Does Creatine Impact Gut Health?

If you’ve ever taken creatine before, you may have experienced some digestive changes. Many creatine users report it can make you poop, but is this a result of the creatine or is there something else going on here? Let’s take a look.

The Connection Between Creatine and Digestion

Taking creatine may cause digestive challenges in some. However, this is typically when it is taken in high doses, such as with a loading phase which includes doses of 20-25 grams taken throughout the day but can also occur in those taking 10 grams or more.

Individuals who are new to taking creatine may also notice changes in their digestion. 

The connection between creatine and digestion is not well understood but could be due to additional ingredients or additives in the supplement as well as potential contaminants generated during the production of the product.

Does Creatine Make You Poop More?

There is currently no evidence to support that creatine causes you to experience digestive issues, such as having more frequent bowel movements when taken at the recommended doses [1]. 

However, like any supplement, excessive amounts of creatine may upset your stomach. This may be exacerbated in those who are new to creatine or those taking higher doses. The presence of additional ingredients may also play a role in digestive challenges [2].

One small study found that taking creatine at 5-gram doses twice per day led to 29% of participants experiencing diarrhea; however, this was similar to those in the placebo group. However, once the dose was increased to 10 grams once daily, the incidence of diarrhea increased to 56%, suggesting that the higher dose may be the culprit [3].

This is why creatine doses are set low, at about 3-5 grams daily. During a loading phase, it’s not recommended to take more than 5 grams in a single sitting but instead to take it throughout the day to avoid any digestive concerns (5 grams split into 4-5 servings) [4].

Understanding Digestive Effects

Whether you will experience digestive challenges from taking creatine is difficult to say as creatine’s impact on digestion varies from person to person. Some may experience symptoms and some may not.

The symptoms can also vary in severity. Some may experience mild discomforts, such as bloating and gas, while others may experience more uncomfortable effects such as diarrhea.

Managing Digestive Discomfort and Proper Dosage

If you want to take creatine but are fearful of the potential digestive effects, or you are currently taking it and wish to find a way to better manage these side effects, below are some tips to help. 

Tips to Minimize Digestive Issues

Mind the Dose

Research has not shown any digestive challenges with taking creatine at the recommended dosages of 3-5 grams per day. This is considered the maintenance dose but is often increased to 20-25 grams per day for 5-7 days in those completing a creatine loading phase. While this is not required, many choose to increase their creatine stores by bumping up the dose for a short period.

Stay Hydrated

Whether or not you are experiencing digestive side effects from creatine, it’s important to prioritize hydration. This can help to avoid dehydration from loss of fluids as a result of diarrhea. Creatine also pulls extra water into the muscle tissue which means we need more.

If you are experiencing diarrhea, consider incorporating an electrolyte supplement or sports drink to ensure you are replacing your electrolytes while you are working to manage your symptoms.

Consider Splitting 

If you want to take a higher dose of creatine, or complete a loading phase, consider splitting your dose to avoid digestive discomfort. Try to not go over 5 grams per serving. If you are completing a loading phase, space out your dosages every few hours.

What to Do If You Experience Digestive Issues

If you begin to experience severe digestive challenges while taking creatine, reduce the dose immediately or stop use and consult your healthcare provider. While creatine can provide a lot of health benefits, you should not be suffering from extensive side effects to achieve those. 

Myths and Misconceptions

Creatine comes with a slew of misconceptions when it comes to potential side effects with number one being weight gain. Creatine, particularly during the loading phase when higher doses are taken, can appear to cause weight gain. This is typically a result of an increase in fluid retention as well as muscle mass and should not be a cause for concern. This increase in water weight will go down once creatine is reduced or stopped [5, 6].

It’s also believed creatine can cause acne however, this myth has also been debunked. Because creatine helps to boost performance, many find working out harder and longer which can increase sweat production and lead to clogged pores. Creatine itself does not cause acne.

Lastly, as discussed above, it’s a common concern that creatine causes digestion issues. While this can be true, it’s typically in those who consume higher doses than 5 grams and it can be easily controlled by reducing the dose and staying hydrated.

The Role of Creatine in Hydration and Gut Health

Creatine is highly osmotic, which means it likes water. Its osmotic properties can affect water distribution in the body, potentially leading to changes in bowel movement frequency and consistency​​.

Creatine draws water into the muscle tissue. If you aren’t adequately hydrated this change in water distribution can cause dehydration which can then cause an upset in your digestion.

If you are adding creatine into your routine or increasing your creatine dose, be sure to also increase your water intake to prevent dehydration and avoid worsening potential digestive issues.

When to Consult a Healthcare Professional

If you experience digestive issues while taking creatine, it can usually be easily managed by reducing your dose and maintaining adequate hydration. However, if you experience persistent or worsening digestive upset, even when stopping creatine, it’s time to consult your healthcare provider. 

Any digestive symptoms from creatine should be short-term and should resolve once the dose is reduced or supplementation stops. If this is not the case, there may be an underlying concern and it’s important to get an evaluation from a healthcare professional. 


Creatine can make some people poop. While this is not necessarily a common issue or even a cause for concern, it’s good to know. 

If you are taking creatine and experiencing digestive symptoms, consider reducing your creatine dose to 5 grams or lower and ensure you are staying properly hydrated. These symptoms will likely cease once you make this change. If not, consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation.

Further Reading:

Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight?

How Long Does Creatine Take to Work?

Creatine HCL vs Monohydrate