Health & Fitness

How to Take Creatine: Effects, Benefits, Daily Amount

November 07, 2022

Is creatine as good as some say, or is it a pure myth? Here's a basic guide on everything you need to know about this supplement before deciding whether to add it to your muscle gain regime or not. 

Creatine is one of the most used and sought-after supplements by those who want to increase their muscle mass and strength. 

But there is some controversy with this substance for several reasons, although curiosity remains high about it.

There has been so much talk (good and bad) that one does not know what or who to trust if you are wasting money and time, damaging your health, or becoming the Hulk little by little.

Is Creatine Good or Bad for You?

The first prejudice about creatine that people have is that it was linked to cancer a few years ago, discovering, later on, that there was no reason to do so. 

This speculation demonized creatine, and no one wanted to use this supplement for training for a while. Another popular accusation was connecting creatine to renal overload, and even renal failure.

But there is also another opinion that creatine is useless and it does not affect the body positively or negatively. Let's analyze it further by understanding what this substance is.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a natural compound made up of three amino acids: methionine, arginine, and glycine. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein. The body can synthesize a small amount of creatine per day (+/- 1g), and the rest must be provided through diet or supplementation. Meat and fish are the main sources of creatine, so if you are not sure about using this supplement, you can first increase your meat and fish intake. 

However, if your muscle-building plans exceed the regular toned body, and you're aiming for a more muscular body, then creatine is one of the supplements worth considering. 

Creatine is a natural compound that comes from many foods and helps many bodily functions related to muscle recovery, strength gain, and volume, so why all the fuss about it? The answer is this: the dosage and the way it is taken.

Let's say that with less than x grams, we fall short without noticing any effect. If we overdo it, we will overload the kidneys and other organs (besides not absorbing it and eliminating it in the urine, we will overwork our body for nothing). So it is a matter of finding the right amount with the help of a specialist, of course.

Creatine Benefits 

- Increases strength and allows us to do explosive repetitions with more weight than normally.

- Increased muscle volume is achieved more easily by favoring the increase of muscle glycogen and water retention.

- Optimizes performance in intense workouts such as CrossFit and other high-intensity workouts.

- Improves mood, reducing the symptoms of depression.

-It aids diabetic patients to regulate blood sugar levels.

- Prevents bone and muscle loss.

- It improves cognitive capacity in elderly people.

Type, Dose, and Timing

Having gone over all those factors, let's look at how we can take creatine. Its consumption has to be accompanied by a specific objective for a specific time. Creatine should not be introduced just for the sake of it but for a particular goal under controlled circumstances.

The general recommended dose is 5 grams per day, no more. Thus we will enter the margin of safety and effectiveness (although to be more precise, the exact formula is 0.08g/kilo of your body weight). A 100 kg guy is not going to ingest the same dose as a 60 kg guy.

5gr per day is recommended for safety and efficacy.

Take it after training in your shake to help gain more muscle mass and help recovery. It is always better to take protein shakes on an empty stomach and never after meals. If you don't work out, do not take it.

Give yourself a break of a few weeks every 4 to 6 months with any long-term supplementation. Many studies disprove the relationship between renal failure or overload associated with creatine, but always give your body a break. The ideal rest cycles are about eight weeks. Remember: always work towards your goals, and do not take supplementation forever. 

Always choose creatine monohydrate in powder for better absorption. And if it has the creatine quality seal, even better.

Final Word

If you decide on adding creatine to your workout regime, make sure you understand all the benefits and effects of it and, even more important, make sure you need it. Consult professionals and fellow weight lifters for recommendations, and don't forget to take a break of no less than eight weeks every 4-6 months of creatine intake. 

Lastly, if you start feeling side effects or don't reach the muscle gain goals in a realistic time frame, then maybe creatine is not for you, and you should consider different supplements and diet changes.