A common doubt regarding creatine supplementation, I get almost daily is whether we need to load creatine what is creatinine normal range. Everyone has a different understanding of this concept, but few know the science and the research behind it. This article will once and for all clear this doubt of yours, on the basis of scientific studies.
The researchers saw that the muscle total creatine concentration increased by 20% after 6 days of creatine supplementation at a rate of 20g/day. This elevated concentration was maintained when supplementation was continued at a rate of 2g/day for a further 30 days.
However, in the absence of 2g/day supplementation, total creatine concentration gradually declined, such that 30 days after the cessation of supplementation the concentration was no different from the pre-supplementation value. During this period, urinary creatinine excretion was correspondingly increased.
A similar, but more gradual, 20% increase in muscle total creatine concentration was observed over a period of 28 days when supplementation was undertaken at a rate of 3g/day.
In conclusion, a rapid way to “creatine load” human skeletal muscle is to ingest 20g of creatine for 6 days. This elevated tissue concentration can then be maintained by ingestion of 2g/day thereafter.
On the other hand, the ingestion of 3g creatine/day is in the long term likely to be as effective at raising tissue levels as this higher dose.
However, higher levels of creatine supplementation for longer periods of time may be needed to increase brain concentrations of creatine, offset creatine synthesis deficiencies, or influence disease states. Once muscle creatine stores are fully saturated, creatine stores can generally be maintained by ingesting 3–5g/day, although some studies indicate that larger athletes may need to ingest as much as 5–10g/day in order to maintain creatine stores.
An alternative supplementation protocol is to ingest 3g/day of creatine monohydrate for 28 days. However, this method would only result in a gradual increase in muscle creatine content compared to the more rapid loading method and may, therefore, have less effect on exercise performance and/or training adaptations until creatine stores are fully saturated.
Research has shown that once creatine stores in the muscle are elevated, it generally takes 4–6 weeks for creatine stores to return to baseline. Additionally, it has been recommended that due to the health benefits of creatine, individuals should consume about 3g/day of creatine in their diet, particularly as one age.
With all the above studies, creatine loading proves to be beneficial, but the question is that who needs this extra benefit. Do you need to load creatine? May be or maybe not. If you want to see the results extremely fast, you may undergo a loading protocol. But even taking a maintenance dose every day, will fully saturate your muscles within a month.
Even in the above studies, creatine loading was tested mostly against a placebo. Yes, it will work. But if you test creatine loading against someone who is taking normal creatine dose for a long time, the effects would be the same. Studies also showed that as you age, taking normal doses of creatine would be better than large doses for loading.
According to examine.com, “you do not need to load creatine. Many studies use either a straight dose of 5-10g daily or even smaller amounts (2-3g). These studies also note benefits with creatine supplementation. This method is called ‘Just taking creatine’.
Creatine loading will cause faster saturation of muscles with creatine and can cause greater acute increases in strength and body weight (via water retention). This may also confer a psychological benefit since you can ‘see’ yourself getting bigger. Taking a smaller dose for a longer period of time will eventually reach the same saturation point, but will take longer. The differences at the end of a cycle, should you choose to end the cycle, would be minimal.”
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