Nutrition

Creatine: A Quick Guide to Loading and Dosage

There are tons of different types of creatine on the market — monohydrate, creapure, ethyl ester, kre-alkalyn, micronized — but what do they all do? Do they do the same thing, in fact? You might be aware that creatine is by far the world’s most studied supplement, and while the consensus is that for sure, it does what we claim it does, which is improve explosive power output, the jury is still out on which form works best.

That’s partly because, as suggested, a lot of the various types of creatine do work the same, in the end. The key differences are found when it comes to dosage and speed of absorption.

Is creatine monohydrate best for gains?

Creatine monohydrate is certainly good for gains, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best. Monohydrate is the one you’ll find most commonly, either on its own, or as part of a bundle. Typically, you’ll load up on monohydrate, then keep going with a maintenance load of around 5g a day.

It’s incredibly rare that a person becomes ill or experiences side-effects thanks to creatine. It is a naturally-occurring substance, after all (red meats contains tiny amounts of creatine.)

What makes other creatines different from monohydrate?

The key thing here is absorption. When you take creatine monohydrate, your body draws more water in to absorb it, which is why you sometimes hear about people gaining water weight on creatine. It’s not super efficient, and some other forms of creatine, while they end up doing the same thing, take less effort, less water to absorb.

The less water needed to absorb the creatine, the more is absorbed. That means lower doses, or more bang for your buck.

Other forms of creatine, such as kre-alkalyn, are ‘buffered’ or bonded with other molecules, which makes them easier to absorb.

How should I load creatine?

When you start out on creatine, it’s common to load up with around 20g for the first few days. After that, 5g a day is the usual, just remember to keep your stores topped up.

In summary:
  • All creatines are good, and will contribute to power gains
  • Creatine monohydrate uses more water to absorb than bonded creatines
  • Creatine is safe and effective
  • Loading with creatine is fine (20g a day to begin with, then 5g maintenance.)

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Jonathan Naish

Jonathan Naish

Writer and expert