What’s the current thoughts/research on loading Creatine? In the past, you were thought to “load” 5-7 days of the cycle 20-30g Creatine, then maintain 10-15g throughout the cycle. Thoughts? And what thoughts on when to stop/re-start cycle/s? Which would have more medium to long term benefits for a sprinter? Cycling, with periods of time off Creatine, or a constant maintainance phase thoughout the season?

There are too many threads on this. Basically, loading is not necessary. You can get by 3-5g per day and be fine. Loading is pretty much marketing to get you to use more faster and then go out and buy more.

Several studies conducted by the Australian Institute of Sport have all but concluded that a loading phase is at worst, useless, at best, unnessesary.

Luca - Other studies have shown that precise loading protocols based on bodyweight are extremely effective.

Try this one:

Day 1 = 0.28 g/kg;
Day 3 = 0.24 g/kg;
Day 5 = 0.25 g/kg;
Day 7 = 0.24 g/kg
(g of creatine per kg of lean body mass).

This came from a study was done that showed a negative correlation between lean tissue mass and creatine excretion. The above protocol was suggested to minimize excretion.

(Burke, D., et al. (2000). Can J Appl Physiol. 25(5):361.)

Azza - this question has been answered numerous times already.

Here’s some reading to get you started


Couldn’t find the study mentioned, but the suggested dosages are way too high, especially for athletes.

I found the following study to corroborate my statement.

The effect of 7 days of creatine supplementation on 24-hour urinary creatine excretion.Burke DG, Smith-Palmer T, Holt LE, Head B, Chilibeck PD.
Department of Human Kinetics, St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Since the discovery that oral ingestion of creatine leads to an increase in intramuscular creatine, its supplementation has become widespread. However, the dosage necessary to maximize retention and create significant increases in intramuscular creatine is poorly understood. In this study, 24-hour urinary creatine and creatinine levels of 20 university men’s football players and 20 university men’s hockey players involved in a resistance-exercise program and supplementing with creatine were collected and analyzed. In a double-blind, randomized design, 10 football players and 10 hockey players were randomly assigned to either the supplement or placebo group. Subjects provided a 24-hour urine sample twice during the study: once prior to supplementation (baseline) and the second 7 days after daily supplementation and resistance exercise. Creatine dosage was 0.1 g x kg(-1) lean body mass. The quantity of creatine ingested was compared with the amount excreted in the urine of those subjects supplementing with creatine and with placebo. Creatinine levels were compared between the first and second urine collection and between groups. Creatine and creatinine concentrations were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography. In 24-hours, 46% of the ingested creatine was excreted. There was no change in creatine levels for placebo subjects. Creatinine levels remained the same within groups at the first and second collection times (p < 0.05). Our findings indicate that when supplementing with dosages of 0.1 g x kg(-1) lean body mass or between 6 and 8 g at a time, approximately half of the ingested creatine gets excreted. Because there was no change in urinary creatinine, it can be assumed that enhanced degradation of creatine did not occur.

Ah… the 0.03/0.04 daily fluctuation was quite funny… :smiley:

Wow. I think we covered this back in 2004 on here! :slight_smile:

But basically, all that study proves is that the more creatine you take, the more you excrete. What it doesn’t say is that the more creatine you take the more muscle creatine and phosphocreatine content you’ll have, which is the reason why you supplement with it in the first place. High phosphocreatine improves ATP resynthesis in type II muscle fibers and facilitates the rate of muscle relaxation. That’s why the above protocol was researched in an effort to find the optimal dosages that maximized creatine retention and phosphocreatine levels while minimizing excretion.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the bottom line is, the more creatine you ingest, the more creatine you have in your blood. Going low dose on creatine to minimize excretion is like drinking less water so you don’t urinate as much.

I agree with these responses.

A loading phase is unnecessary. Much research has demonstrated this-including that material which has already been referenced here.

Such a phase only benefits the supplement company and not the user.

Start on a maintenance protocol and stay with that.

If your goal is to increase muscle creatine and phosphocreatine content quickly for immediate benefits - use the protocol I’ve outlined above and then take 2 grams a day after day 7.

If you want to wait 3-4 weeks to see the benefits from creatine supplementation program, follow a maintenance protocol - take an arbitrary amount (3-5 grams a day, towards the higher end depending on muscle mass and recent usage).

A loading phase is a good way to get injured if you’re a sprinter. Always start from a small amout and see how, or if it works for you.

Another study on lower dosage Creatine usage:

The Effect of Continuous Low Dose Creatine Supplementation on Force, Power, and Total Work

Darren G. Burke; Shawn Silver; Laurence E. Holt; Truis Smith-Palmer; Christopher J. Culligan; Philip D. Chilibeck
Full Article Table of Contents for Vol. 10, Iss. 3

Dietary supplementation (SUP) has become a significant part of athletic training. Studies indicate that creatine (Cr) can enhance short-duration, high-intensity activities. This study examined the effect of 21 days of low dose Cr SUP (~7.7 g/day) and resistance training on force output, power output, duration of mean peak power output, and total work performed until fatigue. A double-blind protocol was used, where an individual, who was not part of any other aspect of the study, randomly assigned subjects to creatine and placebo groups. Forty-one male university athletes were randomly assigned to either Cr (n = 20) or placebo (n = 21) SUP. On the first and last day of the study, subjects were required to perform concentric bench press movements until exhaustion on an isokinetic dynamometer. The dynamometer was hard-wired to a personal computer, which provided force, velocity, and duration measures. Force and power output until fatigue, were used to determine total work, force-time, and power-time relationships. ANOVA results revealed that the Cr subjects performed more total work until fatigue, experienced significantly greater improvements in peak force and peak power, and maintained elevated mean peak power for a longer period of time. These results indicate that Cr SUP can significantly improve factors associated with short-duration, high-intensity activity.

Still can’t find the study by Burke cited by Ironhead, what was its title?

I posted that 2 years ago! Let me try to dig it up.

I the meantime, I think you’ll find this 2005 study interesting.

6 g aday for 6 days - no significant differences were observed in peak power, body mass, mean power, or total work. However, there was a significant reduced fatigue rate compared to the placebo group…

Hoffman JR, Stout JR, Falvo MJ, Kang J, Ratamess NA (2005) Effect of Low-Dose, Short-Duration Creatine Supplementation on Anaerobic Exercise Performance. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Vol. 19, No. 2 pp. 260–264

Interesting, indeed.

Seems like that performance wise, a lower dosage (6-7gr.), starts to show its benefits somewhere between 1 and 3 weeks after the beginning of the supplementation.

The time could be longer (2-4 weeks?) for even lower dosages (2-4 gr.).

Recovery wise, the effects should be much faster.

Can’t find the study title, but I do know it was presented at the 2000 Canadian Society For Exercise Physiology in Canmore Alberta.