Picture this: After an intense workout, you’re in the locker room, peeling off your drenched gear, and it hits you—an unusual smell! Initially, you dismiss it as a one-off, an odd quirk after an especially grueling routine. Yet, the musky scent persists, seemingly more potent on days following your creatine-loaded smoothie.
Could the culprit be your key to muscular strength? Is there any link between creatine and body odor?
Instead of throwing your powders in the bin and fretting, read the article and find the truth. Most importantly, learn how to deal with the whiff of dead!
The Science Behind Body Odor
Before you and I dig deeper into the link between creatine and body odor, let’s first check why your body stinks.
Body odor results from the interaction between bacteria and sweat on the skin. Sweat itself is odorless. But it contains substances—primarily proteins and fatty acids— that bacteria can break into volatile compounds.
Thus it produces byproducts that give off a distinct smell.
The type and amount of bacteria on the skin and the composition and quantity of sweat can affect the intensity and quality of body odor. Factors influencing body odor include genetics, diet, health conditions, hygiene, hormones, and environmental factors.
Creatine And Body Odor: Are They Connected?
No conclusive evidence supports the claim creatine directly cause body odor. Instead, creatine is considered a safe aid to enhance energy and muscle strength. However, some people report changes in body odor after starting creatine supplementation.
Without direct scientific evidence, we can only hypothesize why creatine may lead to body odor.
Creatine supplementation may increase the levels of creatinine in your body. It is a waste product of creatine metabolism excreted by the kidneys.
When you take too much creatine, the creatinine level may increase, hindering proper kidney function. Thus toxins ( such as urea that can cause an ammonia smell) can build up in the blood and create odor.
Besides, these toxins may excrete through your sweat. It can lead to body odor too.
Another reason that may cause body odor after creatine supplementation can be dehydration. Creatine supplement increases water retention. So, if you don’t drink enough water while on creatine, it can lead to dehydration.
And when your body lacks enough water, it can concentrate on the bacteria that produce body odor. It can lead to bad breath, smelly urine, and often body odor.
However, no evidence indicates that creatine causes body odor until today. More research is still needed on the connection between creatine and body odor.
Does Creatine Make You Sweat?
Creatine can cause water retention and increased metabolism, which may result in sweating. However, this is normal and nothing to worry about.
Creatine can increase the metabolic rate of fat tissue by stimulating mitochondrial ATP turnover. It also plays a role in amino acid and nitrogen metabolism. A higher metabolism leads to increased calorie burning, more sweating, and breathing during activity.
Plus, you work out more with extra strength and energy from creatine. More exercise means losing more water weight due to creatine water retention. As a result, you sweat.
Mow Much Creatine Should You Take?
The optimal dosage of creatine may vary depending on the individual’s goals, body weight, and health status.
Most experts recommend a loading phase of 20 grams of creatine per day for 5 to 7 days, followed by a maintenance phase of 3 to 5 grams per day. This protocol is intended to saturate the muscles with creatine, which may increase its effects.
However, you may take a lower 3 to 5 grams dose daily without a loading phase. But it may take longer to achieve the same results.
Tackling Body Odor While Using Creatine: Tricks And Tips
Should you let concerns about potential odor changes keep you from enjoying the benefits of creatine supplementation? Well, I don’t think so. However, as everyone reacts differently, learning to manage body odor while taking creatine is a smart move.
Good Hygiene is Good Health
First and foremost, maintaining good personal hygiene is crucial.
You are taking creatine for greater energy and more exercise. So obviously, you will sweat. But regular bathing (after exercise is a must) can help control the bacteria on your skin that contribute to body odor.
Use a mild antibacterial soap and focus on areas prone to sweat, such as the underarms, groin, and feet.
Wash your gym clothes regularly helps minimize lingering odors. Choose moisture-wicking fabrics that help keep sweat away from your skin.
Hydration Is Helpful
Staying hydrated is crucial with creatine. So, drink plenty of water. It can help dilute sweat, potentially making it less appealing to odor-producing bacteria.
Sufficient water will also help flush out excess creatinine and other waste products that may lead to body odor.
Natural Deodorants Are The Savers
The easiest way to deal with body odor is deodorants – anytime, anywhere.
But if your regular antiperspirant isn’t doing the trick, don’t worry! Give natural deodorant a try. These deodorants are made from plant-based ingredients that help fight off bacteria and keep you smelling fresh all day.
A Good Diet Is The Key
Yes, certain food can lead to body odor. For example, avoiding spicy food, garlic, onion, etc., may reduce body weight if you have any after creatine.
Instead, adding fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet can promote overall health and improve body odor.
Also, avoid smoking and alcohol, as they may worsen your odor.
Consultation Is Foremost
Consulting a healthcare professional or a dietitian is the first step you should take before starting any supplements. They will assess your health and determine a dose suitable for you and your goal.
A professional consultation is essential if you have any health issues or allergies or taking any medication. Thus you can avoid unwanted side effects like body odor.
What Are The Major Side Effects Of Creatine?
Creatine is generally safe and well-tolerated if taken appropriately. But it may cause some side effects, including-
However, stop taking creatine and seek medical attention if you notice the following.
- Difficult Breathing
- Swelling Of Your Face, Lips, Tongue, Or Throat
- Pounding Heartbeats
- Fast Heart Rate
- Increased Thirst
- Difficulty Urinate
- Increased Urination
- Fainting, Or Seizure.
What Supplements Affect Body Odor?
There’s no definitive list of supplements that can affect body odor. But some anecdotal reports and limited studies suggest a few supplements may have a connection with body odor.
- Some B vitamins, such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), and pyridoxine (B6), may cause a strong or unpleasant body odor when taken in high doses. They are excreted through the urine and sweat and may react with bacteria on the skin.
- Choline is converted to trimethylamine (TMA) in the gut, which is then released through the breath, urine, and sweat, resulting in severe body odor.
- Fenugreek contains a compound sotolone that excretes through sweat, leading to a sweet, maple-like body odor.
- Zinc deficiency can lead to a fishy or metallic body odor.
To conclude, no proper evidence suggests that creatine can cause body odor. However, as people react differently, some may experience this unwanted scenario. However, several factors can cause it – improper dosage, dehydration, poor hygiene, imbalanced diet, etc.
So measure your steps, talk to your doctor, and take creatine in the safest possible way to achieve your goal.
Read our blogs for more information on creatine.
I am a health and wellness enthusiast working in a Pittsburgh-based wellness clinic. My primary role as a consultant is to tailor a balanced lifestyle for my patients, where positive steps and potent supplements play a synergistic role.