Although creatine is one of the most used supplements, it is also one around which many myths and unknowns circulate that we will answer in this article. The idea is to collect here some of the most frequent questions and questions about this supplement.
What format of creatine should I consume?
Without a doubt creatine monohydrate and if possible with a quality seal such as Creapure. There are different formats on the market: creatine phosphate, creatine malate, creatine citrate, creatine gluconate, ethyl ester, Kre-Alkalyn … None of them are superior to creatine monohydrate. The existence of these formats responds more to marketing than to the additional benefits that they can promise.
How should creatine be taken?
The standard dose of creatine is 5 to 10 grams per day, although if we want to spin finer we can calculate it by multiplying 0.1 grams per kilo of weight. For a person weighing 70 kilos it would be 7 grams of creatine per day.
When ingesting it, it is not necessary to combine it with any food with a high glycemic index to cause an insulin spike. For decades the belief has been perpetuated that an insulin spike would enhance creatine absorption and transport, but this is not necessary since creatine when administered in an aqueous solution has an absorption rate greater than 90%.
At what time should I take it?
Creatine works by cell saturation, that is, regardless of whether we carry out a loading phase or not, creatine levels will eventually reach the maximum and we will notice all its benefits.
For this reason, the moment of ingestion in general terms is irrelevant although there is some study that concludes that taking it post-training may be superior.
If this is the case and it does not pose a disorder when it comes to balancing your meals and supplementation timing, you can take it in the post-training session. If for various reasons it is not possible, take it at any time of the day.
What is the effective dose?
The effective dose is 0.1 grams per kilo of body weight or what is the same: 1 gram of creatine for every 10 kilos of body weight. In people who are overweight or obese, it is convenient to make these calculations based on lean mass and not on total body weight.
Should you do the loading phase?
The justification for carrying out a loading phase may respond to the need of an athlete, who for reasons of training or competitive calendar needs to increase his creatine levels as soon as possible.
Thus, carrying out a loading phase only allows us to shorten the time it takes to saturate the cellular creatine levels, but once these are saturated, the benefits are the same.
Should its use be discontinued after a certain time?
It is not necessary. It is true that when we supplement with creatine our body decreases its endogenous synthesis, but when we interrupt the supplementation our body produces it again. Obviously the ergogenic effects on performance will gradually fade as creatine levels return to their physiological levels.
However, although creatine is completely safe, it may be advisable to err on the side of caution and discontinue its use two or three times a year simply to apply a precautionary principle.
Should I also take it on rest days?
As we have said before, creatine works by cell saturation so its administration on a regular basis will keep the levels at the maximum.
In this way, rest days should also be taken although we can opt for a lower dose. Be that as it may, not taking it for a day or two will not significantly affect our performance.
Can I take it in definition?
If your goal is to maintain the maximum amount of muscle mass possible during this stage, it is not that you can, but that you must.
When creatine is stored in the intracellular space, it drags water with it, which increases the volume of the cell and its hydration. This property increases nitrogen balance which translates into greater retention of muscle mass.
In addition, creatine can partially mitigate the loss of performance during definition stages caused by a lower supply and availability of both muscle and liver glycogen.
Can I take it if I don’t do any kind of sport?
Without a doubt, yes, since creatine apart from being found in muscle cells is also found in other tissues such as the brain, which is why in recent years its neuroprotective effect and its use in mental illnesses such as Parkinson’s, depression or simply as an aid in advanced ages.
Is it safe?
In healthy people, definitely yes. There are no unwanted side effects on hair loss or kidney function or any interaction with other supplements such as caffeine.