Creatine For Weight Loss: Does it Help?
Table of Contents
- What is Creatine?
- Proven Effects & Benefits of Creatine Supplements
- Can Creatine Help You Lose Weight?
- Creatine & Weight Loss: 101
- Wrapping Up
In the vast landscape of dietary supplements, one name that frequently surfaces is creatine.
Widely recognized for enhancing athletic performance and muscle growth, creatine is a well-established staple in fitness and bodybuilding circles.
But now, the spotlight is turning towards a less explored potential benefit of this powerful supplement: creatine for weight loss.
How can creatine help you lose weight?
This question is more complex than it might initially seem, and to unpack it, we need to dive into the science behind creatine, its function in the body, and its impact on metabolism and energy expenditure.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound composed of the amino acids methionine, arginine, and glycine.
Creatine is both endogenous and exogenous, meaning that our body syntheses it, but it can also be absorbed from protein-rich foods, such as fish and meat or supplements.
This supplement is particularly useful for gym goers, as our body has limited ability to synthesize and store this compound. Depending on one’s body composition and activity levels, it needs to replace more or less creatine each day. 
Creatine monohydrate is the most consumed form of this supplement thanks to its higher absorption rate and bioavailability. 
Proven Effects & Benefits of Creatine Supplements
Creatine is one of the most popular ergogenic aids on the market and one of the few with extensive scientific research to back it up. 
Below you can find the benefits of regular creatine supplementation.
Increased Muscle Mass
Creatine directly affects muscle mass. Around 95% of creatine is found in our muscles in the form of phosphocreatine (PC), a compound used by our muscles as an energy source to perform anaerobic activities, such as lifting weights.
As mentioned above, taking creatine supplements increases your intramuscular PC levels. This not only helps build muscle mass but also leads to greater strength gains by improving the muscles’ ability to sustain higher loads and training volumes when lifting weights. 
Around 5% of our body’s creatine is stored in the brain, so it is no surprise that creatine supplementation also has a neuroprotective role within the nervous system.
Creatine supplementation can support post-exercise muscle recovery, even after very intense training sessions.
In particular, ingesting creatine alongside carbohydrates and protein helps replenish the muscles with glycogen, further supporting recovery and preventing overtraining. 
Improved Fitness Performance
Thanks to its multitude of benefits, such as augmented PC levels within the muscles, improved strength, increased lean mass, and better muscle recovery, creatine supplementation ultimately has a positive effect on your overall fitness performance. 
Can Creatine Help You Lose Weight?
Unfortunately, creatine does not have a direct fat-burning effect, meaning that taking it daily does not make our flabby areas disappear. 
Still, creatine can be a great supplement for those on a fat-loss plan, as it can help you increase your lean mass and enhance your metabolism, as long as paired with resistance training.
Lean muscle mass burns more calories while at rest than fat mass. If you build more lean tissue, you’ll see an increase in your metabolic rate.
Having a higher metabolic rate is very important not only to lose weight but also to maintain the results once you achieve your ideal weight or body composition.
Creatine & Weight Loss: 101
After learning about this supplement and its effect on muscle mass and metabolism, you are probably asking yourself, “Should I take creatine while trying to lose weight?”.
Can You Take Creatine If You Don’t Work Out?
You can take creatine if you don’t work out, but the results might not be physically noticeable.
For example, taking creatine without weight training will not result in lean mass gains, but it could help you retain it.
However, not enough studies have been able to demonstrate its protective role over skeletal muscle when not associated with resistance exercises. 
Should You Stop Taking Creatine If You Try To Lose Weight?
You should not stop creatine supplementation if you are trying to lose weight, as taking creatine alongside a well-planned weight-lifting protocol would help you retain your lean mass, thus improving body composition and keeping your basal metabolic rate high. 
Can You Gain Weight With Creatine?
Taking creatine daily can increase lean mass and support fat loss. However, you may also experience an increase in weight. The weight gain is due to the intracellular retention of water caused by the osmotic properties of creatine within the muscles. 
Some studies also show that water retention only occurs during the first stages of supplementation but not when creatine intake is protracted over time. 
In other words, once you adjust to creatine, your body will not retain water.
Whilst creatine is not able to make you lose weight on its own, it still is one of the greatest supplements to take if you aim to improve your body composition.
Below, you can find the key points about creatine and weight loss:
- Creatine is a naturally-occurring compound made from the amino acids methionine, arginine, and glycine.
- Creatine is synthesized by our body, but it can also be found in protein-rich animal foods and supplements.
- Supplementation is suggested, especially for those who exercise, as our body does not produce or store enough creatine to maintain optimal PC levels to support strength training.
- Creatine has several benefits, such as increased strength and muscle growth, neuroprotection from acute and chronic neurodegenerative processes, enhanced muscle recovery, and overall improved fitness performance.
- Creatine does not directly lead to weight loss, but if associated with resistance training it can help you drop fat by improving your body composition and increasing your basal metabolic rate.
- Taking creatine whilst not working out or when on a calorie deficit might help you retain your lean mass, although not enough studies have been able to demonstrate it
- You may gain some weight when supplementing with creatine, as its osmotic properties lead to intracellular water retention.