If you have ever asked around for agents that can make one fat, you are likely to have heard about creatine especially if you asked athletes. But can creatine really make you fat?
Creatine is an amino acid derivative that gives energy to your body and helps develop muscle mass. Because of this, there are people who take creatine to transform their bodies and enhance their athletic performance.
Creatine is a very popular sports nutrition supplement. It is normally used by people who work out in the gym. Creatine increases muscle size and helps you gain weight. Because of this, it makes people wonder if they will become fat when they take or decide to take creatine.
In this article, you will get to know if creatine can make you fat, whether it’s safe to take, and other relevant information about creatine.
What is creatine?
Creatine as mentioned earlier is an amino acid derivative that provides energy to your cells and helps build muscle mass. It is a combination of amino acids produced by the liver, kidney, and pancreas.
It is naturally found in muscle and in red meat and fish. Creatine can also cause unwanted weight gain, which some people can easily mistake being fat. It is very important to know the type of weight gain you may experience after you take creatine and if there is anything you can do to reverse it or not.
How does creatine work?
Creatine helps your muscles use energy. It is naturally produced by the liver, kidneys, and pancreas, but you can also get creatine from seafood and red meat.
If you take oral creatine, it binds with a phosphate molecule to form creatine phosphate (phosphocreatine), which provides your body with rapid energy for high-intensity performances. This is the reason it is commonly used by people who go to the gym.
Creatine phosphate helps you produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a neurotransmitter that is your body’s primary source of energy.
Can creatine make me gain weight?
Creatine can make you gain weight. However, the weight you will gain is not from fat. There are other reasons as to why you can gain weight when you take in creatine. Below are some of the reasons why creatine makes you gain weight but not fat.
Water weight is a type of weight gain that happens when you take creatine. Creatine can enhance water weight due to the ability of the supplement to draw out water into the cells of your muscles. This is also known as water retention.
Your muscles will then hold onto this water, resulting in your arms, legs, and stomach bloating or being puffy. Your muscles appearing to look bigger when you have just begun training or lifting weights is a result of creatine.
Taking oral creatine can make you gain about 2 to 5 pounds of weight because of water retention during your first week.
Creatine is a very effective supplement when it comes to increasing your endurance and strength. When you take creatine, you will notice an increase in your muscle strength and size over time. Increased muscle mass will also tip the scale upward. As your muscles become bigger, water weight becomes less noticeable, and you’ll appear less swollen.
Can creatine make me become fat?
Taking creatine will not lead you to become fat. When you talk about becoming fat, you have to understand that it doesn’t necessarily mean gaining weight. Even though you may put on some weight when you become fat, the bulk of the human weight is from either water or muscle mass.
To say that someone has become fat means the person has developed additional fat tissues known as adipose tissues. Technically, creatine doesn’t make you fat because it doesn’t contribute to the number of adipose tissues your body has.
Another reason why you will not become fat when you take creatine is that it contains very few to no calories.
So, if your end goal for taking creatine is to become fat in the sense of increasing weight and not necessarily adding on more fat tissues then you can, because creatine helps you build up more water and muscle mass.
However, if you want to become fat in the true sense of the word then creatine cannot help you much.
What to do if you gain weight after taking creatine? (If you want to lose weight)
Here are some of the things you need to do after gaining weight through creatine
- Increase your water intake. Drinking water helps stimulate urination which is good for removing excess water from the body.
- Reduce the amount of sodium you take. Too much sodium causes your body to retain fluid. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and consuming less processed and fast foods will help reduce your sodium intake.
- Reducing your carbohydrate intake is also another thing you need to do. Your body needs carbs for energy but they can also cause your body to retain water. Limit your carbohydrate intake to between 225 and 325 grams per day.
- Being patient can also help.
- Exercising can reduce water retention in your body. The more you exercise and train your body, the less water you will retain.
If you are interested in losing weight generally and want to know about natural and safe means to achieve that then check out this post “Natural ways to lose weight without taking medicines“.
Is creatine safe?
There are no reported serious side effects from taking creatine. Creatine is one of the safest and best-studied weight gain supplements. Creatine has even been shown to be safe for long-term use in adults for up to 5 years.
There are however concerns over the chances of causing liver, kidney, and heart damage in high doses. If you have liver, kidney, or heart problems, consult your doctor to see if creatine is right for you.
Some minor side effects of creatine include muscle cramps, nausea, diarrhea, heat intolerance, and dizziness. Stop taking oral creatine if adverse side effects worsen or don’t improve. For bipolar people, it is best to consult your doctor before you take or start to take creatine. It is believed that creatine may increase mania in people with this condition.
Why should I take creatine?
Many people take creatine to build strength, increase endurance, enhance their athletic performance, and build lean muscle mass. But it can be taken for other reasons, too.
Oral creatine may help improve brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy. More studies are needed, as most research has been on animal models.
Also, it can help improve some muscular disorders. In a 2013 review of studies, researchers found that people living with muscular dystrophy had increased muscle strength after taking creatine supplements.
In 2012, a study suggested that may improve symptoms of major depression in women, too. Fifty-two women received 5 grams of creatine a day over 8 weeks.
Researchers found that the women who received creatine had improvements in their symptoms in as little as two weeks, with symptoms continuing to improve eight weeks later (source).
How to get started on creatine supplementation
According to studies, the most effective way to increase muscle creatine stores with supplementation is to start with about 0.3g/kg of bodyweight 4x daily for about a week, known as the loading phase (although this is not a requirement).
After that point, in most individuals, the muscle stores are filled and you can typically maintain it by reducing supplementation to 3-5g daily or 5-10g for larger athletes (source).
The takeaway from this article
Creatine is one of the safest weight supplements you can take and you do not have to worry about becoming fat when taking creatine. Creatine will not necessarily make you fat but it can help you put on weight.