The Mythical Creatine Dosage and How You Can Get it Just Right for You

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 seen the creatine dosage listed below?  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.

creatine dosage

A Typical Recommended Creatine Dosage is 5 grams. But did you know that is for a 367 lb person? It’s not considering a high dose but it’s really unnecessary. You can use a lot less creatine and get results. Learn how to find the right creatine dosage for you based on your body weight.

 

A creatine dosage is commonly between 2-25 grams a day depending on your body weight, the stage you are in and any special circumstances.  The more muscle mass you have, the greater the requirement for creatine.  The information below is not your typical creatine 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?

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 creatine 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 grams of creatine per day for everybody is well off the mark.

An over consumption of creatine:

  • 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 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.

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 of creatine 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 levels of creatine.  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, creatine dose of 0.045 grams of creatine per kilogram of bodyweight 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 creatine dose only needs to cover the amount of creatine lost per day.  This phase lasts about 3 to 5 weeks before taking a break from creatine supplementation called the Washout Phase.

How Do You Calculate Your Personal Creatine Dosage

During the loading phase take 0.3 grams of creatine for each kilogram that you weigh. Reduce the dosage to 0.03 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight during the maintenance phase; 10-times less.

Daily creatine dose according to bodyweight

   Weight        
Pounds100110120130140150160170180190200
Kilograms45.45054.55963.668.172.777.281.886.390.9
Dose (grams)
Loading13.61516.317.71920.421.823.124.525.927.2
Maintenance1.361.51.631.771.92.042.182.312.452.592.72
This table gives creatine doses during the loading and maintenance phases of supplementation for a range of body weights.

Creatine is rather insoluble. Five grams of creatine requires at least 13 ounces (385 mLs) of liquid to go completely into 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 creatine dosage.

Do You Need to Take Creatine Every Day?

Your creatine stores won’t empty in a day or two if you miss a creatine dose.  It takes about a month for your creatine stores to return to normal.

The Washout Phase – When to Stop Taking Creatine

After 4-6 weeks of supplementation, stop taking creatine.  This allows your body to recover and return to normal levels.  This phase lasts for about 1 month. Some research has shown that creatine 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!

Comments

  1. i dont want to gain too much weight , so i mix my creatine with a low carb protein shake and water . will it still give me the same benifits?

    • Absolutely. As long as your muscles reach saturation and you are a creatine responder, you’ll reap the benefits. Mixing it with a low carb protein shake and water will not negate the benefits.

  2. I’ve had problems with creatine from the beginning. I began around a month ago “loading” with a 10mg dose for a week. This caused bloatedness and diarrhea. After that week I used a 5mg dose which after a month caused constipation even though I was drinking insane amounts of water. I would fall asleep then wake up thirsty and with a full bladder. I found I was getting lower back pain but found out by trial and error that drinking even more water would alleviate the discomfort so I think it might have really been kidney discomfort which is the best way I can describe it. Now I’m thinking of not using creatine for a week and then only using 2mg but not sure If I’m just more sensitive to it than others. I weight 170 pounds and It has had incredible physuical results on me. Any advice appreciated.

    • Try using micronized creatine that has a label on it that says “Creapure.” Probably a wee bit more expensive but the micronization may help alleviate the bloating issues. Creapure is a trademark name that means it is produced in Germany. Short of that, you could just be more sensitive to creatine in gerneral. And if that is the case, I’d discontinue the use. This all assumes you have regular physical check ups and that your kidneys are indeed functioning as they should and you have no pre-existing issues. In summary, look for a brand that says Micronized and Creapure on the label. One such brand that Consumerlab.com shows to meet the label standards and my recommendations above is ON™ Micronized Creatine Powder.

  3. I’m 170 pounds of with veruly little fat and staybim the gym regularly should I stick to 5g or more?

    • 5g is plenty for your body-weight. It is more than sufficient to produce results if you are indeed, a creatine responder. Unless you are in the short loading phase, stick with 5g. While it is technically more than you would need, it’s not anywhere near what would be considered a dangerous level. 5g is standard and covers anybody up to about 240lbs or so. Easier for the supplement companies to say “5g per dose” than give people some complicated formula they will never be able to follow. Stick with 5g as you do not need more.

  4. Hi! I’m currently using a Monohydrate Creatine Creapure. I have skipped the loading phase because I definitely don’t want to be bloated.
    I am a 5’8 168lbs male, I still have the “Belly” and some love handles so bloating is a big no-no.
    I am taking 2-3grams a day.
    What other tips can you recommend so that we can avoid the bloating?
    Thanks for the really informative post!

    • You can avoid or reduce potential bloating by taking micronized creatine monohydrate (look specifically for the word micronized which just means it’s really small particles). Look for the Creapure brand name (German based manufacturer) as to ensure you are getting legit stuff. A bit more expensive but you want pure monohydrate, no fillers, no adds, no cheap companies trying to reduce costs. Ensure you are hydrated. Bloating for the most part is either taking too much and causing stomach discomfort (the loading phase is where most people feel it), using cheap product or not trying a micronized version to see if that helps. If you stick to smaller doses, a Creapure micronized version, skip the loading phase, you should be okay. 2-3 grams a day is okay. It’s the 15+ grams a day (loading phase) is where people usually experience bloating issues.

  5. Big Parm says:

    Really great and informative post; straight and right to the point with no unnecessary fillers. Thank you!

  6. Do you know anything about creatine causing hairloss? Thanks

  7. If my protein have 2,5gr creatine in each scoop and i took 3times a day, can i take creatine again ? I had creatine mono creapure before i bought this protein. Thanks

    • No need to take it again. In theory, you’ve already had 7.5g in a day which is more than enough to saturate your muscles. Personally I avoid proteins with additives so I can control my intakes. In your case, there’s no need to further supplement with additional Creatine if the protein you consume has 2.5g per serving and you take that 3 days a day.

  8. Lovepreet says:

    Hii
    I used creatine for 2 months
    Now I stopped it for past 16 days
    So now again am strting to taking it ,,will 10grams of creatine per day for 10 days can do the reloading for me ??
    Plz rpy need an answer
    Tnks

    • It takes about 30 days for your normal Creatine levels to return to normal after you stop supplementation. If you stopped 16 days ago and are going to start up again, you can skip the loading phase. ~5g a day (plenty for most people) will work just fine.

  9. vivek verma says:

    can we take cretaine with weight gainer ?

  10. Hi.. I’m starting off on creatine… But don’t no what dosage to take and when to take it… I go gym 4 times a week… I don’t want to load up… So how much do I take a day? How many doses and when is best to take it?? Much appreciated… And what’s it best taken with..?

    • No need to load up. Loading only gets you to muscle saturation quicker but is not required. In fact, some people with so much creatine in a day have stomach issues where they are fine if they skip the loading phase. 5g in a single dose per day is more than enough unless you are over 400lbs. Best taken post workout with your workout shake. That’s typical. Although it’s all about muscle saturation so you can take it any time. It’s not a pre-workout boosting supplement so timing isn’t as critical. Saturation is. It’s best taken with warm water, hot tea or your whey protein shake. As long as it’s properly mixed you should reap the benefits.

  11. I see a lot of differences in the web like this one which states;

    “Humans carry about two grams of creatine per kilogram of lean muscle mass (one gram per pound). The maximum we can put into muscles is about 3g/kg (1.4g/lb)[47]. To hit this level, a 150 pound male would need about 25 grams of creatine supplementation.Mar 6, 2013”

    is this completlly wrong?

    • It the article means, 25g of creatine supplementation per week to maintain a saturation level, sure, I can believe that. Your muscles can only store so much and that is dependent on your body weight. By default, we create some creatine naturally and it’s found in various foods (most notable red meat). The purpose of supplementation is to achieve saturation levels that are very difficult to obtain purely thru foods. 25g of creatine a week if that’s even what the frame of reference of the statements above refers to, would be difficult to obtain thru a diet. Personally, red meat contains the most and I’m not eating a steak nightly. There is a maximum amount your muscle can hold. Once saturated, additional creatine serves no purpose. 5g a day for the average person is more than enough to be effective and not be anywhere near a dangerous level (assuming you have no preexisting conditions and are a creatine responder).

  12. hi my self shanty. my waight is 68 kg, now i m going to take start creatine. plz suggest me how many times should i take creatine in a day..

    • You can do 3-5g per day for 5 days (loading phase) and then ~3-5g once per day onwards. If you choose not to do the loading phase, it still works. Just takes longer to saturate the muscles. Creatine is all about muscle saturation. 5g is more than ample for most people up to ~350lbs.

  13. Im 173 lbs 5’7 i go to the gym six days a week, how much creatine should i take and still be safe from any damage on the long run.

    • Assuming you are free from any pre-existing kidney conditions, 5g a day is more than enough to enjoy the benefits. Roughly 33% of people don’t respond to regular creatine monohydrate. But the standard 5g, while more than enough for somebody up to 350lbs, will get the job done. Creatine is about muscle saturation. Once you’ve reached that point, more doesn’t help. You simply need to maintain. 5g is plenty.

  14. Daniel Casillas says:

    I’m 5’11 190 lbs. how much creatine do I take a day for the loading phase and the m phase?

    • 25.9g for the loading phase per day and 2.59g per day for the maintenance. As you can see this is pretty specific. Most products just recommend 5g a day 4 times a day for the loading and 5g a day for the maintenance. Close enough and no thought required. But that is the specific dosage if you want to extend your creatine. You only need 1/2 the recommended dosage that most products say just for the maintenance phase! 5g just covers a body type well beyond 250 lbs.

  15. Pedro Acobes says:

    Hi, I’m 6’4 205.
    How much creatine do I need for loading and maintenance?
    And how many days the loading?
    I work out Monday through Friday
    Rest on the weekend

    • About 27.2g for the loading phase taking 4x a day for 5 days (workout or not). Spread out the loading dosages ~7g in about 4 hour spaces during your day. Then 2.72g a day thereafter for maintenance usually taken after a workout and whenever on non-workout days. Maintain that 2.72g dosage even on the weekends to keep your muscles saturated with creatine.

  16. HI DAVID ,

    I’M 72KG AND I DO WORKOUT FOR 6 DAY PER WEEK
    SO NOW I’VE CONSUMED A MONOHYDRATE CREATINE CONTINUOUSLY FOR 12 DAYS ABOUT 5 GRAMS A DAY & TOTALLY 60 GRAMS TILL NOW.
    WHETHER ITS OK ARE NOT. SO WHAT’S NEXT DO I NEED A BREAK OR WHAT & HOW LONG IT NEEDED.

    FTER A BREAK PER DAY HOW MUCH SHOULD I CONSUME …!1111

    • 5g a day as a maintenance once your muscles are saturated with creatine is fine. 12 days of 5 grams a day is fine. Slower than the loading phase but fine. Once you reach that saturation point, taking more does not help. I like to cycle on it for 3 months and then off for at least 1 month. Some people never cycle. There’s no evidence to suggest you must take a break. I like to as a personal preference. While I use it for 3 on – 1 off, you can adjust as you see fit. The reason I cycle it is because I like to experience all the feelings at the beginning of a creatine cycle. Feeling pumped, stronger, etc. And I don’t like taking supplements other than fish oil and protein long term without breaks. But again, personal preference, no evidence to suggest long term usage of 5g a day has any unwanted side effects.

  17. My daughter wants to take it …she is a track runner. She is about 140 pounds so should she take 2-3 g a day , should she do the loading dose and how much? Is it only after work outs. Do you recommend pills instead of powder for HS athletes? Is there a brand you recommend?

  18. Mohammad S Khalil says:

    Hey Mark, I am an 7th grader who recently joined football after quitting after 6th grade to play soccer.Football is taken very seriously here, and we lift every day. After joining I was notably weaker and I waited a week and didn’t get much stronger. My friends suggested supplements and creatine looked like the best. I am a receiver and quite skinny, 103 pounds. How much creatine should I take and is there anything I should drink it with? Not looking to try steroids likes me of my friends so creatine looks like the best option.please reply soon

    • As a 7th grader, I wouldn’t recommend any supplements except copious amounts of food (not weight gainers) and a solid muscle building program. Not the answer I’m sure you want, I understand, but when I was in high school at 130 lbs myself, my biggest problem was not eating enough and not doing an actual structured weight training routine. Loved weights but I wasn’t consistent. I liked to eat but I didn’t eat enough and my appetite didn’t prompt me to eat more. Creatine is a great supplement and has many additional health benefits but at your age, youth can’t be beat. I’d like to see your focus on the fundamentals for about 10 years before dabbing in the world of supplementation.

  19. I am 6 feet 140 pounds and I just started talking creating 4 days ago. Gaining weight has always been a struggle bc of fast metabolism. I am working out 4-5 days a week. So far I have been taking 3 grams after a work out. Is that a good amount? Do I take it on off days? Also when should I take a break from it and how long should that break be? Thanks!!

  20. Hi im 26 and weighs about 145-147lbs. Ive been taking 2 teaspoons of allmax creatine mono with my amino energy pre workout. I go to the gym 4-5 times a week for about an hour and a half each time for about 2 months now. When and how long should i stop taking creatine? And how much shpuld i start taking when i get back on creatine again.

  21. I’m 64 at 200lbs. 5.6″ tall I workout 3 times a week. How much cretine per gram and how many takes a day? Thanks

Speak Your Mind

*