Creatine is a type of compound found in your body that is used to build ATP – the high-energy fuel your cells use. Creatine supplementation is a dietary supplement that helps increase your internal levels of creatine.
The idea is that increasing your supply will improve long-term energy in your cells, and this can improve muscle performance and growth. It’s also important for all your other cells, and this makes it a great supplement for both health and fitness.
Creatine Causes Weight Gain: Water Weight and Creatine Supplementation
We’re talking about creatine weight gain today – because creatine supplementation does cause you to gain weight. However, most of this is actually in water weight.
Creatine is an osmolyte – it helps uptake water into the cells and this can increase total body weight (1).
That extra water counts for a fair amount on the scale, and most people gain a few lbs of water weight during the loading phase of creatine (the first few weeks).
However, the main focus for creatine users is typically weight gain as muscle mass, the water is only secondary (2).
Does creatine cause permanent weight gain, or is it all just water weight that disappears when you stop using it?
Recommended: If you are wondering whether or not creatine causes weight gain, checkout this article on how creatine leads to weight gain.
Is Creatine Weight Gain Permanent?
Creatine weight gain is temporary – the water retention of creatine is a transient weight change. You’ll gain water weight for 2-3 weeks, and then you’ll lose it in 1-3 weeks after you’re done with the supplement.
The weight you gain as muscle from creatine will stay, however. You will gain some temporary weight but that high-energy state helps you build long-term lean muscle mass.
This means that you’ll not lose all the weight you put on through creatine use if you maintain use for a long time and build considerable muscle.
Also, it’s worth noting that creatine water retention is in the muscle cells first and foremost.
While it does increase total water retention, it’s usually doing this in the muscle cells which you want to be bigger, and it’s one of the ways that it improves your total strength, size, and appearance
How Creatine Works And How Much Weight You Can Expect To Keep
Typically, you can expect to gain around 2-5lbs of water weight through creatine use – and perhaps a little more or less if you’re very large or very small. You’ll also typically lose around this amount, though some people have found that they retain a little more after creatine use.
Creatine is not a short-term performance booster – it’s a pseudovitamin and increased intake really helps. This means that you don’t really have to come off of creatine – and you probably shouldn’t.
The health and performance benefits will drop off when you stop taking it, and then re-starting the loading phase will have short-term results but they’re not likely to be real improvements.
Rather, you’ll just flip flop between deficient and sufficient.
Creatine is a fantastic supplement – cheap, effective, and well-studied. There’s no benefit to coming off, when you could just add a small dose consistently.
Conclusion: Creatine Round-Up
Creatine is a healthy, safe, performance enhancing supplement. There are no real dangers to taking creatine (when consumed with plenty of water and a balanced diet and lifestyle), and any water retention is temporary.
You’ll also find that most of it wears off over time and the benefits persist.
This makes creatine one of the best long-term supplements for improving performance and health, as well as just helping you stay fueled up and exercising at your peak.
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Rohan Arora is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist and has been actively involved in sports and fitness for over 8 years. He now leads the team of fitness specialists and personal trainers who help people around the world with personalized workout and nutrition plans, along with providing the right information on sports supplements.