Is Creatine Loading Necessary?
Is Creatine Loading Necessary?
Is Creatine Loading Necessary?
by John McKierna, owner of Supplementhelper.com
When supplementing creatine, one option is to complete what is known as a loading phase at the beginning of the cycle, to increase creatine-muscle saturation. Creatine cycles are commonly done in 4-8 week periods. The loading phase, of the creatine cycle, is done during the first week of the cycle, usually lasting 5 to 7 days.
During this first week (A.K.A. the loading phase) 20 to 30 g of creatine per day are taken. After the loading phase, the dosage is decreased to 2 to 5 g per day, for the remainder of the cycle. The creatine loading phase is an optional part of the creatine cycle. It is not necessary to get good results with creatine, however it may provide certain benefits.
What Type of Creatine do I use in a Loading Phase?
Loading phases are pretty much exclusive to creatine monohydrate. If you are using another type of creatine like Kre alkalyn or Creatine Hydrochloride, you don’t need to complete a loading phase. In fact, in many cases the manufacturer’s instructions specifically say not to.
How to Load Creatine Properly
20 grams/day is more than enough to satisfy a loading phase. This amount needs to be split up into 4 daily doses of 5 grams each. You can determine your exact creatine dosage according to your body weight (you should take around 0.3 grams of creatine/kilogram of your body weight). The body can only absorb so much creatine at once. Taking 20 grams in one serving won’t help you because the majority of it will be converted into the by product creatinine, which may actually hurt you.
Taking creatine before and after workouts, during a loading phase, will benefit you the most. Taking creatine before workouts increases muscle carnosine, which delays fatigue and thus helps your muscle do more work. Taking creatine after workouts can aid in recovery.
After The 5-7 day loading Phase is complete, supplement 2-5 grams per day for the remainder of the cycle, on both training and non-training days.
Without a loading Phase
Without a loading Phase you’ll want to supplement approximately 5 grams/per day from start the start to the end of your cycle. You can either split the dose into 2 (I would recommend before and after training) or take one 5 gram serving per day. Keep this serving consistent from start to finish on both training and non-training days.
Benefits of Creatine Loading
The main argument for creatine loading is that I will help you reach your goals faster. By saturating your muscles with creatine in the first week you will begin to see results almost immediately. Without a loading phase it may take a little longer to see results however the results will be just as good. There haven’t been a lot quality studies specifically on creatine loading. However, there have been high quality studies on the use of creatine monohydrate in general and they prove that its effective for increasing muscle strength and size. Wheather or not you are complete a loading phase, most will see results with creatine monohydrate
Possible Risks/Side Effects of Creatine Loading
Some of the possible side effects of creatine loading include upset stomach and muscle cramping. The most serious possible side effect that may be associated with taking large doses of creatine is kidney damage. Although kidney damage from creatine use is uncommon, increasing the dosage increases this possibility. That is why I always recommend using the smallest effective dose.
“Creatine appears to be generally safe, although when it is taken at high doses there is the potential for serious side effects, such as kidney damage. High doses may also stop the body from making its own creatine.” ~ University of Maryland Medical Center
Should I do a Loading Phase?
Some people may benefit more from the loading phase than others. In all, the benefits of a loading phase, in my opinion, are limited, however, Some people may still want to experiment with the loading phase for themselves. If you are eager to see results almost immediately, completing a loading phase can accomplish this. If you are someone who is more concerned with possible side effects and is not concerned with getting quick results you may want to skip it.
John McKiernan is a personal trainer who enjoys researching information on bodybuilding, supplements, diets, health tips and more. He is the owner of Supplementhelper.com where he shares knowledge and advice about popular bodybuilding and health supplements.
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It's amazing how each one of us respond differently to creatine. I never have to load but I have found Creatine Nitrate to work the best with me. I'll use good ol Mono when off CN.
I never felt like creatine did/does anything. Im not expecting it to be anabolic. I take the creapure ON monohydrate just because its one of those things that has been "proven."
Please do not PM me with questions, I will not PM you back.
Damn, I was talkin about this earlier today.. looks like ill load 30 g daily.. if my numbers are right, I should load 35g though... 260 lbs.. thoughts?
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Originally Posted by heavyiron
Mono hydrate is one of the most, if not the most proven supplements out there
Creatine is like eating a bag of lays potato chips. Monohydrate is the creatine that makes you hold the most h2O!! If your a teen or just starting , maybe use some, but you don't need the loading phase, that's just a marketing ploy!
35g/day would make me have the poops....
Originally Posted by Cgrant
When I first started using it I started with 20g/day for 5 days.Now I feel like I don't need the loading phase.I get the same results just a few days later (after 8-10 days) and I start with 5g/day
Loading isn't "necessary" but if you load you get results in 5 days and if you don't, it takes about 30 days.
- Rep Points
loading isnt necessary imo
get yourself a blend that way you get most types in one. i never respond well to mono but creapure actually i like
I load creatine like erry day you know
Well since I have about 1kg of mono, I'm not too worried about wasting it on loading lol. I'm going to load 5 days at 20g daily. Maintenance at 5g daily... someone suggested 5 pre and 5 post workout, thoughts?
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Originally Posted by heavyiron
I did the Mono for a bit. Now i am on the Creatine Ethyl Ester
I seem to get pretty minimal results with creatine. My hypothesis is that I do not consume nearly enough water. Thoughts?
There are many forms of creatine on the market today along with the King Of Creatine (Monohydrate) creatine has been around now for many years and is the ONLY supplement that you will find in any nutritional store on or offline that has been clinically tested and proven to actually work. No other supplement has been tested or proven to do so scientifically or otherwise. There are many different brands of Monohydrate out there that are made in different labs across the world. The best are in Germany and that is where Creapure comes from. The other labs are in China where it is really cheap to make and are very poor quality.
There are a ton of people out there that have taken Monohydrate Creatine and have gotten great results from weight gain, muscle mass and strength through taken this form of creatine (me included) I took this form of creatine a few years ago and in 1 1/2 month time I went from 170lbs to 187lbs and my strength went through the roof. That being said I quit working out soon after for certain reasons and lost all that I had gain in 3 weeks time. Although a lot of people take this form of creatine and it works great for them there are some who do not respond to it at all. This is a great product to say the least but there are a few draw backs when taking it.
You have to load up the first week with 20 grams a day spread out through the day to saturate the muscles. Then you can take it at 5 grams a day as directed. Or just take 5 grams a day and it will take a few weeks or longer to totally give you the full benefits. Some people even take it at 10 grams a day, 5 grams pre-workout and 5 grams post workout. Then you have to cycle off and on every couple of months to ensure your body will still produce it naturally in the body sense it does this already just not at the degree that you are putting in with the supplement. There can be side effects evolved as well like bloating, gas etc. All this being said the newer forms of Monohydrate that are micronized (Creapure) do not have this side affects as much and some people do not even cycle at all and have had no problems. There has not been any proven cases of people not cycling and having any issues but they tell you this as a precautionary measure just in case your body does stop producing it on its own. to this date Most of the weight gain can also come from water that is drawn in by the creatine which will give you that swell or pumped up look.
All that water is good for the muscles because it keeps them hydrated and gives you that added strength factor. You just have to make sure to drink at least a gallon of water a day because when it draws all that water in to surround the muscles it is going to dehydrate the hell out of you. That being said there are many other forms of Creatine on the market today that do not have the type of side affects associated with Monohydrate and with some of these other forms there is no loading phase, no cycling, no bloating etc. but these other forms have not been tested as closely as Monohydrate either. Right now I am trying one of this forms out (Creatine Hydrochloride) I have been taking it for 2 weeks now and will for a couple of months to see how it works for me. but here are the names of a few more.
1.Creatine monohydrate: Creatine monohydrate is the king of the creatine supplement world. It is the most inexpensive form of creatine, and has been studied exhaustively. It is popular because it works. No other legal non-hormonal bodybuilding or sports supplement can come close to the potency of creatine monohydrate.Creatine monohydrate is 88% pure creatine bound with 12% water.Early creatine products were filled with large, hard to digest particles. These earlier supplements often caused intestinal issues. Most modern creatines are micronized, and are 20 times smaller. Modern creatines generally do not have the intestinal side effects that older creatines had.
2. Creatine Hydrochloride: is the newest form of creatine to hit the market. Not to be confused with Creatine Ethyl Ester. Creatine hydrochloride (also known as creatine hcl) is a totally different form of creatine. In fact, Creatine Hcl was discovered quite by accident during the synthesizing of the ingredients needed to make creatine ethyl ester back in 2003. Once discovered the manufacturers began studying this new form of creatine and its effectiveness. They soon found out that compared to creatine monohydrate, creatine hydrochloride was far superior in every way.
3. Kre-Alkalyn: Kre-Alkalyn is a pH buffered creatine that has a pH of more than 12. Manufacturers of Kre-Alkalyn claim that your body can not naturally buffer regular creatine supplements. Instead, your body breaks down regular creatine into creatinine, a useless substance excreted from your body through wastes. Further, because your body does not breakdown Kre-Alkalyn into creatinine, your body can fully absorb the creatine in Kre-Alkalyn supplements
4. Creatine Citrate: A worthy predecessor of creatine monohydrate, this compound was amongst the first to go against its much popular counterpart, the monohydrate version. It has creatine molecule attached to citric acid. Since citric acid has a crucial role to play in the synthesis of aerobic energy this supplement is known to offer much more energy as a compound.
5. Creating Phosphate: Creatine phosphate created a lot of buzz initially given the fact that in the muscle creatine essentially bonds with the phosphate and having the compound directly available as a supplement might make it a direct source of instant energy. Though research proved this wrong since phosphate and creatine in the bound form are not permeable through cell membranes. Creatine phosphate is another early form of creatine. Creatine phosphate is a creatine molecule bonded to a phosphate molecule. This bonding is a process that naturally occurs within muscle cells. It was thought that by pre-bonding creatine with phosphate, that it would amplify results. Ultimately, creatine phosphate was found to be less effective then creatine monohydrate.
6. Creatine Malate: Malic acid is known to partake in the energy producing Krebs cycle thus as a compound with creatine it is known to offer greater ATP production. Another merit of this compound is that just like creatine citrate it gets easily dissolved in water causing nil stomach discomfort. Creatine malate is a relatively new version of creatine. It is creatine chemically bonded to malic acid. Malic acid works in much the same way that citric acid does, and assists muscles with aerobic energy production. There is little current research for or against creatine malate’s effectiveness.
7. Creatine Tartrate: It is the compound containing approximately 70% creatine with 30% tartaric acid. They are present in the solid form as tablets, bars and chewable tablets. Creatine tartrate is creatine bonded to tartaric acid. This form of creatine is often used in pills, capsules, bars and chewables. It offers no benefits over creatine monohydrate.
8. Creatine titrate. Creatine titrate (different from creatine tartrate) works in a similar manner to effervescent creatine. Creatine titrate changes the PH of the water solution when it is mixed, allowing for a more stable solution that is easier to digest.
9. Creatine Anhydrous: An anhydrate is a compound that is form with the removal of the water molecules in the compound and that is exactly what this supplement is made up of. It is known to provide more creatine than in its monohydrate form. Creatine anhydrous is creatine monohydrate without the water molecule. Creatine anhydrous provides approximately 6% more pure creatine per serving compared to creation monohydrate.
10. Creatine HMB: This compound is composed of creatine molecule bound to betahydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) which is composed of amino acid leucine that helps in muscle growth and recovery. It is easily soluble and absorbed in the body. Creatine HMB is creatine chemically attached to HMB (beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate). HMB, by itself, assists muscle recovery and growth. This form of creatine is generally easier for the body to digest. Once in the bloodstream, the creatine and HMB are separated. Creatine HMB is a relatively new form of creatine, and there is very little research to back its effectiveness.
11. Creatine Ethyl Ester: A compound formed of the bond between ester ethyl hydrochloride and creatine is known to enhance the muscular mass much higher than other compounds since the molecule easily passes through the membranes of cells like those of the intestines or muscles and is absorbed rapidly at a higher rate. Creatine ethyl ester is a form of creatine monohydrate, but it has an ester attached. The process, called esterification, is the result of the reaction of carboxylic acid and alcohol. The way CEE is made means that it is more bioavailable to the body and so you actually need to take less of it.
12. Magnesium creatine. Magnesium creatine is creatine chemically bonded to magnesium. Magnesium assists in the digestion of creatine, primarily helping it pass through the stomach. Magnesium is also involved in the process of turning creatine phosphate into ATP. Magnesium creatine has been shown to be an effective form of creatine, but only in the bonded state. Taking creatine together with magnesium, but as separate supplements, is not as effective.
13. Creatine glutamine taurine. This form of creatine has creatine bonded with glutamine and taurine. Because both glutamine and taurine act to volumize cells, it is hoped that – in conjunction with creatine – their benefits will be heightened. One side benefit to taurine use is that it has been shown to improve strength.
14. Effervescent creatine. Effervescent creatine has been available for a number of years. Effervescent creatines usually contains creatine monohydrate or creatine citrate, along with citric acid and bicarbonate. When effervescent creatine is placed in water, a chemical reaction takes place, resulting in the formation of creatine carrying a neutral charge. This form of creatine passes through the stomach better then creatine monohydrate. It also retains its stability longer in solution then creatine monohydrate, making it a solid option for those that mix and take their creatine solution with them.
15. Liquid creatine. Liquid creatine is a form of creatine that is completely dissolved, and supposedly, easier to digest. Unfortunately, creatine is very unstable when dissolved, so many early liquid creatine products were failures. Modern liquid creatine products are improved, and can remain solvent for up to a year.
16. Creatine gum. Creatine gum allows for a slow, steady creatine release as you chew.
17. Time released creatine. Time released creatine is a new creatine product. It provides a slow, steady release of creatine. The debate over the effectiveness of time-released creatine is very heated. Because of its very nature, time-released creatine does not provide a high concentration of creatine in the blood. Many believe that a certain “concentration threshold” is required for creatine to be effective.
Last edited by stewy101; 01-10-2012 at 08:19 PM.
It's amazing how each one of us respond differently to creatine.
Yes it is. Our body's are are very complex and We all have different chemistry issues as well. No matter what drug or supplement we take, what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for the other. It is all by trial and error. Just do your own research (and with the help of others testimony's which can help) you will be off to a good start. Once you get the basics down and educate yourself on what works and what does not work for your own personal body makeup and chemistry then you should have good foundation to build on.
Originally Posted by caaraa
That creatine HCl's looking nice. Then again...monohydrate's never done me wrong.
Yeah, I am trying it out for a couple months to see what happens. If I do not like the results I will go back to Monohydrate (Micronized Monohydrate Creapure) For those who respond well to Monohydrate, Creapure is the best.
Originally Posted by Calves of Steel
If you don't mind the water weight and it doesn't cause any GI problems stick with mono.
Loading is only good for speeding up saturation and working out your kidneys.
Creatine isn't an anabolic so don't expect to pack on muscle.
Originally Posted by stewy101
NEW UPDATE ON DiffERENT FORMS OF CREATINE TODAY:
ADD 4 MORE TO THE LIST, AND REMEMBER TO DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH FOR EACH AND EVERYONE OF THESE FORMS OF CREATINE TO MAKE YOUR OWN EDUCATED DECISIONS ON WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU. DO THE RESEARCH AND STUDY THEM THOROUGHLY FOR YOURSELVES. THIS IS JUST A LIST OF FORMS I HAVE COMPLIED FOR MYSELF AND TO HELP THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ALL THE DIFFERENT FORMS OUT THERE.
1. Creatine Alpha-Ketoglutarate: One of the newest forms of creatine is creatine alpha-ketoglutarate, also known as creatine AKG. This form is creatine bound to a molecule of AKG. This is the same AKG that is used in the nitric oxide formulas (arginine AKG). Alpha-Ketoglutarate is a precursor of glutamine, which means that with this supplement you are getting both glutamine and creatine. The key benefit, however, is that the intestines more easily absorb AKG, which will prevent the diarrhea that most bodybuilders experience when they take creatine monohydrate. Alpha-ketoglutarate is used for kidney disease; intestinal and stomach disorders, including bacterial infections; liver problems; cataracts; and recurring yeast infections. It is also used for improving the way kidney patients receiving hemodialysis treatments process protein. Some people take alpha-ketoglutarate to improve peak athletic performance. Suppliers of athletic nutritional supplements claim alpha-ketoglutaric acid may be an important addition to proper diet and training for the athlete who wants peak performance. They base this claim on studies that show extra ammonia in the body can combine with alpha-ketoglutarate to reduce problems associated with too much ammonia (ammonia toxicity). But, so far, the only studies that show alpha-ketoglutarate can reduce ammonia toxicity have been performed in hemodialysis patients.
2. Creatine Gluconate: This unique delivery system, quickly and continuously, delivers the supplement to your muscles – so quickly that in 24 to 36 hours you can see and feel your muscles getting bulkier after the very first serving. You will be able to pump much more, your belly muscles will increase and you will be far more energetic than before. Creatine gluconate is an ionic salt made by bonding a creatine ion to a glucose ion. What you get as a result is a product that is absorbed easily and almost completely as glucose. Plus, it mixes very well with water and tastes very good. How does it do all this? The answer's simple. Most “single stage delivery” systems do the work of getting the creatine into your blood and muscles, quite well. But what they don't do so well is getting the optimal quantity into your system. That is where the new creatine scores over others. Take the case of Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE). The ethyl ester in it nicely manages to deliver the creatine into your system. But in the process, when the molecule splits, you are left with the good creatine and the not so good ethanol. This ethanol lacks the “after burner” ability to push the creatine harder and faster into your blood and muscles. The result is that your body gets less than the optimal amount of creatine delivered at less than the optimal rate. In the case of creatine gluconate, the molecular splitting results in the formation of glucose ion. Here the glucose ion delivers the creatine. The glucose ion is good since it is well and easily absorbed by the body. This ion also does another thing. It causes a nice insulin pike to be formed. It is this insulin pike that pushes the glucose and along with it, the creatine, harder and more rapidly into your blood and muscle. Another good thing about creatine gluconate is that it does not require any “loading period”. This in no way affects its optimizing and maximizing capabilities.
3. Magnesium Creatine Chelate: Magnesium creatine chelate, often abbreviated MCC, is a newer form of creatine that is chemically bonded to magnesium rather than a water molecule as in creatine monohydrate. This special form of creatine is absorbed through a different pathway than creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate is absorbed through a sodium-dependent transporter, while magnesium creatine chelate is absorbed through a lignand-gated cation channel. Because the magnesium that is bound to the creatine is a cation, the entire molecule now becomes a cation, making it absorbable through this pathway while creatine monohydrate is not. Creatine Magnesium Chelate (pronounced key-late) is different from other forms of Creatine because it's chemically attached to the mineral magnesium for optimal absorption.* This means more creatine for your muscles and possibly less bloating or stomach discomfort!*
4. Creatine Pyruvate : Creatine Pyruvate is a combination of Creatine and Pyruvate, both of which are impressive ergogenic (energy) producers and have been highly touted for building muscle and reducing body fat. The performance-enhancing effects of creatine monohydrate and pyruvate are combined for the first time in this unique nutritional formula designed to boost energy and endurance.Creatine regenerates the primary energy immediately available to muscles involved in short, intense contractions.Creatine also serves as a buffer, delaying the point at which lactic acid causes muscle fatigue and discomfort.Increasing creatine energizes muscle for prolonged endurance and optimal work output in activities such as weight lifting and sprinting.Pyruvate stimulates glucose extraction from blood into muscle during exercise and at rest, priming muscle with a carbohydrate content essential for greater endurance.In clinical studies, pyruvate reduced gain in body fat without reducing muscle protein, an important factor in increasing lean muscle mass. Supplementation with Creatine Pyruvate provides complementary nutritional support for maximizing muscular performance and endurance in high-intensity exercise programs. Creatine Pyruvate is 10 times more soluble than either Creatine or Pyruvate and it is also more bioavailable so that it takes less to do the job. Moreover, a loading dose is not necessary. The "stabilized and improved" Pyruvate in this product is also more bioavailable which means that large amounts of minerals (Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, etc.) are not ingested with the pyruvate. This lessens the possibility of adverse reactions associated with large amounts of minerals, e.g. fluid retention. Simply put, Creatine Pyruvate is a stronger, more powerful and safer form of Creatine and Pyruvate.
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