I can’t tell you how many of my gym pals blame their gassy existence and workouts on their creatine supplements..
And I get it – the timing of taking creatine and farting is almost too perfect of a coincidence that it’s easy to put two and two together..but really, does creatine make you fart?
After researching the science, I found that creatine can contribute to gastrointestinal discomfort, but only under certain circumstances and doesn’t directly cause you to fart.
Let’s learn more about the science and how you can tweak your creatine and food intake to solve your issue.
- Creatine itself does not cause you to fart
- Creatine may cause GI issues when taken in large doses in one sitting (10g or more)
- The cause of creatine farts is usually the carbohdrates/sugars/sweeteners that you take it with
- Creatine does not cause smelly farts; this is more likely to be the various protein sources in your diet
Creatine Farts: Are They a Thing and What’s the Cause?
Firstly, it is possible for creatine monohydrate to cause gastrointestinal problems, but it’s rare and there are usually reasons that are pretty easy to fix (more on this soon).
There are many reasons for excessive and smelly farts which we’ve listed below.
Here are some things you can do to prevent flatulence while you’re on creatine.
Don’t Take Too Much Creatine
The usual dosage for creatine intake is 20g daily during a loading phase.
I’ve seen people dump this entire 20g in their drinks in one take and later experience abdominal discomfort.
The excess powder doesn’t dissolve well with low volumes of water, especially cold water.
There will be undissolved powder form that sits in your stomach, and that could be one cause of your gastrointestinal problems.
One study we discussed in our article about whether creatine makes you poop, found that taking a high dosage of creatine (above 10 grams) in one sitting was likely to increase incidents of diarrhea. (1)
This could also explain excess gas.
If you are loading with 20g or more daily, I suggest splitting and spreading out the daily dose.
Don’t drink it all at once. You can also add more water to help improve dissolve the creatine.
After the loading phase, you can tone it down to 3-5g daily, depending on your size. Or, you can skip the loading phase completely.
You’ll still get the benefits of creatine, just a couple of weeks later.
Don’t Mix Creatine
Many people mix creatine monohydrate with:
- Dairy-based protein supplements like whey protein shakes
- Grape juice or other juices
- Use pre-mixed creatine supplements that include sugars, sweeteners and other ingredients
Yes, it’s convenient and most people will be absolutely fine when they mix their creatine supplement with liquids other than water.
But it’s worth noting that some of these liquids probably cause the flatulence.
Dairy-based whey protein and shakes contain lactose. If you’re lactose intolerant, you’ll likely react to the drink, and it’s not because of creatine monohydrate.
Lactose intolerance is actually more prevalent in populations of African (75%), Hispanic (51%) and Native American (79%) backgrounds. (2)
Though symptoms are rare unless more than 240ml (a cup) of milk is consumed daily.
Simple Sugars and Sweeteners
Besides lactose, whey protein and other supplements may also contain simple sugars and sweeteners like xylitol or sorbitol which is malabsorbed by 43% of the white population and 55% of the rest even at low doses. (3)
Fructose, a sugar found in fruits and fruit juices, is another ingredient that increases gas production in many people at around 37.5 grams or above of fructose consumption. (4)
40% of fructose is not absorbed by the human intestine and may not be well tolerated, leading to more farts, especially in those who are fructose-intolerant. (5)
Many of the above ingredients may cause changes in your intestinal bacteria, which then cause excess gas and smelly farts.
Before we blame the creatine, assess your diet and whether you are consuming it with any of the above.
Mixing creatine with milk-based or sugary drinks is a popular choice, but this may also lead to flatulence, diarrhea, bloating, cramps, etc.
Stick With Good Quality Creatine
Most creatine on the market is of a good standard at this point and come with lab analysis tests.
Creatine is pretty cheap in general at this point, but some creatine users buy low-quality brands to lessen the cost.
This is usually fine in this day and age, but do your due diligence and check legitimate reviews online and do some background research on the company.
I’d still recommend taking high-quality creatine and lessening the risk of rubbing your body the wrong way.
Cheap creatine monohydrate may cause flatulence because it’s harder to dissolve. You could try looking at monohydrate vs micronized creatine; switching may help your symptoms.
A high dose of undissolved creatine may be responsible for making people fart, but this hasn’t been proven. You can find the best way to dissolve creatine <– in our ultimate guide.
Check the Ingredients Label
There are so many different creatine supplement types made with various ingredients.
Unknowingly, you may be consuming ingredients you’re sensitive to.
Always check the label and see if there are dairy products, lactose, or preservatives that you might be allergic to or you generally know you don’t do well with in your diet.
To be sure, I suggest sticking to plain, high-quality creatine and taking it as it is with at least 1.5 cups of warm water for optimal dissolving.
How much water should you drink with creatine? <– we discuss this in great depth.
You can avoid excessive farting without all the sugar and whey protein.
Foods in Your Diet That May Cause Flatulence and Gas
We may react differently to the things we eat and drink.
Some are more likely get adverse reactions, like flatulence, from eating certain food groups, while some can digest everything, even in high doses.
For example, complex carbs and fiber can be malabsorbed and contribute to farting. (6)
- Beans – 20% of carbs are malabsorbed
- Wheat – 7-10% of carbs are malabsorbed
- Oats – 7-10% of carbs are malabsorbed
- Potatoes – 7-10% of carbs are malabsorbed
- Corn – 7-10% of carbs are malabsorbed
- White Rice – 1% of carbs are malabsorbed
|FOOD||% of Carbs Malabsorbed|
It’s always worth assessing and understanding the ingredients that tend to make your stomach upset before taking creatine, so you can work out the cause.
Most people don’t have problems with creatine directly.
Does Creatine Cause Smelly Farts?
No, there is no evidence showing a correlation between creatine and your farts smelling.
There may be some anecdotally reported cases of it happening, but it’s likely not the creatine that is causing farts to smell, but more likely your various protein sources.
Does Protein Intake With Creatine Increase Flatulence and Smelly Farts?
Hitting your daily target intake of protein in your diet benefits the muscles. This is obvious at this point.
But can too much protein cause you to fart more with creatine and make them smell?
High-Protein Diet and Creatine
If you’re on a high-protein diet, certain sources consumed may contribute to more smelly farts, but there is little to no evidence to suggest protein intake increases the frequency of farting.
Since many of us take creatine to build muscle mass, you may also be stacking up on protein and various carbohydrates, both simple and complex, alongside your workout.
The latter (carbs) are much more likely what is causing the flatulence and excessive farting, based on the evidence.
The smell is more to do with your protein sources.
Creatine has no influence on smelly farts or their frequency.
Whey Protein and Creatine
As we mentioned earlier, your whey protein supplement likely includes milk, lactose, and sometimes even creatine itself.
Try switching to whey isolates or hydrolysate for fewer carbohydrates or switch to different protein sources if you’re lactose intolerant and experiencing symptoms.
Where Does Creatine Come From?
Creatine comes from three amino acids, Methionine, Arginine, and Glycine.
Creatine is naturally found mostly in the muscle, with the rest stored in other parts of the body like the brain, kidney, liver, etc.
You can also consume creatine from red meat, fish and in smaller quantities from other food sources.
This natural consumption of creatine doesn’t offer an athletic performance boost for athletes or bodybuilders.
That’s when you’d top up your creatine stores with supplements.
Synthetic creatine supplements are made with sarcosine and cyanamide. These are combined with other compounds, pressurized in a reactor, and milled until turned into fine powder.
Myths Around Creatine Side Effects
There are many myths associated with taking creatine, such as dehydration and cramps.
But as current evidence suggests, especially that creatine makes you fart, much of it is based on myth. (7)
Let’s discuss them to understand.
Dehydration and Cramps
Taking creatine can change how your body stores water. It triggers the shift to your muscular parts. However, these minor changes don’t cause you to become dehydrated.
In fact, studies have shown that taking creatine actually improves workout and sporting outcomes as it actually REDUCES cramp, lessens fatigue and injuries. (8)
If you’re experiencing adverse side effects, this is usually dose-related, and I’d suggest assessing this or the root cause before continuing.
Some adjustments may be needed, whether on your dose intake or your diet.
Gaining weight on creatine is true, but expected and often wanted, as well as performance enhancing (though creatine isn’t a steroid).
Weight gain caused by creatine means water shuttled into your muscle cells (where you want it!), improving high intensity exercise performance and both directly and indirectly helping to increase muscle growth.
Creatine does not increase fat and has no calories and you can and very likely should take creatine while cutting.
It’s very beneficial during a cut for preserving your workout performance and muscle tissue.
The only time creatine might pose a problem for you is if you’re trying to make weight for a sporting competition with weight categories.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you still have related questions about the topic, here are the most frequently asked questions…
Can I Take Creatine With Whey Protein?
Yes, you can.
In fact, mixing creatine with whey is a common practice among lifters who want to knock two supplements back in one go.
However, this is also when more gas and farting is likely to occur due to simple sugars, like lactose, that many are intolerant of.
Revisit mixing creatine with your whey if unwanted symptoms arise.
Although plain creatine doesn’t taste the best (it’s tasteless in reality, just chalky), it’s still the most recommended way to take it if you’re sensitive to excess gas.
What if I Stop Taking Creatine?
If you stop taking creatine, you won’t experience a loss in muscle gain, but will eventually experience a loss of intrecellular water within your muscles, which will potentially appear to be muscle loss.
Don’t worry about missing creatine on the odd day as creatine takes time to leave your system.
But if you plan to come off creatine, the effects will happen gradually over a period of around 4 weeks.
Conclusion – So, Does Creatine Make You Fart?
No, creatine doesn’t make you fart or cause smelly farts, unless you’re taking over the recommended dose (10g in a single sitting). It’s other factors mixed with creatine that triggers flatulence.
Hopefully, everything discussed thoroughly above makes sense, along with the scientific references.
It’s rare that taking creatine will cause negative effects.
Consuming it in the correct doses and responsibly will mean you experience all of the positives with minimal side effects. It’s one of the safest and most studied supplements in existence.
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(2) Scrimshaw NS, Murray EB. The acceptability of milk and milk products in populations with a high prevalence of lactose intolerance. Am J Clin Nutr. 1988 Oct;48(4 Suppl):1079-159. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/48.4.1142. PMID: 3140651.
(3) Jain NK, Rosenberg DB, Ulahannan MJ, Glasser MJ, Pitchumoni CS. Sorbitol intolerance in adults. Am J Gastroenterol. 1985 Sep;80(9):678-81. PMID: 4036946.
(4) Ravich WJ, Bayless TM, Thomas M. Fructose: incomplete intestinal absorption in humans. Gastroenterology. 1983 Jan;84(1):26-9. PMID: 6847852.
(5) Hasler WL. Gas and Bloating. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2006 Sep;2(9):654-662. PMID: 28316536; PMCID: PMC5350578.
(6) Levitt MD, Hirsh P, Fetzer CA, Sheahan M, Levine AS. H2 excretion after ingestion of complex carbohydrates. Gastroenterology. 1987 Feb;92(2):383-9. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(87)90132-6. PMID: 3792775.
(7) Poortmans JR, Francaux M. Adverse effects of creatine supplementation: fact or fiction? Sports Med. 2000 Sep;30(3):155-70. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200030030-00002. PMID: 10999421.
(8) Greenwood M, Kreider RB, Greenwood L, Byars A. Cramping and Injury Incidence in Collegiate Football Players Are Reduced by Creatine Supplementation. J Athl Train. 2003 Sep;38(3):216-219. PMID: 14608430; PMCID: PMC233174.