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How long does creatine stay in your system?

If you have been taking creatine supplements, how long should it take before it leaves your system and your body's creatine levels return to normal?
asked in Sports & Fitness by questionking (2,592 points)
edited by egoastra

5 Answers

+2 votes
Once you have stopped taking creatine supplements it should take between 2-3 weeks (14-21 days) for your creatine levels to be back to normal.

Creatine is broken down by the kidneys, into creatinine, and then passes through your blood and urine. If your kidneys aren't funcitoning normally then more if it can be found in your blood than in your urine.
answered by chris (1,022 points)
0 votes
Two to three weeks in your blood stream and about 2 hours in your urine.
answered by jimmy (170 points)
0 votes
Your body creates creatine naturally to supply energy for cells, especially muscle cells. If you have taken more creatine than your body naturally produces, and depending on the amount of time and amount of increase to your creatine levels, all should be back to normal in about 21 days (3 weeks).

Now, your kidneys and liver will flush the majority of the extra (usually a large part of the uncirculated blood) creatine in your body in about 2-3 days. Since a previous large dose of creatine had raised your creatine levels, this may take the 21 days to fully recover. This is an approximation because not all our bodies function alike.

If you are experiencing water weight-gain, due to the increase in creatine in your body, this should return to normal (your weight) within a few days.
answered by tamim (165 points)
0 votes
To find out how long creatine stays in your system one must identify many variables to be able to determine a fairly accurate time frame. For starters, if you have been taking creatine for a few days; it can take only a few days or even one day (depending on your system as not all body systems are the same).

Secondly, if you have been taking creatine supplements for two months on and one month off (as most people tend to do); then you can assume that it would take almost one month to have the extra creatine in your system.

Keep in mind though that ALL this depends on your individual body system type because not all bodies are alike.
answered by manuel (346 points)
0 votes
The time it take for excess creatine to be expelled by your system depends on many factors: how long your have been taking creatine, how much more creatine have you been intaking, how active you are, and how your system deals with creatine in general; each person's system deals with creatine in its very own unique way.

Have you been taking creatine (usualy dosage is about 2-3 times that which is normal for your body to produce) for about two months? If so, then it could take up to one month for your creatine levels to get back to normal, this is also the delay and cycle that is recommended to people from personal trainers.

The reason it takes so long for your body to recover normal levels of creatine is because your body stores creatine, especially extra creatine, in the skeletal muscles where they become harder to expel by just your system. The initial excess intake can be expelled from the body with a few hours or a couple of days, once you have urinated, but the creatine which is stored requires muscle contractions to use it up.

If you haven't been taking creatine supplements for very long, say only a couple of weeks tops, then it should take considerably less time than 1 month to get back to normal. In that case then it should only take one week (at the most) to return to normal.
answered by steve (580 points)

Additional Information

Creatine in a Nutshell

Creatine is, technically, always found in your system since it is required for motor activity (contracting your muscles). Creatine occurs naturally in vertebrates (which includes humans) and is stored in skeletal muscle (primarily), ready to be used as energy by muscles to contract, so your body always has creatine in it. It is synthesized by the kidneys and the liver and transported to muscles to be stored for later use. It is created using proteins from the foods we eat.

Increased Creatine Levels Due to Supplement Intake

Creatine supplements are taken to increase the level of creatine in the body to levels of up to 2-3 times the normal levels. These types of supplements are taken by various athletes, bodybuilders, weightlifters, and others, to gain more muscle mass. By increasing the levels of creatine in your system you allow your muscles more of a "burst" when they are contracting their muscles offering more energy when it is needed, muscle mass is then gained due to this increase of energy (because more work can be done). To maintain an elevated level of creatine in the body, supplements should be taken every 3-6 hours; this is due to the fact that the body eliminates any excess creatine in the body (usually through urination). By continuing this supplement intake routine for approximately 1-2 weeks, one may reach the maximum individual bodily intake of creatine and need not take as much creatine as previously to maintain these levels. Your body will have adapted to the extra creatine and will also begin to store more of it in muscle (and other) tissues. Note, however, that each person's system is different and may deal with extra creatine in different ways. Time frames and levels are based on averages, some scoring differently than others. Once your body has stored more creatine, it may begin to store more water as well. This is a period of time when, most people taking creatine supplements for the first time, begin to ponder whether to continue their intake

Flushing of Creatine by the Body

Creatine is taken as a supplement to help muscle endurance, during an exercise, training program, and other activities or sports, and allows the person taking it to do more when exerting their body with activity (e.g. muscle contractions). So, if you are doing a lot of activity, your body will be using the creatine which is available in your blood stream, and thus reduce the total amount of excess creatine in your system. It does this by converting (in a non-permanent way) into ATP which the muscles need as energy at the time of strenuous bodily activity. What creatine is left over after storage, and energy demands by muscles, is then flushed within a few days (usually between 2-6 days) by urination.