does creatine help with weight loss

Does creatine help you lose weight?

Creatine is now a popular term amongst bodybuilders and weight-conscious individuals. One question that a number of them keep asking is “Does creatine help you lose weight?”.

An amino acid, creatine, gives your body energy and helps develop muscle mass. A lot of people take creatine to transform their bodies and to enhance their athletic capabilities.

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. 

So, if you happen to be a weight-conscious personality and have seen a lot of people talk about creatine then you may be wondering if it can help you lose weight.

Read on to know if creatine can help you lose weight and get to know other relevant aspects of creatine and what it can do. 

What is creatine 

It is an amino acid that gives energy to the cells and your body. It also helps to build muscle mass. Creatine is a combination of amino acids produced by the liver, kidney, and pancreas.

It is naturally found in muscle and 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.

Creatine, how does it 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.

Creatine phosphate enables you to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a neurotransmitter that is your body’s primary source of energy.

Can creatine make you lose weight?

Creatine does not make you lose weight. Its sole purpose is to build muscle mass and retain water. 

It gives your strength an extra boost giving you the ability to lift extra weights and engage in an intense workout. Creatine does not have any ability to burn fat whatsoever. 

When talking about weight loss, your primary goal may be to burn some fat. Well, creatine as a chemical substance in the body has no direct effects on the burning of fats. Hence you can say that creatine will not help you lose weight or burn fats.

However, there are a number of exercise regimen that is known to decrease the amounts of fat deposits at certain parts of the body. In order words, some form of exercise allows you to burn some fats.

Creatine, as an energy booster may therefore play an indirect role in helping you lose weight with regards to burning fats. This will only be possible for those people engaging in those kinds of physical activities that lead to the burning of fats.

You get more energy to exercise more when you take creatine and this leads to the burning of more fats. Once you are able to engage in these sorts of exercises for a long, you are sure to lose some weight from the burning of fats.

If you, however, take the creatine and do not engage in any fat-burning physical activity, then you will end up gaining the opposite of what you are looking for. It is worth noting that the increase in weight following the intake of creatine has to do with the increase in muscle mass and not fat deposits in the body.

Can creatine make me gain weight instead?

Yes, creatine can make you gain weight. The good news is that 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

Water weight

Water weight is a type of weight gain that happens when you take creatine. Creatine can cause water rapid 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. 

Muscle mass

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 fat?

Taking creatine will not lead you to become fat. Creatine makes you gain weight from water retention (water weight) and increase muscle mass. Another reason why you will not become fat when you take creatine is that it contains very few to no calories. 

What to do if you gain weight after taking creatine? 

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. 

Is it safe to take or use creatine?

There are no reported serious side effects from taking creatine. Creatine is one of the safest 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 [source].

Why should one 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 does not necessarily help you lose weight. Hence, if you are seeking to lose weight by using creatine, then you should consider using another method.

The sole use or purpose is to gain weight either through water retention or an increase in muscle mass. Creatine does not make you fat too because it is very low in calories.

WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:

Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for enochkabange.com and a writer for Wapomu

Author at Wapomu.com

Dr. Abel Daartey is a pharmacist by profession, a teacher, and a mentor by nature. He enjoys reading scientific journals and articles and publications in neuroscience and related topics. He aims at churning out content that educates the public and health care providers in meeting the healthcare needs of the populace.

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