The Science Behind Creatine Nausea: 7 Factors That Make You Sick

Are you sick of feeling “sick” during your workout session? Can supplements like creatine be the culprit? – well, if you’re new to creatine, it can be the first idea to pop into your brain.

But can you have creatine nausea?

According to several studies, taking creatine is safe and rarely causes nausea or severe side effects. However, several factors, like improper dosage, incorrect mixing of creatine with other foods, lower water intake, certain medication, etc., may initiate nausea after taking creatine supplements.

Keep reading to understand what may cause your sickness after taking creatine and how to get rid of it.

Creatine Nausea: 7 Factors That Can Make You Sick

Creatine is a safe performance booster that rarely causes nausea. Supplementing creatine increases water retention in the muscles, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. They can result in gastrointestinal discomfortdiarrhea, stomach upset, belching, and sometimes nausea.

Also, stomach acidity from intaking creatine can make you sick. But I must say, nausea is way rare than other gastrointestinal issues.

Now, what can trigger the nauseatic feelings? Well, 7 possible reasons are there to consider while dealing with creatine nausea.

Improper Dosage

Taking too much creatine can make you feel sick. Studies suggest the recommended dose of 3-5 g of creatine daily for enhanced strength, energy, and performance – though many more take more.

Studies show that taking 10 g of creatine in a single serving can have adverse consequences.

Your body can break a certain amount of creatine. If you overdose, it stays in the stomach longer than usual, leading to delayed gastric emptying, acidity, dehydration, etc. Eventually, you experience stomach discomfort, bloating, stomach pain, and nausea.

Low Water Intake

When you take creatine, your muscles absorb more water to support the body’s increased energy demands. However, not drinking enough fluids to support the additional water retention can lead to dehydration and, ultimately, gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea.

Besides, excess dehydration can also turn to hypohydration, a massive decrease in blood volume, and an increase in blood viscosity. It can cause low blood pressure, gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, etc.


Electrolyte Imbalance

However rare, creatine can cause electrolyte imbalances due to dehydration in some.

Electrolytes are essential bodily minerals that help regulate fluid balance and nerve and muscle function. Creatine increases muscle water retention, affecting fluid balance and electrolyte levels.

Electrolyte imbalance can cause several symptoms – confusion, diarrhea or constipation, fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, etc.

Mixining Creatine With Food

Consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to increased insulin production, leading to a rapid uptake of nutrients into the body. Consequently, your body attempts to return glucose levels to their normal range leading to symptoms like fatigue, headache, nausea, etc.

Besides, taking creatine with caffeine may also make you feel sick. Caffeine is a natural diuretic that increases urine production and can lead to dehydration if taken in excess. On the other hand, creatine cause water retention.

Combining these two can lead to excessive dehydration and gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, etc.

Can you take creatine with coffee – find out.

Creatine on an Empty Stomach

Taking creatine on an empty stomach may cause stomach upset, nausea, or diarrhea in some people. Creatine is absorbed more rapidly on an empty stomach, causing it to accumulate in the intestines and lead to these symptoms.

Medication Intervention

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin, some antibiotics such as gentamicin and tobramycin, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole or lansoprazole, etc., are some medicines that can impact the proper breakdown and absorption of creatine.

These medicines often reduce muscle protein synthesis and stomach acid secretion or interfere with the gut microbiome, hindering creatine benefits. This condition can lead to stomach pains, cramping, nausea, etc.


The quality and purity of the creatine supplement can play a role in your bodily function.

Low-quality creatine may contain impurities or contaminants that can cause nausea, stomach cramp, diarrhea, etc. So, choose a reputable brand of creatine supplement tested for quality and purity and certified by a renowned organization.

How Long Does Creatine Nausea Last?

The duration of creatine nausea depends on the individual and the severity of the condition. It is usually temporary and will resolve independently within a few hours to a few days. But sometimes, nausea may persist for several days or even longer.

However, you don’t need to stop taking creatine, even with nausea. It’s just a side effect of loading or overdosing. Instead, take a smaller dose and gradually increase it.

But consult a physician if you experience nausea for many days or if it accompanies other gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach upset, diarrhea, etc.


How To Avoid Nausea From Creatine

You can take several measures to prevent nausea after taking creatine.

Take Creatine With Food

Taking creatine with carbohydrates can help slow down absorption and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects. You can try creatine with healthy oats or fruit juice too.

A study suggests that creatine-protein-carbohydrate supplementation can increase muscle hypertrophy and improve strength by up to 40%.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout the day while on creatine, especially on the loading phase – take at least 4 liters a day. Hydration is the key while taking creatine. Drink at least 15 glasses or 300 to 500 ml water daily to keep your body’s fluid and electrolytes balanced.

Appropriate Dosage

Never overdose with creatine. Take the recommended dose suggested by your physician or a professional (0.3 g for every kilogram of your weight). As a beginner, you can also take smaller doses of creatine to reduce the risk of side effects such as nausea.

You can also encounter nausea during loading when you take 20–25 grams of creatine for 5–7 days. But you can skip the loading phase and take the maintenance dose of 3–5 grams daily instead.

A study suggests that taking 3 grams of creatine for 28 days can show the same result you expect from loading.

Remember, it’s not recommended for people under 18 to take creatine.

Change the timing

Taking creatine at a different time of day or with a different meal may help to alleviate nausea. For example, some people may find that taking creatine in the morning or after a workout works best for them. However, never take creatine on an empty stomach.

Studies suggest that taking creatine before or after workouts can lead to better absorption and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects like nausea.

Choose A High-Quality Supplement.

Choose a reputable brand of creatine supplement that has been tested for quality and purity. You may also get confused about which to take, as several types of creatine are available. Start with the most researched creatine monohydrate if you’re just starting or have stomach sensitivity.

Also, check for ingredients and authenticity while buying creatine. Also, choose micronized creatine, as they are more soluble and less likely to make you sick.

Find out the differences between micronized creatine and monohydrate.

Bottom Line

While creatine is generally safe and well-tolerated, some people may experience creatine nausea. You can usually face it during the loading phase or while starting creatine. But it can also occur for several reasons – overdosing, low water intake, poor quality supplements, electrolyte imbalance, etc.

Creatine nausea is nothing severe and usually goes in a few hours or days. However, consult a physician if the nauseous feeling persists for several days.

If you want to know more about creatine, visit our blogs.

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