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Creatine is a staple on my supplement shelf – and the one MOST people ask about! The benefits are awesome – squeezing out an extra rep here and there AND a better pumped-up aesthetic – BUT people are worried about the side effects… So to get straight to point: Does creatine give you smelly farts? Not in my experience – and here’s why:
At a glance…
- Good quality creatine monohydrate will NOT cause smelly farts
- BUT suddenly ramping up creating intake, or loading it, can cause stomach discomfort for some
- Get around this by skipping the loading phase and spreading your dosage out across the day
- Mixing creatine with sugary foods and drinks can cause flatulence – the breakdown of the sugars causes this, not the creatine!
- Similarly consider lactose – many of us lose the ability to efficiently process lactose as we age so taking creatine with milk COULD cause digestive discomfort and smelly farts!
Creatine does NOT normally make people fart…
Creatine CAN cause digestive discomfort for some people – however this is rare. Creatine on its own is unlikely to cause excess gas or farting.
Typically creatine is consumed as a part of a diet which includes other supplements, and it is usually these other products which cause smelly farts!
What is creatine?
Creatine is typically consumed in powder form in doses of around 3g – 5g a day. It is made up of amino acids and is naturally found in red meat. By supplementing with creating simply increases the amount we consume without increasing our red meat intake.
So if you think creatine is causing you discomfort or to fart a lot then it is unlikely to be the CREATINE itself which is likely already in your body in some form, but rather the increased DOSE from supplementing.
Creatine cramps: ramp up slowly
Any sudden and drastic change to diet can trigger discomfort. Even ignoring supplements if you’ve ever suddenly binged on a greasy takeaway or drank more alcohol than you are used to on a night out you probably KNOW that your body will take issue with it…
Supplements are no different – if you suddenly ramp up creatine intake you may experience dehydration or cramps as your body acclimatises to the new dosage.
If this sounds like something you don’t want to work through INSTEAD ramp up your intake slowly. For example I am someone who can get digestive issues fairly easily so I did NOT load creatine as if often recommended – instead I simply take a low dose daily and let it load over time.
Another tactic: Split the dosage
As well as ramping up the dosage over time another option is to split it across several hours. For example instead of taking 5g once a day try 2.5g twice a day spread out.
Beware of sugar farts!
In general creatine monohydrate is sold as a flavourless powder ready to be mixed with water or any other liquid. Shaking up a plain creatine shake is FINE, but not exactly an enticing prospect!
Personally I mix 5g of creatine with around 30g of flavoured whey protein and pour it over cereal – others like to mix up their supplements with fresh fruit juice.
Taking fresh fruit juice drinks on an empty stomach can cause some gut discomfort for some people due to acidity, and in others the break down of sugar will cause flatulence.
So maybe your smelly creatine farts are actually FRUIT JUICE farts!
And beware of smelly lactose farts!
Our ability to digest lactose decreases as we age – this fits the pattern of consuming a lot of milk as a baby and then slowly whittling it down as we age.
That means you MAY be less tolerant to lactose than you THINK you are, or you may have BECOME LESS TOLERANT over time. The result could be gut discomfort, cramps OR smelly farts when you eat or drink lactose based products.
Dairy products contain lactose – that includes milk as well as cow-based protein powders such as whey or casein.
Having been there myself it’s pretty easy to blame everything BUT the milk as you USED to drink a lot of it when you were younger!
What this means for your flatulence
If you are lactose intolerant your stinky flatulence may be triggered by milk or whey in your shakes rather than the creatine.
Consider fillers and other ingredients
Most supplements contain additional ingredients such as fillers, preservatives or flavours. These can impact your ability to digest or tolerate the supplement.
For creatine I stick to plain, unflavoured creatine monohydrate bought from a reputable brand (typically MyProtein). This minimises the number of additional fillers as there are no other products or flavours mixed in.
One of the awesome things about creatine is that it’s very cheap so buying a high quality brand doesn’t have to be expensive.
Creating does not cause smelly farts. Flatulence CAN occur if you mix it with sugary drinks or milk based products – but a good quality creatine monohydrate mixed with a good quantity of water should not cause stinky farts!
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