What is “Creatine”? Benefits, Dosing, & More Made Easy!

What is “Creatine”? Benefits, Dosing, & More Made Easy!

Creatine and its chemical structure
Good ol’ Creatine!! The nectar of natural athletes.

*This post contains affiliate links*

I’m pretty sure creatine is the most studied supplement in performance enhancement…ever.
This genuinely makes me question how there’s so much debate about dose, timing, what form to use, etc.
The scientific literature seems to reinforce the same concepts more and more overtime.
I’m going to make your creatine use as Mindless & Easy as possible.

TL;DR 5g of creatine a day is all you’ll probably need.

Excluding the possibility that you have some genetic polymorphisms, (genetic problems) a LOT of LEAN body mass, or want to super saturate your tissues for a modest benefit.

Support the blog by getting your creatine from Bulk Supplements here,
Save 5% your entire first order with “SAVE5”

Okay, for those of you who want ACTUAL information and not just snippets, Let’s jump right into it.

Understanding Creatine production in our body

stacking things together, working efficiently like parts of a machine

Creatine Synthesis

Our bodies will naturally produce some creatine, usually, around 1g is produced.

If you’re wondering how this occurs, it’s actually pretty simple.
Your body will take two amino acids, namely, Arginine and Glycine to start the production.

The enzyme “Arginine: glycine amidinotransferase” is then utilized to create guanidinoacetate and ornithine.

Once your body has guanidinoacetate it just needs an enzyme called
“Guanidinoacetate methyltransferase” as well as a form of methionine called
S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) for it to undergo the methylation process to turn into creatine.

Once it’s created it will circulate throughout the body and be deposited into our tissues via the SLC6 transport protein named “Creatine-Transporter“.

Most creatine is stored in our skeletal muscle but it’s found in also places like the brain where it provides neuroprotective effects.

Before we can reap the performance-enhancing benefits of creatine, there’s one last additional step we need to undergo.

Creatine will need to be phosphorylated into phosphocreatine by an enzyme called Creatine kinase.

Creatine-kinase allows the reversible reaction of producing phosphocreatine by taking ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) and Creatine to create phosphocreatine and ADP (Adenosine diphosphate).

The phosphocreatine is then stored in our muscle cells alongside normal creatine stores.

Why is this necessary?

The stored phosphocreatine is utilized during anaerobic exercises like weightlifting or short bouts of explosive energy. (like a 40meter or a 100 meter dash)

Lastly, and a nice bonus for anyone who actually reads this far:

Taking Creatine with a CARBOHYDRATE source, it will allow better absorption of creatine.

How does it do that?

GLut4 transporters will allow for the uptake and saturation of creatine much faster when activated via the ingestion of carbohydrates.

Creatine supplementation practices

scale weighing out creatine monohydrate

Now that we understand HOW creatine works, I think it’s appropriate to dive into some of the standard practices.

Standard dosing for creatine

For the purpose of this article assume that dosing is being measured by standard creatine monohydrate unless indicated otherwise.

Creatine is supplemented in athletes often in two “phases“.

  1. Loading Phase
  2. Maintenance Phase

The loading phase is when first introducing exogenous creatine into your body in bolus doses to reach muscular storage saturation.

The maintenance phase is when muscular saturation of creatine has been achieved and you are taking a lower dose to maintain consistent reservoirs of intramuscular creatine.

Amount of creatine taken (in grams)Consecutive days of supplementation
205
1010
3-530+
saturation MAY be achieved throughout continued utilization of nearly 5g creatine over a month

It’s important to note the last row on the table,
The 30+ days of continued supplementation is to indicate that if you take around 5 grams of creatine every day in your routine, you could potentially reach your saturation point.
Also, I like to mention the above methods incase someone has a sensitivity to excess creatine.
You DONT need bolus doses of 10 or 20g at once.

You can opt for an option that leads to less stomach problems (like bloating)

This can be achieved by splitting up dosages throughout the day or taking a different form of Creatine.

Additionally, I know three close friends who take HCL because they don’t bloat with that form and it mixes with water easily.

Personally, I don’t like the price point and I tolerate monohydrate fine, so i have never used it.

If you were curious about trying it out you can do so here:

It’s about $13 for 100g.

Once an appropriate loading phase is determined and fulfilled, we reach the maintenance phase.
The maintenance phase of creatine is now a relatively contentious topic that I’ll dive into further below.

Conflicting information on creatine dose for athletes.

Calculating sciences

Once the maintenance phase is achieved, it is been generally accepted that 3-5g per day will illicit performance-enhancing benefits.

The topic of controversy arises from new literature suggesting that ALTHOUGH 5 grams of creatine a day will produce ergogenic effects. a scale of “relative dosing” needs to be applied to individuals for their MAXIMAL efficacious outcomes.

Two proposed measures for doserelative dose
For total body weight (in kg)0.1g/kg
For total lean body mass (in kg)0.06g/kg
Proposed outlines of relative dosing for creatine supplementation

The rationale behind a scale of relative dosing makes sense from the context of performance enhancement.
Earlier, we mentioned that creatine and phosphocreatine are stored primarily in the muscles.
This means that when we engage in physical activity, we may expend our energy and deplete our stores of creatine/phosphocreatine.
More muscle and overall body mass may indicate a need for MORE creatine to be leveraged in order to provide energy expenditure.

Calculating the relative dose in athletes:

To make this a little easier to conceptualize, here is a small table outlining are the proposed methods of creation supplementation in a real-world context.

Rick (6’5, 220lbs 10% body fat)Rick’s daily dose of creatine
(Standard 5g/d maintenance dose)5g
Relative dose (total body weight)~10g
Relative dose (total lean body mass)~5.5g

Relative dose (total body weight) formula

To calculate the relative dose for rick’s total body weight, we need to convert his weight from lbs to kg. (220/2.205)
Afterward, we need to take his weight in kg and multiply it by the proposed relative dosing guideline of 0.1g to get our result of 9.977g of creatine.
In a practical application of this supplement, we would round up and take 10g, twice the amount of standard maintenance doses.

Relative dose (total lean body mass)

In the relative dose for lean muscle tissue, we first need to calculate Rick’s lean body mass.
Lean body mass is calculated by taking someone’s body weight and subtracting the weight that comes from fat mass.
In this example, Rick is 10% body fat, meaning we need to take his body weight (220lbs) and multiply that number by 10% to identify his fat mass. (220 x .10 = 22lbs of fat mass.)
Now, we need to subtract the fat mass from his body weight to get lean body mass (220 – 22 = 198lbs lean body mass)
From here, we simply take his weight in lean body mass, convert it to kg and then multiply it by the proposed relative dose outlined above. (198/2.205 = ~89.8kg) (88.8 * 0.06 = 5.388)

We can see here that Rick’s relative dose based on his lean body mass is 5.388g.
In a practical application of this supplement, we would round up to 5.5g.
This is significantly lower than his other relative dose but higher than the standard maintenance dose.

Understanding the difference between these “relative doses”

figuring out the reasons behind relative dosing

If you HAD to choose a relative dose scale to follow, I feel that the latter (5.5g) is a fair assessment of his necessity for the dose of creatine he takes daily.

The removal of fat mass in the calculation makes sense as we are trying to calculate the amount of stored creatine.
(and earlier we talked about the muscle tissue storing phosphocreatine/creatine)

Also, noted earlier, 3-5g is generally understood to be a dose that will generate performance enhancement in athletes.

In the case of Rick, the super-ripped bodybuilder, he only needs about 7% more total creatine in his supplementation despite being well above average in terms of body composition, meaning that for others in this calculation 5g would be more than enough.

Lastly, while I wrap this up, I’d like to say, I don’t believe using the 10g a day on the relative dosing is a bad thing.

In fact, there isn’t really a concern for harm considering it’s so extensively studied.

Alongside that, the potential benefits one could get in terms of performance enhancement could merit the inclusion of this type of dosing.

Also, the relative dosing of 10g could be VERY beneficial for a slew of other reasons.

Some people are considered “Non-responders” due to poor conversion or transporters of creatine.

Creatine has more roles than to just help with skeletal muscles and performance in the gym.

Cognitive function can improve as well with proper creatine stores.

Lastly, this is one of the best places to start with augmenting your performance.

Asides from digestive issues like bloating/gas I don’t think there’s really much that would get in the way.

Closing note on creatine

Hopefully, this article gives you another lens on viewing creatine supplementation.
I’ve been taking creatine for almost a decade at this point and there isn’t really too much that’s changed in the “tried and true” camp of thought.

Personally, I formulated my pre-workout to include 5g inside of it, so I don’t really feel like taking an extra half scoop to get my “relative” dose.
(At that point I’d be at around 10.5g of citrulline and 450mg of caffeine, so I’d pass)

However; if someone isn’t taking advantage of pre-workouts and supplementing with single ingredients and buys in bulk, adding a little extra powder wouldn’t hurt.

Where to find Affordable Creatine?

Get some of the most affordable creatine from bulksupplements.com
Get BulkSupplements to SAVE BIG and stay stocked up!

I’ve used bulk supplements since I was in high school and all throughout college.
To this day, they seem to still be on top in terms of having the most affordable prices and variety in size.
So if you want to pick up a kilo of creatine, go ahead and snag some from them here.
You get 200 servings at 5g a serving for just shy of $60

That means that you get an ENTIRE YEAR for just around $100.

Just a little over a QUARTER per day to augment your lifestyle.

I can say without a doubt that is an ASTOUNDINGLY great investment in yourself with such a LOW barrier to entry and a HIGH return on your investment (aka your health.)

***UPDATE:10/20/2022 Received an Affiliate partnership with Bulksupplements, I’ve included a code at the start of the article to save money as well as updated my amazon affiliate code at the end of this article with their direct access referral.

Thanks for reading

Lastly, feel free to comment down below your thoughts on creatine, do you take it? if so do you have a preference for what kind? how much do you take each day?
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to post them below or send me an email using the contact me form

Alternatively, if I don’t email you back within a day or so, float me a follow @Damonisvegan.
Just start with a message request by telling me your name/ what your question is and I’ll do my best to get back to you.

Also, feel free to see some other quick write-ups I have on supplements here, as I may have answered any questions you may have had on other supplements as well.

Toodles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *