Storing a considerable amount of creatine in the muscles for extra energy to work out is the way to go for huge muscles. But what is concerning is the amount of creatine that stays in the blood daily, where the daily requirement is only 2 calories.
Many consumers are worried about any effect on health due to the time creatine remains before they need to chug in again. So, you must know how long does creatine stay in your system to flush it well and avoid dangerous buildup.
On average, creatine stays in the blood plasma for three hours after intake. If you remain well hydrated, urine will remove excess creatine by this time, but clearing it out from the system completely would take a whole day or more. If you want to stop taking creatine, removing all creatine from the reserve might take up to 6 weeks.
The little that stays for the day before you take the next dose is harmless. But the time to detox and excrete will depend on your daily habits. Learn more about factors that could affect excretion rate and the proper detox method.
How Long Does Creatine Stay in Your System?
The lasting time of creatine inside the body will vary from person to person.
Some studies showed that the creatine storage you create by taking the supplement remains in the body for around three hours in urine before you pee. Plasma might remove by excretion after approximately three hours. To define an exact timing, adults have it for about 3.85 hours, meaning 50% of creatine is filtered out by this time.
Complete excretion after a day’s intake can take 24 hours or longer. This is also true for those who stop taking creatine. Besides, plasma and muscle tissue retention time differ from skeletal muscle tissues.
Since around 95% of creatine is stored in the muscles, it will take two weeks to clear it out. Plasma can only keep it for 3 hours before transferring it to the kidneys. But you will still have 2% creatinine after excretion within 22 hours.
However, the amount of time the creatine you take remains will depend on several factors. This also determines the potential effects on the body, either positive or negative.
The Dose You Take
Consumers usually take 1 to 2 tablespoons per day. They might also divide it for before and after workout intake. But some people may take higher doses.
Unfortunately, according to health professionals, higher doses of creatine don’t affect your performance or physical appearance. Instead, the more you store creatine, the longer it will remain in the bloodstream. You must exercise to remove the excess through urine within an hour.
Better you mix creatine with simple carbs like sugar or glucose that dissolve it faster for increasing metabolism and allowing more space for taking higher doses. You can mix it with fiber, like oats, for better absorption.
Different factors like age, gender, body weight, and so on cause variations in metabolism. The rate at which you can metabolize creatine will determine its duration in your body.
Level of Activity
Creatine supplementation requires you to undergo intense workouts. Strenuous training like sports or hitting the gym for hours will remove the creatine in less than an hour. But this will also require you to take only a tablespoon of creatine.
Lighter and fewer hours of training will increase the duration by an extra half hour. This happens because the skeletal muscles don’t contract much to pull out excess creatine from the reserve to use it up. The excess creatine will be converted to creatinine and removed with urine.
So, you need to balance out the dose and activity to have maximum effects.
Other Bodily Factors
Age, gender, BMI, and existing health conditions can also impact creatine’s lasting time. Those with higher BMI will have lower water retention so that the muscles will store less creatine. Lower BMI allows more water to retain and circulate creatine for longer.
If you are pregnant or a new mother who is breastfeeding, consult your doctor before taking creatine. Creatine buildup might cause problems for both the mother and baby, as it won’t be possible to carry out intense training during this time.
People with liver problems also tend to keep creatine in the blood longer. This happens because the liver can’t function normally and will filter out creatine slower. The same applies to impaired renal functions, where creatine takes longer to break down.
So, if you are lean and fit, creatine becomes easier to absorb and excrete, and you will have higher effectiveness from it.
Type of Creatine
Although most people choose creatine monohydrate, the brands have different compositions of elements. Whether you take monohydrate, hydrochloride, or ethyl ester, the body will flush out creatine to varying rates through urine.
You are not only loading yourself with creatine; you will need regular food to survive and remain active. Select foods rich in protein, like meat, chicken, or fish, during your fitness training for creatine storage. Taking more fiber will also make creatine last longer in the system.
Besides, supplements like creatine kinase, monohydrate, or magnesium, and foods rich in creatine, will help you balance its levels. Organic meat and water will neutralize the synthetic creatine you take as a supplement.
The Impact of Creatine Intake Schedule
The timing of creatine intake also determines the time of creatine storage. During the loading phase, you must regularly take higher doses of 20 to 25 g, which will remain longer. The 5g daily intake maintenance phase will flush out creatine faster.
By transiting from the initial phase to the maintenance one faster, your body will take a month to remove all creatine stores. The lower the dose, the shorter the duration of creatine reserve.
Ensure that you take enough amount within the two phases so that the creatine can stay appropriate for better results. Otherwise, when you take it won’t interfere with body functions. Whether day or night, before or after a workout, the time will be the same for your dose.
Side Effects Duration
Different side effects may happen from creatine, like weight gain, muscle cramps, strains, stomach problems, diarrhea, bloating, high blood pressure, dizziness, kidney problems, liver dysfunction, etc. But these are common, and one might not face all or anything severe.
The side effects mainly occur when you take a lot of creatine in the loading phase. After a week or two, these will go away when you lower the dosage. It takes longer for those who stop continuing it when they also face withdrawal symptoms.
How much Time Till You See a Change from Creatine?
Creatine works quite slowly for muscle growth, for which the dosage is high during loading. It could take a few days or weeks before it shows noticeable changes. Your body will need a lot of creatine to store enough that you can use for energy.
The body will have enough creatine to speed muscle growth by around four weeks. So, you must take a lot of creatine and not miss any dose during the first month or two. Stopping midway will cause difficult detoxing.
Removing Creatine through Urine
Giving the body 30 days to flush out residual creatine thoroughly is better. But during this time, ensure that the large amount of creatine in the blood doesn’t cause discomfort or health problems, especially to the kidneys.
If the supplement doesn’t work, you will want to stop it. About 1 to 2% of creatine leaves the body through urine. You can use activated charcoal to smoothen the process and avoid creatinine buildup.
It has a negative electric charge that will absorb creatine, uric acid, and other toxic elements in your body.
You can also use Calcium-d-glucarate. It works as a detoxifying agent that will aid in cleansing toxins. Both are available in pills or powder forms. Ask for a doctor’s prescription before using.
However, drink water and eat fresh fruits and vegetables for better absorption to ensure you can excrete excess creatine through urine well.
How to Lower Creatinine in Blood?
Another vital reason to balance creatine levels is to avoid creatinine storage. Creatinine is a toxin in your blood that is responsible for various health problems.
Try beverages like coconut water, kombucha, and tea made with herbs and spices when on creatine. Fresh fruits and vegetables with higher water content are also useful. These are rich sources of citric and ursolic acid. These help absorb creatine faster and produce enough urine to remove creatinine.
Usually, consumers plan for a creatine intake that won’t be continuous. Once they have reached their goal, they will want to stop it. The good thing is you can stop the supplement anytime. But this will cause you to have some withdrawal symptoms. This happens because the residual creatine you have stored will start to remove gradually.
The levels will start to reduce after around two weeks after stopping. Removing creatine completely from the system will take up to 6 weeks. The body will then take the usual 2g daily requirements.
You should always eat healthy foods and drink water to detox well. Other natural elements that would help with creatine withdrawal are apple cider vinegar and ginger root juice, which you should only use if it won’t harm your health.
There are still risks of withstanding complex side effects for some people. For this reason, experts recommend taking creatine every twelve weeks in intervals to reset the body easily. This will also avoid any long-lasting or harmful effects.
In addition, avoid heavy training to allow the body to adjust while detoxing. You must maintain a proper creatine prescription beforehand by knowing detoxing protocols and deciding on the doses accordingly.
Creatine Expiration after Opening
No edible can last forever, and it’s true for your creatine package. Regardless of the type and brand, most creatine powder is proven to last for 3 years without any damage if appropriately stored and away from high temperatures. It also has a higher shelf-life than other protein forms. So, even after expiration, you can continue to ingest it if the product looks unchanged.
The liquid form has a lower shelf life and expires earlier due to the composition. It is more susceptible to damage.
Should you stop taking creatine?
You can easily use natural protein sources in your diet to get a lot of creatine. But supplements will speed up your muscle-building process. Regardless of the side effects, creatine is safe, with hardly any devastating impact. Experts suggest that once you take it, don’t stop altogether; instead, take some time off occasionally. But if you plan to stop, don’t do it abruptly.
Is creatine harmful to renal functions?
A high amount of creatine affects the kidneys over time because of more elevated creatinine in the blood. Besides, it also causes water retention in some people in the loading phase, which can cause kidney problems. But these effects don’t always happen or go away after some time. Always check your kidney functions while on creatine.
Creatine needs to stay for a specific time to have an effect. Otherwise, there is no point indulging in it and working hard. Ensure that you balance out the dose and stay hydrated. Eat healthy foods to keep your body in good health.
Usually, creatine should remain for three hours before you pee. Besides, it stays for a whole day to store in the muscles. Once you have enough creatine, you can train harder and for longer hours. So, plan your creatine session wisely with a consultation and review of our blogs.
I started my professional career as a sports medicine consultant in Rola, Missouri. My primary role was to suggest suitable supplements for my patients according to their pre-existing conditions and lifestyle goals. I believe a healthy lifestyle is the most important if you want to make your life really meaningfull.