The Withdrawal Symptoms of Creatine – Side Effects


Taking creatine as a supplement may provide benefits such as increased muscle mass, improved athletic performance and enhanced energy levels, but there are potential side effects when stopping its use. Learn what might happen when you suddenly stop taking creatine and how to manage the withdrawal effects here.

Everybody responds to creatine suppplement differently. Some lifter see significance gains from it while others as high as up to 30 percent of the population are known as “creatine non responder”. This means they don’t see any noticeable results.

The effects that you personally experience once you discontinue creatine supplementation are largely depends on how well you respond to it in the first place. So the more significantly you responded, the more noticeable changes will be once you stop and vice versa.

Related post: Men’s Body Transformation Pics Results After Taking Creatine

Creatine Benefits Your Muscle Building Program in 2 Major Ways:

1. Increasing Intracellular Water Retention

The first are the changes in intracellular water retention. Creatine requires additional water in order to restore in your muscle tissue. After your muscle become completely saturated with creatine and this usually happens about 3 weeks after supplementing with 5 grams daily.

Your muscle should take on a slightly fuller appearance as the result of the increase fluid. Once you discontinue creatine supplementation and those extra creatine stored has left your body after a few weeks. This additional water retention will no longer be necessary and will be cleared out as well.

For some lifters this might mean a fairly quick draw of several pounds of water weight once the creatine levels leave their system, and for others the effects may not even be noticeable.

One thing is certain, whatever additional water weight you gain from your creatine supplementation when you began will mostly be lost once you discontinue.

2. By Increasing Your Strength and Power

This is harder to accurately pin point, as it going to vary a bit from person to person. By increasing the efficiency of your body use of ATP (usable energy molecule within your muscles) creatine improves your gym performance and increases you overall strength and power output.

When you stop using creatine the additional phosphate group that was previously providing to your muscle cells for enhance strength will also be diminished.

If you are someone who does respond well to creatine supplementation you may notice a small reduction in your overall strenght after a few weeks of stopping.

However it likely won’t be to a very significant degree as long as you continue with your regular training program.

As for your actual lean muscles gain are concern, it’s highly unlikely that your going to notice any real decrease. Again assuming that you continue with your training and eating plan in the same as previously

The question is why stop taking creatine at all?

If you don’t see any real results from using creatine in performance, then there’s no need for you to continue.

Perhaps your just tired of having to take it every day, maybe your really dislike the taste or texture. In that case you can just take creatine pills or if you travel frequently and don’t won’t to take it everywhere you go.

Are there any side effects to suddenly stopping creatine use?

Creatine is the most widely research supplementation in the world and it’s never been shown to be harmful in anyway when used within the recommended daily dosage of about 3 grams.

This includes periods of cycling on and off. Your body does adjust it’s own natural production of creatine in response to external supplementation but this system is extremely sensitive and it adapts virtually instantly. Once you stop taking creatine your natural production will fall back into the proper range.

There’s no evidence to suggest that creatine supplementation over the long term is dangerous to your health in anyway.

In 2004 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a record which stated that oral long-term intake of 3g pure creatine per day is risk-free. The reports of damage to the kidneys by creatine supplementation have been scientifically refuted.

Digestive Issues

However, there has been reports that abruptly discontinuing creatine use can cause digestive issues for some such as nausea, cramping, constipation, and changes in bowel movements.

These side effects may be the result of your body adjusting to a lack of creatine or due to the sudden decrease in water retention associated with creatine supplementation. If you experience any lingering digestive disturbances, speak with your health care provider for advice on how to manage them.

Mental Fatigue and Brain Fog.

People who have stopped creatine use may also experience sudden mental fatigue and cognitive decline, known as “brain fog”. This feeling of mental exhaustion can occur due to the lack of energy created by creatine in the brain. This can lead to feelings of confusion, lack of focus, and difficulty remembering things. For most people, these side effects will subside with time and some restful sleep.


If you been supplementing with creatine to a point of full saturation and then you decided to discontinue this is what’s going to happen in a few weeks.

1) You will lose the additional water rettention that your body was using to stored the creatine.
2) You may notice a slight reduction in your overall strength level but not likely to a significant degree.
3) You will likely retain all your gains and actual muscle mass.
4) You’re not going experience any side effects from creatine.


Keep in mind that this all depends on the individual and how well they respond to creatine in the first place. If your considering stop using creatine use but not quite sure, your best bet is to simply is discontinue for 2-3 weeks and then see what happens.

If you do experience a drop in your overall muscle fullness and strength that your not happy with then you could always go back on.

Or if you don’t notice any significant changes at all then you can just stop altogether.


Meurer F, Do HT, Sadowski G, Held C. Standard Gibbs energy of metabolic reactions: II. Glucose-6-phosphatase reaction and ATP hydrolysis. Biophys Chem. 2017 Apr;223:30-38.

Beis I, Newsholme EA. The contents of adenine nucleotides, phosphagens and some glycolytic intermediates in resting muscles from vertebrates and invertebrates. Biochem J. 1975 Oct;152(1):23-32.

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