Ask True Nutrition #5: Creatine Loading

Creatine monohydrate is the most frequently studied form of creatine due to the promising results it has shown in athletic performance during resistance exercise and training1,2. Creatine may require proper loading and cycling in order to achieve the desired results, which has left many wondering about the specific dosing and timing requirements. One of the most frequent questions that we have received over the years deals with this exact question:

What do you guys recommend for creatine loading?

Creatine is a naturally-occurring nutrient that is produced in the liver and kidneys through the metabolism of the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine3. Diets that are rich in meat, poultry, and fish can supply the body with a sufficient amount of creatine for most daily activities (estimated at about one gram of creatine production daily)3, however many athletes have considered increasing this amount in order to achieve the desired results stated above.

In a survey of the most common recommendations from several top medical institutes3,4, True Nutrition has assembled the following dosing guide for proper creatine loading and cycling:

    • 1. Loading Phase: Consume a total of 20-30g of creatine monohydrate in four even doses of 5g each spread throughout the day (depending on body weight). Consuming creatine with an additional carbohydrate source of 50-100g may increase uptake through a spike in insulin levels. Follow this protocol for 2 to 5 days.
    • 2. Maintenance Phase: After 2 to 5 days, lower the amount of creatine to 2-5g (depending on body weight) during your maintenance phase, but continue to consume with additional carbohydrates for rapid intake. Follow this protocol for 1 month. Continued use after 1 month may result in a waste of material, since the muscles will have already become saturated with their maximum yield.
    • 3. Recovery Phase: After completing the 1 month maintenance phase, it is recommended that users cycle off of the material for 1 month in order to allow creatine levels to return to normal. This allows the material to remain effective for continued results over time.
    • 4. Repeat: Once the recovery phase has ended, you are free start fresh using the same protocols for rapid creatine replenishment!

This program has been designed to produce rapid results by including the most commonly-recommended loading phase in to your cycle. The loading phase is not always required, and many users may skip ahead to the maintenance phase for a gradual increase in muscle creatine. Studies suggest that creatine may safely be consumed in doses of 5-20g daily with no unwanted side effects or potential health hazards5. These recommendations are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not take the place of any medical advice. They are strictly provided for individuals over the age of 18, and not recommended for individuals that may be pregnant of nursing.

When fueling creatine with a heavy carbohydrate load, it is not uncommon to experience cramping or bloating. You may consider adding a carbohydrate enzyme complex to your protocol in order to aid in the digestion of these materials and to avoid these undesirable effects.

It is our goal to help you meet your goals, and adding True Nutrition’s Creatine Monohydrate to your daily supplementation may be the key to your continued success! Ask us how Creatine Monohydrate can complement your healthy lifestyle today!

*DISCLAIMER: The above description is provided for information only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician or the appropriately licensed professional before engaging in a program of exercise or nutritional supplementation. No information in this site has been reviewed by the FDA. No product is intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease.

References:

1. Bemben MG, Lamont HS. (2005). “Creatine supplementation and exercise performance: recent findings.” Sports Medicine. 35(2): p. 107–25.
2. Kreider RB. (2003). “Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations.” Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. 244(1–2): p. 89–94.
3. “Creatine.” Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Retrieved 18 July, 2013 from http://www.bidmc.org/YourHealth/ConditionsAZ.aspx?ChunkID=21706.
4. “Creatine.” University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved 18 July, 2013 from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/creatine.
5. Bizzarini E, De Angelis L. (2004). “Is the use of oral creatine supplementation safe?.” The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 44(4): p. 411–6.

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