If you ask “how much creatine should I take?” Invariably the answer given is 5 grams as a typical creatine dosage.
But did you know it’s WRONG? (it’s generally acceptable but technically incorrect)
Have You Ever Heard the Creatine Dosage of 5 grams?
I’m sure you have as it’s the most common recommended serving size given verbally and on almost every single brand of creatine monohydrate you can purchase.
Dosage is commonly between 2-25 grams a day (5 gram is an average recommended amount) depending on your body weight, the stage you are in, and any special circumstances.
Read the comment section on the dosage argument HERE !
The more muscle mass you have, the greater the requirement for creatine supplements.
The information below is not your typical dosage that you see on almost any website or products.
To date, there’s been no negative effects reported by such a higher dosage so there’s no real reason to change it.
Keep in mind that almost every study to date has not measured the long term effects of a 5 gram a day creatine dosage.
It’s just nobody has any negative consequences yet after 15 or more years being on the market so it’s generally accepted as safe.
Why Almost Everybody Says 5 Grams of Creatine per Day
The 5 gram daily maintenance dose that every company says to take and almost every fitness professional asked will tell you is the daily dosage is wrong.
But the real reason nobody is going to change it is because it’s too difficult to re-educate the consumer and if you recommend such a dosage, it’s going to work for 99% of the population that would take it and respond to creatine.
Hence, the shotgun approach to supplementation.
So how much creatine can your body absorb?
Image credit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123964540000400
Bottom line, it depends on your overall body weight which determines your maintenance dosage. A person who’s 250 lbs will require more than a person who is 130 lbs to maintain muscle saturation (the ultimate goal of creatine supplementation).
Once you’ve reach the saturation point, if the muscle can’t hold anymore, it won’t keep it and will flush out any excess creatine. Look at the table below to find your perfect dosage based on your body weight. Any more and you are wasting the product. Too much and it can technically be dangerous.
The Drawbacks to an Improper Creatine Dosage
Unused (not absorbed excess creatine) ends up in the toilet. It puts stress on the kidneys and other filtering organs to eliminate it. It’s a waste of product.
So if you really only need 2.5 g a day dosage based on body weight but all the labels tell you take 5 grams, you are wasting 2.5 grams and putting a small bit of unnecessary stress on your body. It’s worth the effort to get it right rather.
Unlike protein where 1g per 1 lb of body weight is actually pretty accurate, 5 g. per day for everybody is well off the mark.
An over consumption:
- reduces the efficiency of creatine absorption by muscle,
- over-supplementation is (athletically) futile,
- (physiologically) stressful and
- (economically) wasteful
Creatine Loading Explained
First it’s important to mention you do not need to load creatine for it to be effective.
This creatine loading phase is optional. Almost every study done starts off with the loading phase.
This is a quick way to get your muscles saturated with creatine. It’s important to note that your body can only absorb so much at one time. 5 grams is correct for the average sized male.
So there’s no need to take too much at one time during the loading phase.
The idea is to split up the dosage during the day. You get the muscles to the saturation point much faster and you start receiving the benefits quicker.
How Long is the Loading Phase
If you use the loading phase, in about 5 days give or take a day, your muscles are at full capacity.
At which point, they can be maintained with just a few grams a day.
The stage after the loading phase is called the maintenance phase. You can skip the loading phase and just start with a maintenance phase and still derive the full benefits of creatine supplementation.
Creatine Dosage for Weight Lifting
Is A Higher Solution All You Need? In recent years, there has been a surge in the number of people using creatine, for a variety of reasons. The primary one being that it’s one of the fastest-growing supplements in the US, seeing an explosion in sales, particularly amongst bodybuilders and powerlifters. However, the surge in popularity of creatine has also seen the popularity of much more advanced powders, which use a much higher dosage than traditional brands. Are they effective? First of all, it’s worth highlighting that It has been around for a long time, albeit as a research tool, before being moved into consumer products.
And it is that research that’s behind much of the marketing for some of these so-called “pure” products. Such supplements are often promoted as containing no fillers, hormones, or other substances that people associate with steroids or other types of performance-enhancing drugs. However, while we cannot verify the lack of those things in those supplements, we can look at the amount of creatine in the product. The reason for this is that monohydrate, or CHM, is used to build muscle by binding to proteins in the body that are critical for muscle protein synthesis. When this occurs, muscles grow. So by increasing the amount of monohydrate in the body, you can ensure that the muscle cells are receiving an adequate amount of the compound. Therefore, can be seen as the amount needed for the desired effect. With that said, it is also important to note that when you increase the dosage, you also increase the amount converted to creatine phosphate (which is the active form of the compound), which impacts performance. This article does not examine the benefits and side effects of the loading phase. For example, if you take a dose of 1 gram, it will be broken down to creatine phosphate in your bloodstream.
Is the Loading Phase Really Necessary?
To load or not to load, that is a matter of personal decision and your tolerance to higher levels initially. On one hand, the loading phase will aid in results happening quicker.
On the other hand, if you omit the loading phase you will put less stress on the kidneys (renal) and reduce overall stress on your filtering organs. Most of the stomach discomfort people report are is their intolerance to high creatine levels.
Skipping the loading phase can help with that situation. Because of the increased susceptibility of older people to kidney dysfunction, anyone over 70 years of age is strongly encouraged to skip the loading phase.
If you skip the loading phase, a dose of 0.045 g. per kilogram of body weight is recommended for 4- 5 weeks before incorporating the washout phase explained below.
The Maintenance Phase Explained
You can take just a few grams a day and in about 20 days or so, you’ll be at maximum levels. The dose only needs to cover the amount of lost per day.
This phase lasts about 3 to 5 weeks before taking a break from creatine sports nutrition called the Washout Phase.
How Do You Calculate Your Personal Creatine Dosage
The loading, phase takes 0.3 g. for each kilogram that you weigh. Reduce the dosage to 0.03 g. per kilogram of body weight during the maintenance phase; 10-times less.
Daily creatine dose according to body weight:
This table gives doses during the loading and maintenance phases of supplementation for a range of body weights.
It is rather insoluble. Five grams requires at least 13 ounces (385 mLs) of liquid to go completely into the solution. Therefore, mix your creatine in at least 13-16 ounces (474 mLs) of liquid.
When is the Best Time to Take Creatine
Take one part of your loading dose and your entire maintenance dose immediately after exercise. Include carbohydrates and protein in these meals. If you aren’t doing the loading phase, then just take your calculated dosage.
Do You Need to Take Creatine Every Day?
Your creatine stores won’t empty in a day or two if you miss a dose. It takes about a month for your stores to return to normal.
The Washout Phase – When to Stop Taking Creatine
After 4-6 weeks of supplementation, stop taking. This allows your body to recover and return to normal levels. This phase lasts for about 1 month. Some research has shown that levels drop in muscle even with continual supplementation. This is reason alone to stop using creatine for a short period so that the effects and levels and results can be achieved again.
This is a good little summary of creatine monohydrate by About.com
Questions? Comments? Tried Creatine yet? What are your results? Thoughts? Share!