might imply that whole physique water content material normalizes over time and will not play a task in the advantages of continued supplementation. (1) As standard, extra analysis is required, however an uptick in scale weight might imply that your creatine complement is beginning to take impact. 

Creatine Might Assist You Achieve Muscle Mass

Since creatine supplementation may help you pump out a number of extra reps within the gymnasium, long-term supplementation might additionally result in barely more muscle gain over time, given the best coaching and diet situations. (5)(6) You’re not more likely to discover this within the quick time period, however in case you complement creatine for an extended time period, it may possibly contribute to weight achieve from muscle

How you can Stop Creatine Weight Achieve 

Weight achieve isn’t inherently detrimental or constructive, and creatine-associated water retention is a protecting mechanism meant to maintain homeostasis (and may even play some function in creatine’s preliminary advantages). 

That mentioned, a startling bounce on the size might trigger some confusion in case you’re pursuing fat loss or impression your preparation for competitors in case you compete in a sport that has outlined weight classes. (1)

A scoop of supplement powder, a few eggs, bananas and weights.
Credit score: Nickola_Che / Shutterstock

It’s essential to notice that the speedy weight achieve related to creatine supplementation — if it occurs in any respect — is attributable to water retention and never fats or muscle achieve, essentially. (1) If it makes macronutrient adjustments more difficult, nevertheless, one possibility could be to begin supplementation earlier than making any dietary modifications with a view to forestall this issue from affecting your weight-related information.

In case you’re a weight-class athlete planning to compete in a particular division, you may need to keep away from beginning creatine (notably, a loading part) near your weigh-ins. The non permanent water retention and subsequent enhance in scale weight may by accident bump you out of your required class. 

Are There Different Facet Results of Creatine?

Opposite to well-liked perception, creatine doesn’t trigger notable stomach bloating, hair loss, or kidney harm, although massive doses (higher than 10 grams per serving) usually utilized in loading phases might trigger gastrointestinal misery. 

Creatine is taken into account protected and useful for youngsters, adolescents, adults, and older folks for each sport efficiency and plenty of different features of normal well being. (1)(3)

What Are the Advantages of Creatine? 

Creatine offers a formidable variety of sport-and health-related advantages! Although it’s generally promoted as a supplement for weight lifters, its capacity to replenish ATP makes it a precious inclusion in your routine even in case you don’t hit the iron regularly. 

Creatine Powers Intense Train

Analysis exhibits that creatine can improve power, enhance your tolerance of failure-adjacent resistance training, and increase repeated dash efficiency, which all translate to more exercise volume within the gymnasium. Over time, coaching tougher and longer ought to end in higher efficiency markers and extra muscle mass. (1)(2)(4)(5)(6)

Creatine Helps Muscle Development and Restoration

Creatine supports muscle growth and reduces muscle protein breakdown by modifying protein synthesis, irritation, and oxidative stress, which may gain advantage athletes in addition to people targeted on stopping age-related muscle loss. (1)(4)(5)(6)(7

A bodybuilder holding a container of supplement powder.
Credit score: Goami / Shutterstock

It’s additionally thought to facilitate glucose uptake, offering muscle cells with one other source of energy throughout train, or enhancing glycogen storage post-workout so you’re feeling restored and able to put within the work at your subsequent coaching session. (1

Creatine Might Help Mind Well being in Sure Populations

A rising physique of proof means that the advantages of creatine supplementation aren’t restricted to skeletal muscle or sports activities efficiency; creatine might really profit your mind in some instances, too.

Mind cells require creatine to perform correctly, particularly throughout instances of excessive vitality demand (suppose complicated process efficiency or whereas recovering from an injury). Creatine helps to regulate oxidative stress in each muscle and mind cells by sustaining purposeful mitochondria. (8)

Creatine supplementation might protect some neuronal perform, consideration, working reminiscence, and cognitive function in people who find themselves affected by sleep deprivation (although it received’t fully protect sport-related efficiency in case you haven’t been catching your zzz’s.) (8

Some modern, albeit restricted in scope, analysis means that creatine may additionally assist restoration after a traumatic mind harm, like a concussion, although this has primarily been studied in adolescents. (9)(10

Creatine has additionally been proven to improve the consequences of prescription drugs for major depressive disorder and bipolar dysfunction, however extra analysis is required to find out the efficient dosing protocol. (11)(12) At minimal, it’s an encouraging little bit of science to regulate.

The Case for Creatine

Given the quite a few well being and efficiency advantages, creatine supplementation is a brilliant alternative no matter its potential to trigger somewhat little bit of water retention. Whereas it’d trigger you to achieve a number of kilos of “water weight,” physique water ranges are tightly regulated, and needn’t concern you in case you begin scooping. Creatine’s capacity to extend the water content material in your muscle cells may even predict how properly you’ll reply to supplementation. 

Nevertheless, in case you track your body weight carefully for a powerlifting or weightlifting meet (or some other weight-bound sport), you may need to issue on this “facet impact” of creatine earlier than taking the plunge. That doesn’t imply it’s best to skip out on creatine totally, although — a number of kilos on the size are greater than well worth the miles on the track or extra reps below the bar.

References

  1. Antonio, J., Candow, D. G., Forbes, S. C., Gualano, B., Jagim, A. R., Kreider, R. B., Rawson, E. S., Smith-Ryan, A. E., VanDusseldorp, T. A., Willoughby, D. S., & Ziegenfuss, T. N. (2021). Widespread questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific proof actually present? Journal of the Worldwide Society of Sports activities Diet, 18(1), 1–17. 
  2. Moore, S. R., Gordon, A. N., Cabre, H. E., Hackney, A. C., & Smith-Ryan, A. E. (2023). A Randomized Managed Trial of Adjustments in Fluid Distribution throughout Menstrual Phases with Creatine Supplementation. Vitamins, 15(2), 429. 
  3. Deminice, R., Rosa, F. T., Pfrimer, Okay., Ferrioli, E., Jordao, A. A., & Freitas, E. (2016). Creatine Supplementation Will increase Complete Physique Water in Soccer Gamers: a Deuterium Oxide Dilution Research. Worldwide journal of sports activities drugs, 37(2), 149–153. 
  4. Bogdanis, G. C., Nevill, M. E., Aphamis, G., Stavrinou, P. S., Jenkins, D. G., Giannaki, C. D., Lakomy, H. Okay. A., & Williams, C. (2022). Results of Oral Creatine Supplementation on Energy Output throughout Repeated Treadmill Sprinting. Vitamins, 14(6), 1–14. 
  5. Mills, S., Candow, D. G., Forbes, S. C., Neary, J. P., Ormsbee, M. J., & Antonio, J. (2020). Results of creatine supplementation throughout resistance coaching classes in bodily lively younger adults. Vitamins, 12(6), 1–11. 
  6. Feuerbacher, J. F., von Schöning, V., Melcher, J., Notbohm, H. L., Freitag, N., & Schumann, M. (2021). Quick-Time period Creatine Loading Improves Complete Work and Repetitions to Failure however Not Load-Velocity Traits in Energy-Skilled Males. Vitamins, 13(3), 826. 
  7. Doma, Okay., Ramachandran, A. Okay., Boullosa, D., & Connor, J. (2022). The Paradoxical Impact of Creatine Monohydrate on Muscle Injury Markers: A Systematic Evaluate and Meta-Evaluation. Sports activities Medication, 52(7), 1623–1645. 
  8. McMorris, T., Harris, R. C., Howard, A. N., Langridge, G., Corridor, B., Corbett, J., Dicks, M., & Hodgson, C. (2007). Creatine supplementation, sleep deprivation, cortisol, melatonin and conduct. Physiology and Habits, 90(1), 21–28. 
  9. Sakellaris, G., Nasis, G., Kotsiou, M., Tamiolaki, M., Charissis, G., & Evangeliou, A. (2008). Prevention of traumatic headache, dizziness and fatigue with creatine administration. A pilot research. Acta Paediatrica, Worldwide Journal of Paediatrics, 97(1), 31–34. 
  10. Sakellaris, G., Kotsiou, M., Tamiolaki, M., Kalostos, G., Tsapaki, E., Spanaki, M., Spilioti, M., Charissis, G., & Evangeliou, A. (2006). Prevention of problems associated to traumatic mind harm in kids and adolescents with creatine administration: An open label randomized pilot research. Journal of Trauma – Damage, An infection and Crucial Care, 61(2), 322–329. 
  11. Toniolo, R. A., Silva, M., Fernandes, F. de B. F., Amaral, J. A. de M. S., Dias, R. da S., & Lafer, B. (2018). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept trial of creatine monohydrate as adjunctive therapy for bipolar melancholy. Journal of Neural Transmission, 125(2), 247–257. 
  12. Yoon, S., Kim, J. E., Hwang, J., Kim, T. S., Kang, H. J., Namgung, E., Ban, S., Oh, S., Yang, J., Renshaw, P. F., & Lyoo, I. Okay. (2016). Results of Creatine Monohydrate Augmentation on Mind Metabolic and Community Consequence Measures in Ladies With Main Depressive Dysfunction. Organic Psychiatry, 80(6), 439–447. 

Featured Picture: RHJPhtotos / Shutterstock

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