Best Creatine Supplements of 2022
About Creatine Supplements
How Much Creatine Should You Take?
The common advice you will hear on creatine dosage is to take 5 grams of creatine per day. That dosage will work, MacDonald says, but there’s a more effective way to ensure your muscles are saturated with creatine.
“The fastest way to saturate muscle with creatine is to consume 20g or ~0.3 grams per kg of body weight per day of creatine monohydrate for seven days,” MacDonald explains. So if you weigh 60 kg (132 pounds), you would take 18 grams of creatine daily for a week. MacDonald recommends dividing this into 4 doses per day to reduce the chances of gastrointestinal distress.
After seven days, you can go down to a maintenance dose of one tenth of that (0.03 grams/kg body weight per day). So using the example of a 60kg person, that would be 1.8 grams per day. There’s no harm in taking the standard dose of 5 grams a day, MacDonald says, but you don’t need much to maintain your levels.
Are there any side effects to taking creatine?
As mentioned above, higher doses of creatine (more than 5 grams at a time) can cause digestive discomfort. Also, don’t be surprised if you see the scale jump right after you start taking creatine. This can lead to water weight gain because your muscles retain more water than usual. But in terms of health, studies have shown that you can safely take up to 30g a day for at least 5 years.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t take creatine?
Experts point out that overall, creatine is a safe supplement to take. “The only caveat worth mentioning is for those with pre-existing kidney problems,” MacDonald says. If you have kidney problems, it is a good idea to consult your doctor before starting creatine. Additionally, those taking medications should always consult their doctor before using them, adds Vichill.
How long should creatine supplements be taken?
You can take creatine indefinitely. “In fact, long-term supplementation has been shown to have lasting improvements in performance and a positive effect on lean body mass over time,” Asche says.
Do you need to cycle creatine doses?
You may see recommendations for creatine cycling, for example, supplement for 12 weeks, then take 4 weeks off. The reason behind this was that since we produce less of our own creatine when supplementing, it would be a good idea to give your body a break to “recover” and start producing more creatine again. But that advice is outdated and unnecessary, MacDonald says. “While we produce less creatine in our bodies when we take supplements, it goes right back up every time we stop taking creatine.”
What kinds of fitness goals is creatine supplementation good for?
Creatine supplementation makes the most sense for people who want to improve athletic performance, maintain muscle mass (including after injury), or gain muscle mass. If you’re trying to lose weight, for example, taking creatine may be unnecessary, says Abby Vichill, MS, RDN, LD, founder of FWDfuel Sports Nutrition.
It should also be noted that creatine must be combined with proper training and nutrition to achieve the best results. Simply taking creatine without following a diet to promote lean muscle gain, or without training in the right capacity, won’t magically skyrocket your performance or results, says Vichill.
Are there other benefits of taking creatine?
Along with sports performance and muscle gains from creatine, there have been a host of discoveries related to creatine health and use, according to MacDonald. Creatine is also found in the brain, and research in young children with traumatic brain injuries has shown that creatine can help reduce post-traumatic amnesia, time needed in an intensive care unit, and time needed to communication and locomotion recovery, MacDonald said. “This led to current research into the use of creatine in sports that lead to regular concussions such as rugby and boxing.” Likewise, some research shows that using creatine may show promise for other brain problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.