Creatine loading is not necessary. The timing of creatine does not matter for muscle gains. Creatine monohydrate is the best creatine for muscle building. Alternative forms of creatine are more expensive. Creatine monohydrate is the best and most researched form of creatine to take.


SUMMARY OF CREATINE LOADING PHASE FOR MUSCLE GAIN

  • A Creatine loading phase is not necessary.

  • The timing of creatine does not matter for muscle gains

  • Creatine monohydrate is the best creatine for muscle building. Alternative forms of creatine are more expensive. Creatine monohydrate is the best and most researched form of creatine to take.


CREATINE MONOHYDRATE

Creatine is one of the most popular bodybuilding supplements on the market, and for a good reason, it works! Roughly half of the daily creatine requirements for the average person are produced in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, and brain. (Brosnan & Brosnan, 2016) The other half of creatine must be obtained from dietary sources such as beef, fish, meat, etc. (Kreider et al., 2017)

Most athletes will consume creatine monohydrate as a supplement to meet their requirements. Creatine can increase performance, strength, and muscle mass and possibly have other benefits, such as cognitive enhancement. (Wax et al., 2021) There have been some new updates on creatine monohydrate in the research, so here are the latest study findings.

DO YOU NEED A CREATINE LOADING PHASE?

Don’t be fooled into buying alternative forms of creatine. High-quality Creapure creatine monohydrate is a cheaper form. More importantly, it is the gold standard for creatine research. When creatine first hit the market, it was recommended that a loading phase of creatine was necessary. This loading phase consisted of high doses of 20-30 grams. The purpose of this loading phase was to get creatine into the muscles. The recommendations were for creatine loading to saturate creatine stores was 5 grams taken multiple times per day for 6 days.

THE STUDY

A study compared an alternative form of creatine (i.e., creatyl L-leucine) to creatine monohydrate. The study found that similar to other studies, create-l-leucine was less effective than creatine monohydrate. (Askow et al., 2022) This should be of no surprise, but the interesting findings from this study were 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day saturated creatine muscle stores similar to creatine loading for a week with 20 grams per day. (Hultman et al., 1996)

Taking creatine monohydrate at 5 grams per day for 14 days resulted in a 24% increase in muscle creatine.

Loading creatine with dosages of 20 grams per day for 6 days resulted in a 20% increase in muscle creatine levels. From a cost standpoint, it makes sense to use 5 grams a day, given that you will reach the same creatine saturation stores with a longer duration. You don’t need to use a loading phase of 5-7 days.

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DOES CREATINE TIMING MATTER?

In 2013, a study by Antonio & Ciccone revealed that consuming 5 grams of creatine post-workout resulted in more significant increases in muscle mass compared to pre-workout consumption. Although this study spanned only 4 weeks, it sparked discussions about the optimal timing of creatine intake for muscle building.

Subsequently, a comprehensive review by Candow et al. (2022) analyzed creatine timing and concluded that, of six studies, two favored post-workout creatine intake. However, the overarching conclusion of the review was that the timing of creatine intake is inconsequential to its effects.

STUDY FIND A CREATING LOADING PHASE IS NOT BENEFICIAL

A new study tested if creatine timing matter for a longer duration (i.e., 8 weeks). Subjects took 5 grams of creatine pre- or post-workout in conjunction with a resistance exercise program. The subjects took creatine monohydrate with 25 grams of whey protein and some carbohydrates.

All the subjects gained muscle and strength while also losing body fat, but the timing of creatine did not affect body composition. (Dinan et al., 2022) Based on the sum collection of the research, creatine timing does not matter.

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ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF CREATINE

Alternatives forms of creatine monohydrate (CM), such as creatine ethyl ester, creatine nitrate, and creatine malate, have been advocated to be better than creatine monohydrate. Yet, no type  of creatine has ever been shown to be superior to creatine monohydrate. (Fazio et al., 9000)

The most common marketing claims of alternative forms of creatine are greater muscular strength, muscle growth, and a higher absorption rate. Other claims are less bloating and weight gain, elimination of GI problems, no cramping, etc.

Creapure, recognized as the gold standard, boasts a composition of 99% pure creatine monohydrate (Kreider et al., 2022). However, consumers should exercise caution as studies, such as those by Moret et al. (2011), have revealed that creatine monohydrate supplements produced in China tend to exhibit higher levels of contaminants due to the manufacturing process

THE STUDY ON ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF CREATINE

In a new review, Escalante and colleagues analyzed forms of creatine for sale on Amazon and the cost per gram of the forms of creatine. (Escalante et al., 2022) A total of 175 creatine supplements were included. They analyzed the total creatine content per serving, form(s) of creatine in products, product claims, and prevalence of products third-party certified. The results are below:

  • ·      29.7% of the supplements contained 16 alternative forms of creatine other than CM.
  • ·      21.7% contained CM blends and only 8% of products were third-party certified.
  • ·      The alternative forms of creatine was ~116% a higher price than CM.
  • ·      Approximately 88% of alternative creatine products in this study are classified as having limited to no evidence to support bioavailability, efficacy, and safety.

Avoid falling for alternative forms of creatine; instead, opt for high-quality Creapure creatine monohydrate, which is not only more affordable but also stands as the gold standard in creatine research. When choosing creatine products, prioritize those that have undergone third-party testing for purity to ensure the accuracy of the dosages listed on the supplements. NSF’s global Certified for Sport® is a great resource for testing for banned substances. Any

REFERENCES

Antonio, J., & Ciccone, V. (2013). The effects of pre versus post-workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 10, 36. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-36

Askow, A. T., Paulussen, K. J. M., McKenna, C. F., Salvador, A. F., Scaroni, S. E., Hamann, J. S., Ulanov, A. V., Li, Z., Paluska, S. A., Beaudry, K. M., De Lisio, M., & Burd, N. A. (2022). Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation, but not Creatyl-L-Leucine, Increased Muscle Creatine Content in Healthy Young Adults: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 32(6), 446-452. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2022-0074

Brosnan, M. E., & Brosnan, J. T. (2016). The role of dietary creatine. Amino Acids, 48(8), 1785-1791. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-016-2188-1

Candow, D. G., Forbes, S. C., Roberts, M. D., Roy, B. D., Antonio, J., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Rawson, E. S., Gualano, B., & Roschel, H. (2022). Creatine O’Clock: Does Timing of Ingestion Really Influence Muscle Mass and Performance? Front Sports Act Living, 4, 893714. https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2022.893714

Dinan, N. E., Hagele, A. M., Jagim, A. R., Miller, M. G., & Kerksick, C. M. (2022). Effects of creatine monohydrate timing on resistance training adaptations and body composition after 8 weeks in male and female collegiate athletes [Brief Research Report]. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2022.1033842

REFERENCES

Escalante, G., Gonzalez, A. M., St Mart, D., Torres, M., Echols, J., Islas, M., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2022). Analysis of the efficacy, safety, and cost of alternative forms of creatine available for purchase on Amazon.com: are label claims supported by science? Heliyon, 8(12), e12113. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e12113

Fazio, C., Elder, C. L., & Harris, M. M. (9000). Efficacy of Alternative Forms of Creatine Supplementation on Improving Performance and Body Composition in Healthy Subjects: A Systematic Review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000003873

Hultman, E., Söderlund, K., Timmons, J. A., Cederblad, G., & Greenhaff, P. L. (1996). Muscle creatine loading in men. J Appl Physiol (1985), 81(1), 232-237. https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.1996.81.1.232

Kreider, R. B., Jäger, R., & Purpura, M. (2022). Bioavailability, Efficacy, Safety, and Regulatory Status of Creatine and Related Compounds: A Critical Review. Nutrients, 14(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14051035

Kreider, R. B., Kalman, D. S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., Candow, D. G., Kleiner, S. M., Almada, A. L., & Lopez, H. L. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 18. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z

REFERENCES

Moret, S., Prevarin, A., & Tubaro, F. (2011). Levels of creatine, organic contaminants and heavy metals in creatine dietary supplements. Food Chemistry, 126(3), 1232-1238. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2010.12.028

Wax, B., Kerksick, C. M., Jagim, A. R., Mayo, J. J., Lyons, B. C., & Kreider, R. B. (2021). Creatine for Exercise and Sports Performance, with Recovery Considerations for Healthy Populations. Nutrients, 13(6). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061915

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