How should I take my creatine?

How should I take my creatine?


Creatine is a popular supplement known for enhancing athletic performance in young individuals. It may also offer benefits for certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy, McArdle's disease, and gyrate atrophy. However, it's crucial to consult with your doctor to determine its safety and the appropriate dosage for your specific needs.

Dosage Guidelines

Loading Dose
Begin creatine supplementation with a loading dose for two to five days. The loading dose is higher than the maintenance dose, aiming to saturate the body's creatine stores. You can choose between various loading dose options, as outlined below:

Loading Dose Options  Daily Dosage Duration
5 grams x 4 times/day 20 grams/day  2-5 days 
9 grams/day  6 days 
3 grams/day    28 days 

To enhance creatine absorption, consider taking it with a source of carbohydrates like fruits or starchy foods.

Maintenance Dose
After completing the loading phase, most individuals switch to a maintenance dose, which is generally lower and designed to sustain elevated creatine levels. The typical maintenance dose is around 2 grams per day, but some people may use up to 5 grams per day.

Remember to stay well-hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces (about 2 liters) of water daily since creatine can lead to increased water retention in muscles.

Dosage for Specific Health Conditions

The recommended creatine dosages can vary based on the specific health condition you are targeting. Here are some examples:

Health Condition Recommended Daily Dosage
Gyrate Atrophy 1.5 grams/day
Muscular Dystrophy 10 grams/day
Parkinson's Disease | Loading dose: 20 grams/day for 5-6 days; Maintenance: 5 grams/day or 2 grams/day for 5 months, then 4 grams/day for 18 months, or 10 grams/day

Potential Side Effects and Contraindications

Before starting creatine supplementation, it's essential to be aware of potential side effects and contraindications:

Condition/Population  Contraindication 
Diabetes Avoid creatine use
Kidney Problems Avoid creatine use 
Children under 18  Not recommended due to lack of research
Pregnant or Nursing Not recommended due to lack of research

Potential side effects of creatine use can include dehydration, upset stomach, muscle cramps, reduced blood volume, and electrolyte imbalances. In some cases, it may lead to nausea, diarrhea, and even seizures.

Important Note: Always consult with your healthcare provider before beginning creatine supplementation to ensure it is safe and suitable for your individual circumstances.

For more information and references, you can visit the following links:

1. MedlinePlus - Creatine 
2. University of Maryland Medical Center - Creatine
3. National Institutes of Health - Creatine

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