T Nation

Acid Reflux/GERD and Creatine?


Hello all,

I'm not entirely sure where I should post this topic, but I know that there are a lot of competent people hanging around here, so I hope to get some feedback to my dilemma.

I'm a recreational powerlifter. About three weeks ago (one week prior to a meet), I began having symptoms of what I believed might be heartburn: basically problems swallowing, burping and a burning sensation in my throat. This didn't necessarily occur following a meal and generally began to appear in the late afternoon and last into the evening. It wasn't exacerbated by lying down. I hadn't changed my diet at all prior to that, although my stress levels were probably heightened (with contest prep, personal issues and work).

Fast-forward to now: I've been on herbal digestive aids since symptoms began and the problems have become less persistent, although I've had a couple of annoying bouts of difficulty swallowing and a burning throat here and there. So I know that it isn't really better yet. Interestingly, I've never had any chest pains or other digestive problems that seem to be associated with heartburn.

I'm beginning to wonder, though, if my problems have been brought on by creatine monohydrate. I began supplementing again with creatine about a month ago for the first time in years. I was once under the impression that I was a "non-responder", but after reading a bit about this, I thought I'd give it another go. Recently, I read about a condition known as "GERD" (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which presents similar symptoms to mine, and that creatine has been known to exacerbate this. Does anyone know about this reaction to creatine?

At the moment I'm somewhat stumped. I don't think I have any serious condition, but it would be nice to rule out GERD, a hiatus hernia or anything else. Unfortunately, I'm under the impression that many doctors are quite incompetent in diagnosing and treating gastroesophageal issues.

If anyone can speak from experience and let me know how I might be able to alleviate these problems, I'd greatly appreciate it.


I can’t speak to the creatine, but my girl has had GERD all her life. It doesn’t affect it too much, there’s really only 2 things she does to control it

  1. Wait some time (45 min - 1 hr) between eating and laying down
  2. Not overeat and stuff herself

Neither of those is really a hindrance to her life. I can see the second being an issue if you’re bulking or if you IF.


[quote]1 Man Island wrote:
I can’t speak to the creatine, but my girl has had GERD all her life. It doesn’t affect it too much, there’s really only 2 things she does to control it

  1. Wait some time (45 min - 1 hr) between eating and laying down
  2. Not overeat and stuff herself

Neither of those is really a hindrance to her life. I can see the second being an issue if you’re bulking or if you IF.[/quote]

Cool man, thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m reluctant to immediately point the finger at GERD since I’ve only really had acute symptoms for a couple of weeks, but I was asthmatic as a kid and battled chronic sore throats a couple of years back, which went undiagnosed.

I really think, though, that whatever I have is exacerbated by eating a lot. I’m trying to get back on the gain train at the moment and was also eating a lot prior to my last competition… Will try to monitor this.


Aight, so just wanted to throw out a quick update: I can’t claim to attribute these GERD-like symptoms to creatine, since they seem to be independent of whether I take it on a particular day or not. I’ll have to get to the bottom of them; I think that the problems have improved a smidge since onset, but after a few good days, I had a bit of an “attack” on Friday and then a small episode last night. The symptoms seem to come up in the evening regardless of what I eat.

Also, I’ve tried taking apple cider vinegar in water three times a day directly before meals. I’m unsure if this has helped. Has anyone got experience using this protocol?

Will keep you all posted, thanks for tuning in!


I would try Betaine HCL with meals, and it could also be esophageal spasms.


I am a Dr. (eye dr. so slightly outside my area of specialty) I took creatine and the next day, developed a horrible relapse of my GERD which took 3 days and lots of Nexium and otc antacids to get rid of. Chest pain and stomach pain. After returning to normal, I re challenged with creatine with the same results. I will not take again. May be fine for young people without pre-existing GERD but I am 58 and I would caution other older individuals with reflux. Would be interested if others had same problem. I short visit to Google suggests I am not alone.


I’m 30 year and have dealt with GERD since early teens. Mine mostly effects me at night I some times wake up having breathed in acid from the reflux and immeditially run to the bathroom to throw up. Now this doesn’t happen to often as long as I watch my diet and never eat before bed I normally give it at the minimum an hour. But I have had issues with Creatine. But i respond very well to it so after some self experimentation, I’ve found what works for me. I only take it after a workouts and with grape juice or Apple juice never… And I mean never with any acid based juice such as orange. It also works well mixed into an after workout shake with milk peanut butter and oats and some protein powder. But I only do this is its early enough in the day. I work 6am to 230pm so most days I’m at the gym and done by 6. Plenty of time not to have any GERD issues. But if I know it’ll a late night gym session I’ll make sure to get my daily Creatine dose in the morning with some form of juice. So pretty much don’t take it at night


Try this “water trick”

Don’t drink fluids 15 min before meals, or 20 min after eating.

Free, super simple, and incredibly effective (for me anyway).

I was given this advice by John Meadows back in October… it was intended to help my appetite (which it did), but also had the welcomed side effect of getting me off a 3+ year addiction to PPI’s & acid reducers (was taking Nexium, Zantac, Rolaids, Alka-Seltzer daily). My heartburn/reflux was completely out of control… often interrupted sleep, made me limit physical activity (including sex)… I ultimately ended up with intestinal infections (because I was lowering my stomach acid so far below natural levels with the drugs) that landed me in the ER.

My guess? I was inadvertently diluting my stomach acid because “water’s good for you”… resulting in a rebound/reflux effect. But like all things… timing is key. It took a few weeks, and I weaned off the drugs gradually (first the nexium, then the zantac, then the otc stuff)… but I’ve been off of all them since November of last year, and haven’t had a problem since. I will say the reflux made my esophagus swollen too (difficulty swallowing), which instinctually makes you want to drink while eating… but if you slow down, taken small bites (and hydrate enough away from meals)… your saliva will do it’s job getting the food down, and in time the swelling will eventually subside.

If it works, I’d highly suggest a membership to his site, there’s tons of info on digestive health and that shit (all puns intended) has quite literally changed my life… and I can’t not plug him after being such a big help.

Good luck man!

P.S. I’ve since used creatine with no issue too.
P.P.S I have a large hiatal hernia too (controlled fine when I don’t overeat)


I’ve never tried the water trick look forward to trying