If you are into sports, you must have been following a strict diet plan to keep those hands and legs working at their best. But do you think a good diet is all you need to perform well in sports? Sometimes some dietary supplements are a must-have to gain extra strength.

In this guide, we have answered all the queries regarding the dietary supplement ‘creatine’. So many people have asked, ‘does creatine make you gain weight, or how much weight does creatine make you gain’. So, let’s check out what’s the deal with it.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is basically amino acids (proteins) that transmit energy to your cells and build muscle mass. Moreover, it is widely used by athletes as it transforms their bodies and increases athletic performance.

Those asking ‘does creatine make you gain weight at first’ should know that creatine increases your muscle size, making you gain weight. However, don’t mistake it for fat. It is part of the process to gain muscle strength.

Before you go for creatine, you better should read about the type of weight gain you will experience from the supplement also, ways to cut down that gain.

Does Creatine make you gain weight?

If someone you know takes creatine, you might have noticed them looking all-bloated or swollen right after starting the supplement. Creatine does make you gain weight, but it may not be due to fat. There could be some other possible reasons that cause the number on the scale to go up.

Following are the reasons why you might experience weight gain after taking creatine.

1. Fluid Retention

When you start taking creatine, it draws water into your water cells, and that’s why you feel bloated or swollen in the first few weeks of its intake. This type of weight gain is typically referred to as water weight.

After taking the supplement, your body muscles absorb water and retain it. As a result, you feel puffiness around your stomach, arms, and legs. Your body might appear bigger despite going to regular training sessions.

In fact, it has been observed that some people put on 2 to 4.5 pounds in their first few weeks of taking oral creatine.

2. Increase in Muscle Size

Another reason you feel yourself gaining weight could be your increased muscle size. Some researchers have proven that creatine is an effective supplement that increases your endurance and muscle mass and helps you gain strength. Therefore, you might notice a bit of a weight gain.

3. Fat Gain

While you may find yourself putting on some extra kilos after starting creatine, know that the supplement does not make you fat. There’s a whole lot of difference between putting on weight and gaining fat.

Creatine consumption requires the body to consume extra calories to build muscle mass. A single scoop of creatine (5 gm) doesn’t have many calories. So, if you are going with that and keeping a major part of your diet healthy, you will be less likely to gain fat.

How does Creatine work?

When you consume creatine, your body starts increasing phosphocreatine (PCr) storage in the muscle cells. The reserve works as a constant energy supplier during high-intensity workouts. More precisely, it helps you achieve more reps and recover faster between sets, eventually leading to muscle gain.

Your body needs to have a certain level of creatine in order to produce phosphocreatine in skeletal muscles. When creatine enters the bloodstream, it may absorb additional water into the cells and as a result, you gain water weight.

How to reduce weight gain due to Creatine?

Even though weight gain due to creatine is not permanent, you may try a few tips to reduce that water retention.

  • Increase your fluid intake: The easiest way you can get rid of that unwanted water weight is by increasing your fluid intake. Excessive fluid intake stimulates urination which expels excess water from your body.
  • Limit your sodium intake: Sodium consumption makes your body retain fluid. You can easily cut down on sodium by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet and limiting processed and fast foods. Keep track of your sodium intake, and don’t go more than 2,300 mg per day.
  • Increase your carbs intake: Although carbohydrates are necessary for taking instant energy, overdoing it can cause water retention in your body. So it is advised to keep your carbs intake between 225 to 325 mg per day.
  • Exercise: Be patient and continue with your regular workouts. Exercise reduces water retention. The more you stay consistent with your workouts, the less you will retain water.

Is Creatine safe to consume?

For the most part, there are no such adverse effects of creatine. However, there have been concerns regarding the probability of the supplement causing liver, heart, and kidney damage in overdosing.

That said, some studies have shown that creatine consumption for adults is safe for up to 5 years of the time period.

If you experience heart, liver, or kidney issues after consumption, consult a physician to see if creatine is safe.

Some minor side effects that you may possibly experience include dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and heat intolerance. Typically, it takes 4 to 5 weeks for your body to get used to creatine. However, if the side effects worsen, stop your creatine consumption.

People who have bipolar disorder should consult their doctor for creatine as it is believed to elevate mania in some people with this condition. Also, see a doctor if you are on medications to prevent possible drug interactions. 

How to add Creatine to your Diet?

Studies say that the best way to make the most of the creatine supplement is by starting with around 0.3gm/kg of body weight 4 times and continuing it for almost a week. This is also called the ‘loading phase’.

After that point, your muscle stores get filled, and you need to maintain that by decreasing your supplement intake to 3 to 5 gm per day or 5 to 10 for bigger athletes.

Consuming the supplement with a protein or carbohydrate source can help maintain creatine levels in the body. 

Beginners can add creatine monohydrate to their pre-workout meals (preferably a banana shake) just 30 minutes before hitting the gym.

Other Benefits of Creatine

Apart from building strength and increasing endurance, creatine can be taken for a host of other reasons as well.

It helps improve severe brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and epilepsy. However, more evidence is required to prove this as the previous studies had mainly been conducted on animals.

Take-Home Message

Indeed, creatine is a perfect supplement for boosting your endurance and muscle growth. Those asking ‘does creatine make you gain weight?’ mind that it may cause some unwanted weight gain initially due to water retention. However, the condition might stay for long for certain individuals, but it becomes less prominent with time. If you stay consistent with your workout and add an adequate amount of carbs and proteins to your diet, chances are you will lose that unwanted weight gain in a short span of time.

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