There are several reasons why does creatine make my stomach hurt. It all depends on the type of creatine you are taking. A highly water-soluble option like micronized creatine can avoid stomach cramps. Also, taking a large dose of creatine can also increase the risk of digestive issues.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring molecule in the body that helps create ATP. It is stored mostly in skeletal muscle to use when needed. While the body produces creatine, it can do so in a small quantity.
Supplementing with creatine can help saturate the cells and provide several benefits. Research shows that adding a creatine supplement might help increase energy levels, muscle growth, performance, and recovery.
The average recommendation for creatine is 3 to 5 grams daily. However, some people might need a larger dose (like bodybuilders and athletes) or might need a loading phase to get the benefits of creatine quickly.
Why Does Creatine Make My Stomach Hurt?
While creatinThe Form of Creatine e is safe, it might increase the risk of digestive issues, such as bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. And, there are several reasons why you get creatine stomach cramps.
1. The Form of Creatine
One of the main reasons for getting stomach cramps is the type of creatine you are taking. There are several forms of creatine, but not all of them are highly soluble in water. As a result, it can cause clumps of the supplement in your stomach, which might cause stomach issues.
2. How Much Creatine You Are Taking
Another possible reason is that you are taking too much creatine. When you ingest too much creatine, more than the body can handle, it can increase the risk of bloating and stomach cramps.
3. Taking Creatine With An Empty Stomach
While taking creatine on an empty stomach is completely fine, some people might experience more digestive issues when taking it on an empty stomach.
How To Reduce The Likelihood of Stomach Problems When Taking Creatine?
Nobody wants to get digestive issues, especially if they are going to interfere with your workouts. So, how to stop stomach pain from creatine? Here, we’ll go over 5 strategies to help you avoid stomach cramps and a supplement recommendation to decrease the risk of digestive issues.
1. Use Micronized Creatine Monohydrate
As previously mentioned, not all forms of creatine are highly soluble in water. For example, while creatine monohydrate is the best option, it might not be the most soluble. As a result, undissolved creatine crystals can irritate the stomach wall and cause negative symptoms.
In this case, you might want to choose a creatine supplement that is highly soluble in water, such as micronized creatine monohydrate.
In simple terms, micronized creatine is one that has been broken down into smaller particles, making it more soluble and easier to absorb in the body.
2. Avoid Loading Phase
People who start taking creatine often do a loading phase to get the benefits of creatine quicker. While it is not necessary or mandatory, some find it helps speed up the process. The loading phase works by taking 20 to 25 grams of creatine for 5 to 7 days.
After the loading phase, you enter the maintenance phase, which is taking 3 to 5 grams of creatine daily as long as needed.
The problem is that by taking too much creatine it can increase the risk of digestive issues. So, if you want to avoid having stomach cramps, avoid doing the loading phase and just take your regular dose daily for 30 consecutive days. You’ll still get the same results, only for a longer time.
3. Take Creatine With Meals
Taking creatine with an empty stomach can increase the risk of digestive issues because the undissolved creatine particles will affect the stomach. For that reason, it’s best to take it with a meal, it may reduce the contact of creatine particles with the stomach.
In fact, evidence suggests that taking creatine along with some carbs and protein can increase its effect, such as greater strength outcome. For example, you can mix your creatine supplement with a protein shake (protein) and fruit (carbs).
4. Avoid Coingesting Creatine With High Fiber Foods
Now, you want to take creatine with foods, but you need to be careful on what type of foods you add. Eating high-fiber food can only increase the risk of stomach cramps if you are not used to a high fiber intake.
Fiber exerts a mechanical stimulation/irritation of the colonic mucosa with increased secretion and peristalsis, which itself may cause gastric discomfort in sensitive individuals. Since fiber reaches the intestines intact, the bacteria ferment it, causing gas. When there is gas buildup, it can lead to bloating and stomach cramps.
So, if you are not used to having high-fiber foods such as whole grains, legumes, and vegetables, do not increase their amount drastically while taking creatine. Add fiber-rich foods gradually and observe how much is well tolerated.
5. Drink More Water
Creatine needs a good water intake to function properly and for its digestion. If you don’t drink enough water, it increases the risk of stomach cramps. When taking creatine, make sure you drink plenty of water. Both at the time of taking creatine, as well as the rest of the day.
If you are already well hydrated, there is no need to significantly increase your water intake when incorporating creatine into your diet. For every 3-5g of creatine, about 8 ounces of water is sufficient. Pay close attention to your body's signals and adjust your water intake as needed.
The specific amount of water to consume when using creatine can fluctuate depending on factors such as body size, activity level, and overall hydration needs. If you don’t know how much daily water you need, consult with a health professional to get some guidance based on your goals and needs.
Finally, to avoid getting stomach cramps, make sure you are getting a high-quality creatine supplement. Our top recommendation is Cellucor COR-Performance Creatine Monohydrate powder.
The supplement is made with micronized creatine. On top of that, it doesn’t contain any additives, sweeteners, or colorings that might increase the risk of digestive issues. In the end, you are only getting what you are looking for, which is creatine.
How Do You Stop Your Stomach From Hurting After Taking Creatine?
Is It Ok to Take 10 Grams of Creatine at Once?
So, is creatine bad for your stomach?
It all depends on the type of creatine and how much you are taking. For example, options like micronized creatine monohydrate are highly soluble in water, meaning that they can decrease the risk of stomach cramps.
A great supplement to take is Cellucor COR-Performance, which is made with micronized creatine, and it doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives that might increase the risk of stomach issues.
Finally, be careful on the dose you are taking (taking too much can increase symptoms), and make sure to take it with some food, but avoid those foods that are high in fiber.
Which solution helped you reduce stomach cramos? Let us know in the comments.
- P.D. Balsom, "Skeletal muscle metabolism during short duration high-intensity exercise: influence of creatine supplementation", National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7572228/
- Sergej M Ostojic, "Gastrointestinal distress after creatine supplementation in athletes: are side effects dose dependent?", National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18373286/
- Matthew B Cooke, "Creatine supplementation enhances muscle force recovery after eccentrically-induced muscle damage in healthy individuals", BMC Part of Springer Nature, https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-6-13
- Richard B. Kreider, "International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine", BMC Part of Springer Nature, https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z
- CRIBB, PAUL J., "A Creatine-Protein-Carbohydrate Supplement Enhances Responses to Resistance Training", Medicine&Science in Sports&Exercise, https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2007/11000/A_Creatine_Protein_Carbohydrate_Supplement.10.aspx
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