Creatine, which works as a fuel for muscle building, is most prevalent in two ways; an incredible dietary supplement and associated with numerous myths.
Stomach pain from creatine is one of the myths which is partially true. You may have an upset stomach, but creatine is not solely responsible.
There is no proper evidence about the adverse effects of taking creatine, but there may be some side effects for specific individuals. This is why having a clear idea about its pros and cons before intaking creatine is a must.
Let me explain why I have said it is partially true that creatine can cause stomach pain.
Can You Get Stomach Pain From Creatine?
Creatine is generally considered safe for most people. However, it can cause side effects in some individuals, including stomach pain. Excess creatine and other protein supplements may reduce the survivability of probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus, which may lead to bloating, stomach pain, or gas.
Some other possible reasons for stomach pain related to creatine consumption are:
Creatine monohydrate, the most common form, may not dissolve completely in water. Consuming poorly mixed creatine can lead to stomach discomfort as undissolved particles can irritate the stomach lining.
Consuming excessive amounts of creatine can strain the kidneys and may cause gastrointestinal distress, including stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
Sensitivity or intolerance
Some people may have a sensitivity or intolerance to creatine, which could lead to stomach pain and other gastrointestinal issues.
How Long Do Creatine Stomach Cramps Last?
The duration of stomach cramps related to creatine supplementation can vary depending on the individual and the specific factors causing the discomfort. In many cases, stomach cramps may be short-lived, lasting for a few hours to a couple of days.
If you experience stomach cramps after taking creatine, consider the following steps to help alleviate and prevent future discomfort:
- Ensure proper mixing: Make sure the creatine is thoroughly dissolved in water or another liquid before consumption, as undissolved particles may irritate the stomach lining
- Adjust your dosage: Lower your creatine intake to assess your tolerance and gradually increase the dose as needed.
- Change the form of creatine: Try alternative forms of creatine, such as creatine hydrochloride or micronized creatine, which may be easier on the stomach.
- Space out your intake: Spread your creatine consumption throughout the day, taking smaller doses with meals or snacks.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water can help to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal issues related to creatine.
Can Creatine Cause Gastritis?
Creatine is not a known direct cause of gastritis, a stomach lining inflammation. However, due to creatine supplementation, some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, including stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
If you have a pre-existing gastrointestinal condition or sensitivity, creatine could potentially exacerbate symptoms or contribute to stomach lining irritation.
If you suspect that creatine is causing or worsening gastritis symptoms, you should stop taking the supplement and consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.
How To Prevent Stomach Pain or Digestion Problems Caused by Creatine?
Of course, not everyone will face the side effects at the same intensity. But there are ways you can keep them under control, especially the ones related to digestive issues.
Reduce the dose of creatine intake
If you are facing an upset stomach due to creatine intake, the solution is simpler than you think. When your body is not reacting positively to the current dose, you must reduce it.
Instead of taking 20 grams daily, you can reduce the amount and take 3 to 5 grams daily. This is the safest daily dose you can have. Research shows that 5 grams or less do not trigger significant side effects.
Sometimes, you can use 10 grams daily or split it into multiple dosages throughout the day. If you see no pain or discomfort, then you can continue.
If you still have doubts, consult an experienced trainer or doctor. Your doctor can prescribe you the dose according to how your body reacts.
Take micronized creatine
Taking micronized creatine can be another solution. For some people, the dose is not problematic; instead, they may have some digestion problems because of large particles.
Micronized creatine comes in a powdery form that is absorbed and mixed fast. It also increases the solubility of small particles.
The main advantage is that it helps digestion, reduces abdominal pain, and prevents diarrhea.
Take an adequate amount of water
Creatine pulls water from the body and then pushes it into the cell to make the muscles bigger. This is why sufficient water is a must to keep everything balanced.
You must be hydrated to stay energetic and get full power from creatine. Since creatine works by pulling out water, drink enough water. It will also prevent stomach discomfort as you take the excellent water your body needs.
Creatine and Other Stomach Issues
Since we are talking about the effect of creatine on your stomach, you may have some more concerns. Rather than roaming here and there, I am highlighting some of them, so this can save you time.
Does Creatine Reduce or Increase Belly Fat?
Taking creatine is not going to reduce or increase belly fat. It will help to gain weight rapidly but not make the body fat.
Also, it does not help to reduce belly fat, at least not directly. But it gives you energy and muscle power to exercise more and thus burn more calories. Creatine is like a little push to empower your body’s energy.
The more you exercise, the more fat you burn from all over the body.
Creatine on Period Cramps
Research has shown that creatine supplementation can worsen menstrual cramps and disrupt the menstrual cycle in women with pre-existing serum creatine kinase. Women with low estrogen levels can also face adverse effects from creatine during their period.
It also helps to reduce mood swings and muscle cramps. So, overall, creatine supplements will not give you period cramps; instead, they will positively help you.
Creatine is the most desirable supplement for athletes or bodybuilders. It pushes water into the cell and has the lowest side effects. Still, some may initially face discomfort since not everyone’s body reacts the same.
Stomach pain is widespread and can occur due to high creatine doses, like 10 to 20 grams. You may face upset stomachs such as diarrhea, gas, or digestion problems.
The solution is simple: take 3-5 grams daily of micronized creatine. Some mix creatine with a protein shake, and this is also useful.
But the myth of having severe pain is not true at all. You just need to be careful.
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.