Creatine monohydrate has long been a staple in the supplement regiment of nearly any fitness enthusiast since it started gaining notoriety in the 90’s. Whether it be EAS’s Phosphagen or Champion Nutrition’s Power Creatine, almost everyone I’ve ever talked to has at one time or another taken some form of creatine product.
Some of the positive aspects of creatine monohydrate use are:
Better muscle pumps
A slower onset of muscle fatigue
More intense workouts
In contrast to this, there are also some negative side effects of creatine monohydrate that I have heard from various individuals.
Luckily, in my 15 plus years of using various creatine monohydrate supplements, I have never had to deal with these problems. So, you may ask; what causes these negative aspects of creatine to happen to these unfortunate individuals?
The answer is fairly simple – poor absorption of the creatine molecules.
When creatine isn’t digested properly, it sits in your intestines. Still, the creatine will do what it is supposed to do and draw water to itself. This influx of water is drawn to your intestines and interferes with the normal digestion process. The abundance of water has to be dealt with, and this is what results in the diarrhea.
As for the bloating and cramping problems, this could be caused from not having a pure creatine product. By this I mean one that is mixed with fillers or lots of sugars. When your body digests these creatine monohydrate supplements too quickly, an abundance of gas is produced in your stomach and Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract. This is where the bloating problem comes from, as well as the cramping.
Many foods and drinks can contribute to bloating and gas, such as:
Carbonated drinks and beer
Foods high in fiber
High sugar foods
Many supplement companies load their creatine products with a boat load of creatine transporters which is designed to shuttle the creatine quickly into your muscles. Their main transporter is usually dextrose, which is a simple sugar. Simple sugars are digested quickly in order to cause an insulin spike, which will then quickly get the creatine into your muscles. As you just read above, the quick digestion leads to gas and bloating.
A pure creatine monohydrate such as Beverly International’s Creatine Select or Creatine Complete 1000 by Power Blendz, should be properly absorbed by your digestive system and will help to pull water into your muscles, which is what you want, thus creating those skin-stretching pumps!
If you feel you have a quality creatine product but you are still dealing with some of these negative side effects, you may want to look into supplementing with some digestive enzymes such as Digest Essentials by Food Science Labs to aid your GI tract, or possibly some healthy bacteria, such as Nature’s Secret Ultimate Probiotic, to aid your digestive system when using creatine monohydrate supplements.
These simple tips can help to ensure that stomach problems from creatine monohydrate supplements are a thing of the past!