Diet and Nutrition

The Optimal Creatine Dosing Schedule

Most people just don’t know how to take creatine in the most efficient and cost effective manner. You can take creatine just about however way you like, but it is most likely not the most efficient way. This dosing schedule concentrates on efficiency, most people take far too much creatine, and a lot of it ends up in the toilet. Now, lets get started…

The typical creatine supplementation protocol begins with a loading dose of 20 g per day for 5 days. This is completely unnecessary. 5 days is over doing it, Although a 5-day loading period is most common, 2 days of loading has been shown to yield similar muscle creatine concentration and performance results.

Again, efficiency. Also, “A study by Green et al found that the addition of a carbohydrate solution (90 g four times daily during the loading phase) further enhanced the increase in muscle creatine concentration relative to taking creatine alone.”

This is usually followed by a “maintenance” dose of 5-10g per day, which is excessive, 2g per day is all that is needed.

“Muscle concentrations of creatine and PCr return to baseline levels approximately 28 days after discontinuing creatine supplementation.”

For those of you that oppose loading (for whatever reason, many people feel it’s dangerous, which has never been shown to be true), 3 g per day for 28 days results in muscle creatine concentrations similar to 2-5 days of loading.

“It is important to note, however, that skeletal muscle has a creatine storage capacity of 150 to 160 mmol/kg (normal is 125 mmol/kg), which makes over supplementation futile. This is important information for those who think that more is better. Any excess creatine ingestion will not further increase muscle creatine but will simply increase urinary creatine and creatinine excretion.”

Excretion of creatine by the kidneys at a rate of 1 to 2 g per day is via irreversible conversion to creatinine in skeletal muscle.

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So, now to wrap this article up…

The Optimal Creatine Dosing Schedule:

First 2 days of creatine supplementation – Load with 10g, 2 times a day (20g per day)

After the loading phase of 20 g daily for 2 days, maintenance should be 2 g per day, Any extra is simply urinated out.

Only repeat the loading phase if you discontinue use for more than 28 days.

Written by Justin Frank

Discuss, comment or ask a question

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References

1. Harris RC, Soderlund K, Hultman E: Elevation of creatine in resting and exercised muscle of normal subjects by creatine supplementation. Clin Sci (Colch) 1992;83(3):367-374

2.Casey A, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Howell S, et al: Creatine ingestion favorably affects performance and muscle metabolism during maximal exercise in humans. Am J Physiol 1996;271(1 pt 1):E31-E37

3.Hultman E, Soderlund K, Timmons JA, et al: Muscle creatine loading in men. J Appl Physiol 1996;81(1):232-237

4.Vandenberghe K, Goris M, Van Hecke P, et al: Long-term creatine intake is beneficial to muscle performance during resistance training. J Appl Physiol 1997;83(6):2055-2063

5.Vandenberghe K, Van Hecke P, Van Leemputte M, et al: Phosphocreatine resynthesis is not affected by creatine loading. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999;31(2):236-242

6.Juhn MS, O’Kane JW, Vinci DM: Oral creatine supplementation in male collegiate athletes: a survey of dosing habits and side effects. J Am Diet Assoc 1999;99(5):593-595

7.Green AL, Hultman E, Macdonald IA, et al: Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation during creatine supplementation in humans. Am J Physiol 1996;271(5 pt 1):E821-E826

8.Febbraio MA, Flanagan TR, Snow RJ, et al: Effect of creatine supplementation on intramuscular TCr, metabolism and performance during intermittent, supramaximal exercise in humans. Acta Physiol Scand 1995;155(4):387-395