As a professional athlete, are you taking creatine for its benefits but are worried about its effect? After all, how long does creatine stay in your system? The answers are in the article below!
The popularity of creatine as a performance-enhancing, muscle growth supplement is growing by leaps and bounds every day.
Everyone is in for a creatine dosage, from fitness and lifestyle influences and enthusiasts to workout rookies. Creatine has been declared safe for the body and is even approved by the FDA as a workout supplement.
However, athletes and users have many questions regarding the impact of creatine on our body if it stays longer in our system. One of these questions is: how long does creatine stay in your system? This article will answer this question.
How Long Does Creatine Stay in Your Body?
First Things First: Creatine Is Safe
Some athletes get scared about introducing creatine to boost their workout routines and improve professional performance. Most of the fear is simply because they lack knowledge about the compound.
They might be wondering about the possibilities of being banned from performing if creatine is found in their bodies at the time of drug testing, which is a genuine concern.
How long Does Creatine Stay in Your Body?
A study observed that approximately 46% of creatine was excreted within 24 hours of discontinuation of taking creatine supplements in athletes.
However, another study showed that when creatine was utilized for longer durations and taken in a higher dosage than normal, it took about 30 days to decline back to a homeostatic baseline. Hence, t took creatine about a month to completely leave the system.
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Does Creatine Have Side Effects?
Another question that users have is: does use creatine cause any side effects? When it stays in the body for so long (a month, as we pointed out), does creatine cause any harm to the body?
Creatine is a completely natural compound found in the body, whether you take the supplement or not. So obviously taking it in any form does not cause harm to the body.
People who take creatine only add more energy to the muscles – energy already supplied to the power via creatinine – the natural supplier. Now, many would argue.
Still, it is a supplement, and thus, it must have a timeline to stay in our bodies. From this perspective, the compound remains in our body for a few days or a week, depending on the level of energy you burn during your workouts and how much you exercise daily.
If your workouts are highly intense and you do heavy lifts, then the chances are that the creatine supplement passes out of your system within 2 to 3 days.
Factors That Determine When Creatine Leaves Your System?
Several factors determine how long creatine takes to leave your system. We have discussed the most common ones below
On average, creatine leaves the plasma within 17 hours of discontinuation. However, you must know that dosage plays a huge part in creatine circulation in plasma. Even though dosage influence on plasma retention may be little, it does help in deciding the hours during which the compound stays in the system.
For example, someone who took 5g of creatine may have it in the system for 6 hours compared to someone who took 20gm of it, which means that the substance will take longer to leave the system.
We think that it is important to mention that while creatine in-take does help people in many ways, they must learn about the dosage of the compound. If taken in unusually high dosage, it may affect various metabolism and excretion functions of the body. So, please, remain educated on the ideal dosage of creatine.
The type, time, and intensity of the workout and exercise activity also decide how long creatine stays in the body. For example, someone who loves cycling will need less creatine in their system than a national-level athlete.
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Individual bodily factors such as age, weight, height, body mass index, hepatic and renal function of the body, and the person’s overall system also decide the time of creatine retention in the body.
Let’s take an example of age – if you are a healthy young adult, then creatine will be eliminated from your plasma with greater efficiency than those who have crossed 65 years of age.
Similarly, the body mass index or body fat percentage also decides the time creatine takes to leave your system. Those with high BMI have fewer water stores; meaningless creatine is expected to stay in your muscles due to lower muscle tissue.
Thus, creatine is eliminated quickly and systematically from the body of those who have a higher body mass index. If you have a low BMI, your muscles likely harbor a great quantity of water. The more water a person carries, the greater the volume of creatine distribution, which means its elimination takes longer than those with high BMI.
Answers To Commonly Asked Questions
What is creatine?
Creatine is a compound already present in your body, and thus, it is one of the natural sources of your body that supply energy to muscles. About 95% of creatine is found in your muscle area, and the rest is in the brain and kidneys.
Thus, when you take creatine supplements, or after a workout, it generates more energy in your muscles to help you lift heavy weights, improve your athletic or exercise performance, and more.
There are several benefits of creatine, including relief from muscle cramps and pain, preventing potential injury, increasing fat-free muscles during training, helping people tolerate heavy loads during workouts, and avoiding neurological diseases.
How do you get creatine out of your system?
You can try the following simple yet effective ways to get creatine out of your system –
Drink a good amount of water and fluids to release it via urination
Eat a proper diet that helps your kidneys accelerate the body’s excretion process.
Reduce the dosage of the supplement, in case you want to get it out of your system more quickly than usual
Indulge in a more strenuous and intense workout, which will help use up all the extra energy in your muscles (supplied by creatine), and thus, most of it will be used up, leaving only a little of what needs to be released out of the body.
Eat fiber foods
What happens if you stop taking creatine but still work out?
If or when you stop taking creatine, the ATP energy in the muscles goes down, and thus, you cannot push strenuous workout activities as hard as you do with the supplement. This might also mean that your workout/performance will be slower than usual.
However, you will not suffer any known side effects of creatine if you stop taking it. It will surely feel weird working out without creatine since most people become used to performing better than usual with the help of creatine, but if you push more and enough, you will get there without needing any supplement, creatine or not.
How long does it take creatine levels to return to normal?
Creatine levels can return to normal from a few days to several weeks, or maybe months. On average, it takes 24 hours for creatine levels to return to normal.
However, it differs from person to person depending on several factors such as dosage, age, body mass index, activity level, etc. These often decide how long it takes for the creatine levels to be normal.
You should consult a medical professional to learn more about it and take the suggested measures.
How long does creatine take to leave your body?
The simple understanding is that creatine will be eliminated in under 24 hours from your plasma. However, eliminating the same depends on various factors, ranging from age to body mass, activity level, dosage of the same, etc.
For obvious reasons, no single person will excrete creatine within the same number of hours. Also, about 46% of creatine should be excreted via urine within 24 hours of discontinuation.
However, it may take several days or weeks to eliminate the exogenous doses of the compound from one’s system. It can take about 30 days for the substance to decline from your muscle tissue and reach a pre-supplement stage. Thus, you must be ready to allow creatine supplements to stay in your system for as long as a month.
A Few Final Words
The bottom line is that creatine is safe to take. However, it would help if you did not go for the higher dosage since it also comes with several side effects. Creatine, as a supplement, is FDA-approved.
Still, if you are already on another medication, especially kidney-related, it is extremely important to consult your doctor regarding your decision to take creatine for your workouts.
Also, if you feel uneasy or sick after taking creatine, lessen the dosage and drink more water than usual. If the problem persists, consult a doctor.
We hope this guide has helped you understand that almost half the creatine you take will pass through your system within the first day itself, so there is nothing to worry about as to the long-term effects of using it. Do share your experiences and comments regarding creatine usage for the benefit of all our readers, and if you found the article noteworthy, please share it with others on the internet who might be searching for this information.