man tired at gym suffering from creatine withdrawel

What is Creatine Withdrawal?

Creatine withdrawal is a term used to explain the effects of ceasing creatine supplementation. Creatine is created by the body or taken from food or supplements. It is mostly stored in muscles and provides energy for high-intensity activities like weightlifting and sprinting.

Creatine increases muscular phosphocreatine. ATP, your cells' energy supply, can be promptly regenerated by phosphocreatine. More phosphocreatine lets you workout harder and longer, building strength and muscle.

Creatine boosts brain cell energy and oxygen transport. It improves memory, learning, focus, and mood.

Be careful that creatine may have adverse effects or interact with other supplements or drugs. Creatine side effects include:

Gastrointestinal distress

Some individuals may experience stomach discomfort, feelings of queasiness, digestive issues, abdominal bloating or muscle cramps when taking creatine. To minimize these side effects it is advisable to consume creatine along with meals and plenty of water while commencing with a smaller dosage.


Creatine has the ability to cause muscle dehydration or disrupt balance by drawing water into the muscles. This can potentially affect your blood pressure kidney function and exercise performance. To prevent these concerns it is recommended to maintain hydration by drinking water and avoiding alcohol or caffeine intake while using creatine.

Weight gain

Creatine has the potential to cause dehydration or disrupt the balance of electrolytes in your muscles. These effects can impact your blood pressure, kidney function and even your performance during exercise. To counteract these risks it is advisable to stay well hydrated, by consuming water and refraining from alcohol or caffeine while using creatine.

Kidney damage

Creatine increases creatinine, a kidney-filtered waste product. High creatinine levels may indicate renal disease. Decreased renal function. Creatine should not be used by people with kidney problems or taking kidney-harming drugs. Blood tests should also be done to assess kidney health.

Liver damage

Creatine may affect liver function by raising blood ammonia. Ammonia is turned to urea by the liver. High ammonia levels might damage or worsen liver problems. Creatine should not be used if you have liver problems or take liver-harming drugs. Blood tests should also be done to assess liver function.

These adverse effects or interactions may cause changes or symptoms when you stop taking creatine supplements. Some call these symptoms "creatine withdrawal."

Why Does Creatine Withdrawal Happen?

Medium shot of unrecognizable male athlete wiping sweat with a towel seated in gym changing room

Creatine withdrawal occurs when your body adjusts to lower creatinine levels in your muscles and blood after quitting supplementation. Your muscles can only store creatine. A typical meat-and-fish diet provides 1–2 grams of creatine daily. Your body produces creatine, but not enough to fill muscle storage. So your muscle creatine levels may be 60%–80% full.

Supplements increase muscular creatine levels above what the body can provide. Muscles absorb and retain creatine slowly. A little dose of creatine (3 grams per day) may take four weeks to maximize muscles.

After loading with 20 grams of creatine for 5–7 days, the usual dosage and cycling technique is 3–5 grams per day. To replace muscle creatine stores, the loading phase entails taking a higher dose for less time.

When you stop taking creatine supplements following the loading or maintenance phase, your muscle creatine levels will gradually drop to baseline. This reduction may take weeks or months, depending on creatine dose and duration.

Creatine impacts may cause changes or symptoms as muscle creatine levels drop. Some name these symptoms creatine withdrawal.

What are the Symptoms of Creatine Withdrawal?

Creatine can boost workout performance by fueling muscles. However, stopping creatine may reduce muscle energy. Therefore, this may increase weariness and decrease motivation to continue activities.

However, some of the common symptoms of creatine withdrawal are:


When you stop taking creatine supplements, you may have withdrawal symptoms. A creatine pill can boost muscular growth and performance. Consider its risks and interactions.

Muscle weakness

Creatine can enhance your ability to engage in intensity and prolonged workouts as it supplies additional energy to your muscles. However once you discontinue its usage your muscles may experience a decrease in energy potentially leading to increased fatigue and reduced motivation for physical activity.

Muscle loss

Creatine can boost your performance during workouts allowing you to engage in intense and prolonged exercises by providing an extra energy source for your muscles. However once you discontinue creatine usage the available energy for your muscles decreases, potentially resulting in increased fatigue and reduced motivation to continue exercising.

Brain fog

Creatine is known to enhance performance during prolonged workouts by supplying extra energy to your muscles. However once you stop using creatine your muscles may experience a decrease in energy leading to increased fatigue and decreased motivation for exercise.

Creatine withdrawal

Creatine is known to boost performance during workouts and prolong exercise duration by supplying extra energy to your muscles. However once you discontinue creatine usage your muscle energy levels may decrease, leading to feelings of fatigue and reduced motivation for activity.

How to Prevent or Minimize Creatine Withdrawal?

Creatine withdrawal is not a serious or life-threatening condition, but rather a temporary and reversible state that may cause some discomfort or inconvenience. However, there are some ways to prevent or minimize creatine withdrawal symptoms and make the transition easier and smoother. Here are some tips:

Taper off gradually

Of abruptly ceasing the use of creatine supplements it is advisable to gradually decrease the dosage, over a specific time frame until you eventually stop taking it altogether. This approach allows your body to adapt smoothly to the diminishing levels of creatine and prevents any sudden or jarring transitions.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water can prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalances caused by muscular water loss. Water also flushes creatinine and ammonia from your system, helping your kidneys and liver.

Eat a balanced diet

Making sure you drink an amount of water can help prevent dehydration and maintain the balance of electrolytes which can be disrupted due to loss of water from the muscles. Additionally water plays a role in supporting the proper functioning of your kidneys and liver by flushing out any excess creatinine and ammonia present, in your body.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise helps maintain and strengthen creatine-supplemented muscles. Exercise releases endorphins and other neurotransmitters that boost mood and energy. Exercise can also reduce tension and anxiety from creatine discontinuation.

Consult with your doctor

If you take medications or have health concerns that may compromise kidney or liver function, see your doctor before starting or quitting creatine supplementation. Based on your medical history and health, your doctor will recommend creatine supplement dosage and cycling. Blood tests let your doctor assess your kidneys and liver.


When you decide to discontinue the use of creatine supplements you may experience side effects or adjustments known as creatine withdrawal. Creatine like Creatine Monohydrate is a supplement that can enhance muscle development and performance. It is important to be mindful of potential drawbacks and interactions associated with its usage.

James Freeman


Liam Marshall, the friendly fitness coach, has spent 14 years sharing his love for sports and fitness. With degrees in sports science, he crafts workouts that fit like your favorite jeans. Beyond the gym, he organizes sports clinics and tech-savvy fitness apps that motivate people worldwide. He's all about making fitness doable for everyone, and it's not just about bodies – it's boosting confidence. In 2019, he scored the "Virginia Fitness Coach of the Year" award. Outside the fitness world, he loves family time and hikes in Shenandoah National Park. Liam's journey from a small-town fitness fan to a big-time coach is all about passion, inspiring people to see fitness as a body-and-mind thing. Catch him on Instagram to stay in the loop!