How much creatine should you be taking to see the best results? Creatine is a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders with many proven effects.

However, it's essential to know the proper amount of creatine to take to maximize effectiveness. Wouldn't it be great to know the proper dosage when taking creatine supplements for optimal performance and muscle-building?

Below we’ll explore the latest research on creatine dosages and provide practical guidelines for determining the right amount for you. When you’re finished reading, you should clearly understand how much creatine to take to achieve your fitness goals.

When determining the optimal dosage of creatine powder, it's important to consider your individual needs and goals. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • For general health and wellness: The recommended daily intake of creatine is 3-5 grams of creatine per day. This is the minimum amount needed to maintain optimal muscle stores and support overall health.
  • For athletic performance and muscle growth: To improve athletic performance or build muscle, take a higher dosage of creatine before or after training sessions. Studies have shown that a daily dose ranging from 5-20 grams can improve sports performance and build muscle.

Research suggests that taking a loading dose for the first 5-7 days can help saturate your muscle cells more quickly, leading to faster results.[1]

However, not everyone needs to load supplements and can take just the maintenance dosage.

Loading Phase

The creatine loading phase involves taking a higher dosage of creatine for a short period to saturate your cells quickly. This is typically done by taking 20-25 grams of creatine daily for 5-7 days. The loading period is typically equal doses of 4-5 grams taken five times a day.

This phase is often used by athletes, bodybuilders, and other people in the fitness industry looking to quickly increase their muscle stores of creatine and maximize the benefits.

However, most people may not need the creatine loading method, and some may see similar benefits with just the lower maintenance dosage. In addition, loading creatine may also exacerbate potential adverse effects.

Learn More - How Long Does Creatine Take To Kick In And Work?

Maintenance Dose

After creatine loading, you'll transition to a maintenance dose. The international society of sports nutrition recommends a regular dose of 3-5 grams daily.[2]

This is the minimum recommended maintenance dose to maintain optimal muscle stores and support overall health.

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The recommended dose of a creatine supplement is safe and effective for most people. And although it’s a lower dose, these creatine levels still support your muscles and improve fitness.

Some research suggests that taking a daily maintenance dose of creatine can also have other health benefits, such as supporting brain function and helping to reduce the risk of certain age-related conditions.

Man Adding Scoops Of Transparent Labs Creatine HMB To Water

What Is Creatine? (What It Does For Your Body)

Creatine is an amino acid composed of three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine.

Your body produces creatine naturally and stores it in the muscles. It is also found in small amounts in certain foods like red meat and seafood.

When you engage in intense exercise or heavy resistance training, your muscles use their stored energy and need to produce more to keep up with the demand.

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that stores energy and fuels your cells, is the primary energy currency of the body. It is the energy supply essential for the proper functioning of all living organisms.

Creatine intake plays a vital role in the production of ATP in the body. When you’re physically active, your muscles use their stored ATP and creatine phosphate and need to produce more to keep up with the demand.

Creatine usage helps to supply this energy by donating a molecule called phosphocreatine to the muscles. This helps to replenish the muscles' ATP stores, allowing you to maintain your performance and power during workouts.

Without adequate ATP, your muscles would quickly fatigue, and you would be unable to sustain physical activity. By supporting the production of ATP, creatine use can help to improve fitness levels and increase muscle strength and power.

In addition to supporting muscle energy production, ingesting creatine daily has several other potential benefits.

Some research suggests that it may help to improve brain function, reduce mental fatigue and water retention, support brain health, and help with other health conditions. It also helps to increase muscle mass and improve strength and power in athletes.

Several types of muscle creatine are available, including creatine monohydrate, creatine hydrochloride, and more. Creatine monohydrate is the most common and well-studied form of creatine, and it is effective and well-tolerated in various studies.

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When Is The Best Time To Take Creatine?

The timing of your creatine supplementation can impact its effectiveness and the results you see from it. Here are some general guidelines for when to take creatine:

  • Before or After Exercise: Some research suggests that a creatine dose with a pre-workout or after exercise may help to build more muscle, increase strength and power, and improve overall performance.
  • With a Carbohydrate Source: Creatine mixed with a carbohydrate source, such as fruit juice, may help to increase your body’s creatine stores more effectively.[3]
  • On Rest Days: If you are not exercising on a particular day, take your creatine in the morning or with a meal. This can help to ensure that your muscle cells stay adequately saturated with creatine.

The optimal timing of creatine supplementation may vary based on individual factors and preferences.

For example, some people may find that supplementing creatine at a certain time of day works best for them, while others may not notice a difference. Therefore, experimenting with different timings and seeing what works best for you is often the best approach.

Related Article - When Should You Take Creatine? (Before Or After Workouts)

Who Should Be Taking Creatine?

Creatine was effective and well-tolerated in various studies and may benefit several groups. Here are some examples of people who may benefit from creatine monohydrate:

  • Athletes: Creatine can help to improve muscle strength and power and enhance performance in high-intensity exercise, endurance training, lifting weights, and other forms of exercise. A sports nutritionist can help you find your ideal dosage.
  • Bodybuilders: Creatine supplements may help increase lean body mass and strength, which can be beneficial for bodybuilders looking to build and maintain lean mass.
  • Older adults: Some research suggests that creatine can help to improve lean muscle mass and strength in older adults who may experience a decline in these areas with age.
  • Vegetarians and vegans: Creatine is found naturally in animal-based foods, and people who follow vegetarian or vegan diets may have lower levels of creatine in their muscles. Creatine monohydrate may be a good option for these individuals to help support muscle health.

It's important to note that while creatine supplementation may be beneficial for most healthy individuals, it may not be appropriate for everyone. It's always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional before starting a new supplement regimen.

athlete doing a barbell flat bench press

Benefits Of Taking The Right Creatine Dosage

Accelerated Lean Muscle Growth

Creatine effectively increases muscle mass and strength, which can be beneficial for people looking to build and maintain lean muscle. One of the ways it does this is by increasing the volume of muscle cells by pulling water into the muscles.

This creates a swollen, "pumped" appearance and may also improve muscle function and recovery time. Creatine may also enhance protein synthesis, the process by which the body builds new proteins. By increasing protein synthesis, creatine can help support muscle tissue growth and repair.

Improved Strength And Power

Creatine is well-known for its ability to improve muscle power and strength by supporting the production of ATP, which can benefit numerous activities.

It's important to note that while supplementing with creatine can help to improve strength and power, it is not a magic bullet. To see the best results, it's important to combine creatine supplementation with a balanced diet and a consistent workout program.

Increased Exercise Performance

Creatine is effective in increasing exercise performance, particularly in high-intensity activities. When you engage in high-intensity exercise, your muscles use up their stored ATP and need to produce more to keep up with the demand.

Creatine helps to replenish the muscles' ATP stores, allowing you to maintain your performance and power during exercise.

Creatine Safety and Side Effects

Creatine is generally considered safe and well-tolerated when taken as directed. It has been extensively studied and has a long history of use as a dietary supplement.[4]

However, as with any supplement, it is essential to follow the recommended dosage instructions and consult a healthcare professional before starting a new supplement regimen.

Some people may experience side effects when taking creatine, although these are generally mild and may include stomach discomfort, bloating, and weight gain.

These side effects are typically associated with the loading protocol and can be minimized by taking a lower dosage or spreading the dosage out over the day.

Some people worry that creatine may accelerate hair loss, but no evidence supports those claims, even during the loading protocol.[5]

See More - Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss? (We Examine The Facts)

While creatine is generally considered safe, it may only be appropriate for some.

People with kidney or liver disease or those taking medications should consult with a healthcare professional before starting a creatine supplement.

Additionally, some people may have an allergy or intolerance to ingredients in certain creatine products, so it's always a good idea to read the label carefully and choose a reputable brand.

Can You Take Too Much Creatine?

Most research suggests that the optimal dosage for muscle building and overall performance is 3-5 grams per day, and some studies have used doses as high as 20 grams per day with no significant side effects.

However, while high doses of creatine are generally considered safe, they may not be necessary or beneficial for everyone.

Again, some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, or weight gain, especially if they take high doses of creatine. You may minimize these side effects by taking a lower dosage or spreading the dosage out over the course of the day.

Adding Scoops Of Cellucor Creatine Monohydrate To Water

Frequently Asked Creatine Dosage Questions

Will creatine make me stronger?

Creatine has been shown to be effective in increasing muscle strength and power when taken as directed. A daily dose of 3-5 grams of creatine can increase your strength and enhance muscle development.

Should I take creatine every day?

Maintaining high levels of creatine stores is possible even if you do not take it on rest days. However, taking creatine consistently, even on rest days, may still be beneficial for increasing muscle strength and power.

How long does creatine take to work?

Studies have shown that supplementing creatine for just 5-7 days can significantly increase lean body weight and muscle size. This initial increase is likely due to increases in the water content of the muscles.

How much water should I drink with creatine?

It is essential to stay hydrated when you take creatine supplements. As a general rule, drinking 6-8 cups of water per day is recommended when you work out. However, when taking creatine, you should increase your water intake to 8-10 cups per day or more, depending on your workout. Proper hydration can help maximize creatine's benefits and minimize any potential side effects.

How much bigger will I get with creatine?

It is difficult to predict exactly how much bigger you will get with creatine, as the effects of creatine can vary based on many factors, such as age, gender, weight, and how often you work out. However, the benefits of creatine are typically more pronounced in people engaged in rigorous activities because these activities tend to deplete the muscles' energy stores faster.

The Bottom Line

Creatine can is a popular supplement generally considered safe and well-tolerated when taken as directed. Most research suggests that the optimal dosage for muscle building and overall effectiveness is 3-5 grams daily.

However, the answer to the question, “how much creatine should I take” will vary from person to person and depends on several factors such as age, gender, weight, and activity level.

Nevertheless, by following the guidelines outlined in this article, you should understand what your creatine levels need to maximize the benefits of this popular supplement.

References: 

  1. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/2013/07000/Creatine_Supplementation.10.aspx
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1186/1550-2783-4-6
  3. https://www.termedia.pl/The-effect-of-combined-supplementation-of-carbohydrates-and-creatine-on-anaerobic-performance,78,29206,0,1.html
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33557850
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7871530/
Miloš Lepotic

Miloš Lepotic

Meet Miloš, a certified sports nutritionist and self-taught supplement expert whose pharmacological background and nearly a decade of gym experience make him the perfect guide for optimizing your health and athletic performance through supplement reviews and practical advice rooted in factual, science-backed information.