Does Creatine Make You Lose Your Belly?

Americans purchase more than 1.8 million pounds of creatine per year, according to the National Institutes of Health. In supplemental form, creatine can improve athletic performance by increasing your muscle capacity. However, it's not the type of supplement that will help you lose weight -- at least not initially. If you're looking to lose belly fat quickly, avoid creatine supplements. Consult your doctor before trying creatine supplements.

A woman wearing all black wraps a yellow measuring tape around her belly. (Image: mrcmos/iStock/Getty Images)

Function

Your body makes its own creatine in the pancreas, liver and kidneys. Creatine is stored in the muscle tissue as phosphocreatine. Your muscles can hold more phosphocreatine than your body produces, so creatine supplements can increase the amount of stored creatine. Phosphocreatine delivers extra energy to your muscles during short bouts of high-intensity exercise, such as lifting weights. It allows you to do more repetitions and sets in the weight room. It does not, however, directly influence belly fat oxidization.

Effects

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, creatine supplements increase strength and lean mass when consumed as part of a weightlifting program. Younger individuals in their 20s and 30s benefit the most from creatine in terms of athletic performance. According to the National Institutes of Health, creatine doesn't seem to increase strength or lean mass very well in people over the age of 60. However, it can help adults to lower triglyceride levels or those suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Belly Fat

Having too much belly fat is a serious health concern that increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Creatine will not directly cause a decrease in belly fat or bodyweight. In fact, you may actually gain weight during the first week of taking creatine supplements. This is due to an increase in water retention within the cells of your muscle tissue. Creatine can help you build muscle, which in turn increases your metabolism and ability to burn fat as fuel. This suggests that in the long term, creatine can help you burn belly fat if you continue to exercise regularly, even after you cease taking the supplements.

Safety

The National Institutes of Health states creatine supplements are "likely safe" for most people when consumed following the dosage recommendations. High doses of creatine may cause kidney damage in those already suffering from impaired kidney function. Caffeine may somewhat diminish the benefits of creatine supplements, so don't mix creatine with caffeinated drinks. According to UMMC, doses of 20 to 25 grams taken for up to a week are generally safe. Talk to your doctor for specific dosage recommendations.

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