HEALTH

Does taking creatine lead to an increase in body mass?

Creatine is among the supplements that have been scientifically established to be helpful, and it is one of the most effective ways to improve your performance in the weight room and on the track. Creatine is acclaimed for its possible advantages to mental health in specific groups and for perhaps avoiding age-related muscle loss. Both of these potential benefits are attributed to creatine. It is also widely accepted that there are no known health risks associated with consuming it on a consistent basis.

So, does creatine make you gain weight? Creatine has a wonderful reputation; nevertheless, some people opt not to use it because they are concerned about the likelihood of it causing them to gain weight. Those who are trying to lose weight have every right to be concerned if they experience a sudden gain in weight; similarly, the situation of an athlete competing in a weight class that is restricted could improve with the loss of a few pounds. 

To be more specific, what is creatine?

When combined with creatine, the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine have the potential to generate creatine in the body (most notably in the kidneys and the liver). The bulk of the creatine reserves in the body are kept in the form of creatine phosphate in the skeletal muscles. These creatine reserves are required to maintain hard exercise by transferring their phosphate group to adenosine diphosphate (ADP), which subsequently refills adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Skeletal muscles store the majority of the body’s creatine reserves.

A picture containing flour, powder, food, indoor

Description automatically generated

To put it another way, creatine makes the production, management, and usage of energy reserves easier to accomplish. Even though it does not provide its own source of energy, it is helpful to the systems that keep one going throughout strenuous physical activity. 

Creatine can also be supplied from the food, but in much smaller quantities, either by eating meat or, more commonly, by taking nutritional supplements. Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid. Due to the fact that it is bioavailable and stays stable at room temperature for a longer period of time, creatine monohydrate looks to be the superior option for external supplementation, and it is typically the more cost-effective choice as well. Creatine is available in a variety of forms.

Does taking creatine lead to an increase in body mass? 

Every cell in your body, in addition to regulating the amount of electrolytes, proteins, and creatine – “creatine calories” it has, also precisely controls the amount of water it contains. Because of this, your body will be able to keep the correct concentrations of electrolytes, which are essential for the proper operation of your nervous system, and it will also prevent your cells from bursting or shrinking.

When creatine is ingested, it triggers the osmotically active chemical process of osmosis, which results in the cellular uptake of water. Because skeletal muscle cells are unable to manufacture creatine on their own, they must obtain it from the blood in order to function properly. To accomplish this, a sodium-dependent transporter is necessary. This transporter also helps with the absorption of salt and water. Creatine supplementation often results in a larger body weight in addition to improved performance because of the supplement’s ability to produce water retention. 

It’s possible that creatine loading will cause you to retain more water.

Creatine loading, which refers to the practice of eating greater doses of creatine on a regular basis in order to rapidly build up a sufficient reserve, has been shown in certain studies to result in weight gain ranging from one to six pounds due to an increase in total body water. A recent investigation into the performance of repeated sprints identified an association between the first weight gain from creatine supplementation and gains in power output. This finding suggests that persons who experience some weight gain also likely receive some benefits from using creatine. On the other hand, subsequent short-term and long-term experiments have not corroborated this conclusion, which may indicate that total body water content normalizes over time and is not a role in the advantages of continued supplementation. There is a possibility that your creatine supplement is beginning to function if there is a rise in the weight that you see on the scale; however, further examination is required. 

It’s Possible That Creatine Will Help You Gain Muscle.

Because it can help you complete a few more repetitions in the weight room under appropriate training and dietary conditions, using creatine supplements over the course of an extended period of time may also result in a minor increase in the amount of muscle that you gain. (5)(6) It is possible that using creatine tablets for an extended period of time will assist you in gaining muscle mass; however, you will most likely be unaware of this benefit. 

A picture containing muscle, chest, bodybuilding, person

Description automatically generated

The Most Effective Ways to Stop the Weight Gain Caused by Creatine 

The water retention that is generated by creatine is a defense mechanism that is designed to maintain the body’s internal balance (and may have contributed to some of the drug’s early benefits). Weight gain is neither intrinsically damaging nor advantageous. 

If you are trying to reduce weight, however, a sudden weight gain may throw you off track or interfere with your preparation for a competition if the sport you play has predetermined weight categories. 

A picture containing person, clothing, person, wrist

Description automatically generated

It is vital to keep in mind that the rapid weight gain that is commonly linked with creatine supplementation is frequently the consequence of water retention rather than the growth of either fat or muscle. In order to avoid this variable having an impact on the data relating to your weight, In the event that it makes adjusting macronutrient intake more difficult, one method would be to start taking supplements before making any alterations to one’s diet.

If you wish to participate in a certain division as a weight-class athlete, you should start creatine, especially a loading phase, at a time that is not too close to your weigh-ins. It’s possible that you could accidentally end up in a different category than you wanted to be in due to the temporary water retention and concomitant increase in scale weight. 

Creatine’s Side Effects

Contrary to popular misconception, creatine does not significantly raise the risk of either hair loss or damage to the kidneys, nor does it cause belly bloating. However, substantial quantities (more than 10 grams per serving), which are typically given during loading periods, have the potential to produce discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract. 

It is generally accepted that creatine is safe for children, adolescents, and adults to use in order to improve their athletic performance and various other elements of their general health.