While many pre-workout supplements contain creatine monohydrate, many people often misunderstand what creatine does. More specifically, does creatine make your face fat?
People who want to take creatine supplementation in their pre-workout drink ask this question often. Well, creatine can give you a puffy face by causing water retention. When you take creatine, it pulls water into your muscle mass which causes your facial puffiness or makes you look bloated.
Water weight gain is being pulled from the rest of your body into your muscles. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will gain a fat face, it can make you look temporarily larger.
So, if you are concerned about how creatine may affect your appearance, you may want to consider taking a lower dose or avoiding it altogether.
To further support this, let’s look at some factors and how they play a role in making your face “look fat.”
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a compound found naturally in your body, mainly in your muscles. You can also find it in some foods, particularly red meat and fish. So, when you eat meat or fish, you get a small amount of creatine.
Creatine is also a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders. It is often used as a pre-workout supplement to improve energy and performance. This substance is found naturally in the body and supplies energy to muscles.
They also have the loading phase, where you should take a higher dose of creatine for the first few days or weeks to help saturate your muscles. After that, you can maintain your creatine levels by taking a lower amount.
Most of the creatine a person takes is stored in the skeletal muscles, which is why it’s often taken as a supplement by athletes and bodybuilders. Taking creatine causes your muscles to hold more water, which can lead to temporary water weight gain.
What does creatine monohydrate do?
Creatine monohydrate is a popular form of creatine. It is a natural substance in the body and helps supply energy to muscles. It can be a supplement to improve energy levels and increase exercise performance.
Athletes lean towards creatine monohydrate because it increases muscle growth, which is great if you’re doing weight lifting or other strength training exercises.
How does creatine work?
Creatine works by increasing the availability of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in your body. ATP is the primary source of energy for your muscles. Increasing the amount of ATP in your body can improve your energy levels and workout performance.
When creatine increases the level of ATP in your body, it causes your muscles to store more water. Therefore, you might notice a little puffier look on just your face when you first start taking creatine. The water retention should go away after a few weeks as your body adjusts to the supplement.
Does Creatine Affect Your Face?
Other than creatine making your face look puffy or bloated, there is no direct evidence that it affects your face in any other way. Creatine doesn’t cause acne, nor will it make your face look any different in the long run.
There is some evidence showing creatine’s benefits for your skin. Some examples include anti-aging, reducing sagging skin, wrinkles, and even sun damage.
So if you’re worried that creatine may trigger your acne, it’s the opposite. Creatine may improve your skin health!
Why Do People Use Creatine Supplementation?
Athletes usually consume creatine supplements since it has many benefits that can improve their athletic performance. And not just athletes but also people looking to improve their physical appearance, build muscle and have more energy.
Creatine is often used as a pre-workout supplement to improve energy levels and performance. It is sometimes also used as a post-workout supplement to help muscle recovery.
What are the Benefits of Creatine?
Even with the controversy surrounding creatine, this supplement has many potential benefits. Some of the most well-known benefits of creatine include:
Improved energy levels
Athletes taking pre-workout supplements with creatine causes their muscles to store more water. As a result, it leads to more energy and improved exercise performance. Creatine is often used as a pre-workout supplement to improve power and performance.
Athletes use creatine to increase muscle growth, improving workout performance.
Improved exercise performance
Creatine has improved workout performance, especially during high-intensity activities such as sprinting and weightlifting.
Higher doses of creatine are often used during the loading phase to saturate your muscles. After that, you can maintain your creatine levels by taking a lower amount.
Treats congestive heart failure
Creatine also treats congestive heart failure. This condition is characterized by a weak heart and can lead to fatigue, breathlessness, and an irregular heartbeat.
Although not many studies have been done, some promising results show that creatine can improve heart function in people with congestive heart failure.
May treat Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases
Parkinson’s disease is an example of a neurodegenerative disorder of the nervous system that can cause tremors, muscle stiffness, and difficulty with balance and walk.
Aside from Parkinson’s, it can also help other diseases like muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Early studies suggest that creatine may protect the brain from damage and improve symptoms in people with these conditions.
Creatine lowers blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. When you have insulin resistance, your body can’t use insulin properly, leading to diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high. Creatine may prevent diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
Improves cognitive performance
Aside from physical benefits, creatine may also improve cognitive performance. One study showed that taking creatine enhances performance in cognitive tasks such as recognition and working memory.
Other studies have also shown that creatine may improve mental fatigue and increase task vigilance. These show that creatine may benefit people with cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s.
What are Possible Negative Side Effects of Creatine?
Creatine is a safe and effective supplement when appropriately used. However, here are a couple of potential side effects that you should be aware of:
Creatine can cause weight gain because it causes your muscles to hold onto water. If you are trying to reduce weight, you may want to avoid creatine.
Even though creatine doesn’t directly cause fat gain, it can indirectly cause it by making you look fuller and less defined. But, remember, when you are intaking creatine, your body is holding onto more water, so you will look and feel more significant for a couple of days when you start taking it.
This side effect is average and will disappear once your body gets used to the supplement.
There have been some reports of kidney damage with creatine supplementation. However, these are primarily in people with pre-existing kidney conditions.
If you have healthy kidneys, there is no evidence that creatine will cause damage. However, you should speak to your doctor before taking creatine if you have kidney problems.
Under any circumstances, it’s always best to ask for professional medical advice before starting any supplement regimen.
Creatine can cause digestive issues such as nausea, diarrhea, and cramping. These side effects are more common when you start taking creatine and usually go away as your body adjusts to the supplement.
This side effect is usually caused by your body’s inability to digest creatine properly. If you experience digestive issues, try taking creatine with food or splitting your daily dose.
If you experience digestive issues, try taking your creatine with food or splitting your dose throughout the day. You can also take a smaller amount to see if that helps.
Creatine can cause muscle cramps, especially in hot weather or after intense exercise.
To prevent muscle cramps, stay hydrated and avoid taking too much creatine at once. Make sure to start with a lower dose and increase gradually as your body adjusts to the supplement. If you experience muscle cramps, stop taking creatine and see your doctor.
In this event, the continuous accumulation of creatine in your muscle cells pulls water in, which can cause dehydration and lead to muscle cramps.
Heat intolerance can be a side effect of creatine supplementation because creatine can cause your muscles to retain water, making it harder for your body to cool down.
Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids during exercise to prevent heat intolerance. Avoid taking too much creatine at once and start with a lower dose to see how your body reacts.
Interactions with medications
Creatine can interact with certain medications, such as statins and blood pressure medication.
If you take any medications, speak to your doctor before taking creatine.
As mentioned, creatine can cause your muscles to hold onto water, leading to dehydration if you don’t drink enough fluids.
Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, when taking creatine. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol, which can further dehydrate you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can creatine help you lose weight?
No, creatine doesn’t come with a weight loss guarantee. However, if you want to lose weight, creatine may not be the supplement for you as it can cause weight gain.
Is it safe to take creatine?
Yes, creatine is a safe and effective supplement when appropriately used. However, there are potential side effects that you should be aware of. If you experience any adverse effects, stop consuming creatine and see your doctor.
To be sure before intaking creatine, consult your dietitian or doctor to see if you have any allergies to it or if it will interact with the medications you are currently taking.
Can I take creatine with other supplements?
There may be potential interactions depending on what other supplements you’re taking. For example, creatine can interact with certain medications such as statins and blood pressure.
It’s always best to speak to a doctor or professional before taking any supplements, especially if you are already taking other medications.
How long does it take for creatine to work?
You can feel the effects of creatine within the first week of supplementation. However, reaching maximum levels in your muscle cells can take up to four weeks.
To see the full effects, we recommend taking it for at least four weeks to reach maximum levels in your muscle cells.
Taking creatine may give you a fat face because water is pulled into your muscle cells. As your body adjusts to the supplement, this side effect should disappear. If you experience any adverse effects, stop consuming creatine and see your doctor.
Of course, not everyone has the same experience with creatine. Some people may not experience any side effects, while others may only experience mild side effects that go away after a week or so of taking the supplement.
If you are concerned about consuming creatine, speak to your doctor or a professional before supplementation.
If you found this article helpful, check other articles on ExpertFitness.org.
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Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.