HOW TO TAKE CREATINE

If you have ever taken supplements, you probably know creatine. You probably heard about creatine loading as well. There is a lot of misinformation regarding the usage of creatine out there. Let’s look at the best practices to use creatine.


  • Loading

Most people know that when they start taking creatine, they should start with a loading phase. A loading phase is a short time period where, instead of the normal daily dose of 5-10 g you take 20-30 g a day. This way creatine’s effects on performance will show up faster.

But should we load creatine?

The answer is yes – and no. If you want to feel creatine’s postive effects sooner, than a 5-7 days long loading period is a good idea. During this period take 5 g of creatine 4-6 times a day. After the initial 5-7 days, a daily dose of 5 g will be sufficient (10 g if your bodyweight is close to 100 kg).

But never forget: building muscle and strength is a slow process. Therefore if you want creatine to exert it’s effect on muscle building and strength you should take creatine for long periods of time. For example if you buy 1 kg of creatine, that’s going to last 200 days (5 g / day). Should you load creatin for 5 days, 20 g / day, you still have 900 g of creatine, which will last for another 180 days (again 5 g / day).

Your muscles will not be built in the first 5 days, buti n the subsequent 180 days where you train hard and eat right while taking creatine. To be honest, if you do it properly for 180 days, there will be no difference whether you took the first 100 g in 5 days or in 20 days. Building muscle and strength is a long process.

I understand, feeling that fast initial improvement from loading creatine is great – so go for a loading if you wish, just don’t forget about the remainig half year that is necessary to build true muscle and strength.


  • Carbohydrates

You can buy very expensive creatine „formulas” with special „creatine transport systems” – which usually means that the product is loaded with sugar. Muscles take up creatine from our bloodstream with the help of transport proteins, and these proteins work harder when insulin is present. Creatine uptake and retention is increased in a hyperinsulinemic state. 

However, you should not drink 80 g of glucose with every 5 g of creatine. That is a great way to experience water retention (commonly though of as the side efefct of creatine, but it’s actually the side effect of big amoutns of sugar). Take your creatine supplement after a meal that has some carbs in it. That’s it.


  • pH adjusted/neutral creatine

There are lots of „Krea-Alkalyn” supplements or other „pH adjusted/neutral” creatine formulas. The concept is that creatine is destroyed by our stomach acid (which is true, creatine breaks down in acidic pH). Therefore if we decrease the stomach’s acidity, creatine uptake and bioavailability will increase.


The problem with that is that first of all, the breakdown of creatine is not an instantaneous reaction – it takes time, so creatine has time to be absorbed. The other problem is, that pH neutral creatine is usually creatine-monohydrate and baking soda mixed together. You need huge amounts of baking soda to achive even a slight change in the acidity of our stomach, so the amount in these products has probably no effect. What is even more is that creatine-monohydrate, all by itself work perfectly fine – it has been proven several times in multiple studies.


So, don’t take your creatine with orange juice or with cola. Otherwise, eating creatine after a meal helps it’s absobtion as our stomach acidity is lower (and if we ate some carbs, our insulin is increased).



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