man doing muscle workouts

Creatine can help you enhance the size and the bulkiness of your muscles, and that's just a small portion of the benefits that you'll experience by using Creatine properly. 

There are many different types of Creatine to choose from, each has different recommendations for optimal dosages and of course, there are many myths as well and a lot of conflicting information about the best way to use Creatine to build more muscles, improve performances and to see better results. So I want to provide you the best strategy for taking Creatine to see faster progress. 

Where Creatine is produced?

If you haven't used Creatine before, you should know that it's not some synthetic compound made in a lab, but creatine is produced in your body in your kidneys liver and pancreas naturally, and studies show that it is perfectly safe to use as a supplement. 

Food sources of Creatine

Natural source of Creatine is our diet, through which we get the Creatine and other essential nutrients, different foods like fish, red meat, pork, chicken and turkey are the good sources or Creatine. But even though you can get Creatine from the food it's still really tough to get enough of it on a daily basis. Because, when you cook meat it loses at least a quarter of its Creatine content which means you would have to eat anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds of meat per day to take enough Creatine to notice any kind of improvement in your physique or performance.

creatine promoting diet

Does Creatine supplement work?

The vast majority of the supplements on the market are unnecessary and practically useless, Creatine is one of the very few that has been proven to be beneficial and effective over and over again. For example, in a study analysis where Creatine was compared to over 250 supplements for muscle growth, it had the most significant impact on increasing muscle mass. 

There's also enough evidence to suggest that weight lifters that supplement Creatine for 3 months tend to gain between 2 to 6 and a half extra pounds of lean body mass compared to those that train without it.

Which Creatine is best for muscle gain?

There are different types of creatine to choose from, but which one will get you the best results and the fastest? Well, Creatine monohydrate is the most popular and best form of Creatine out there. 

Other popular options include Creatine hydrochloride, Micronized Creatine, Creatine ethyl ester, and Creatine KRE-ALKALYN. These all options promise to either increase absorbability or to reduce the side effects that are typically associated with using Creatine monohydrate which include things like bloating and stomach discomfortUnfortunately, there isn't much research backing up these claims though. 

study on Creatine HCl found that it is 38 times more dissolvable in water than regular monohydrate. But simply dissolving better in water doesn't prove much about how well it's absorbed by the body nor does it prove that there are fewer side effects.

Micronized Creatine, even though it's made up of Creatine molecules that have already been divided up into smaller parts without supporting scientific evidence simply drinking smaller Creatine molecules does not prove that it's easier for your body to absorb. 

A study on Creatine Ethyl Ester showed that it's still not as effective as regular Creatine monohydrate although it has a much higher price.

Finally, with Creatine KRE-ALKALYN we have a 2012 study where researchers compared supplementing with Creatine KRE-ALKALYN against supplementing with regular monohydrate and they found no evidence of reduced side effects nor do they find any evidence of it being more effective like the supplement companies were claiming.

So, the best most researched, cheapest and the safest bet is to stick with Creatine monohydrate and only experiment with others like Creatine HCl if you definitely feel bloating or other digestive issues from taking monohydrate.

How much Creatine should I take daily?

You might be wondering how much Creatine you should take each time and when to take it for optimal results. 

Well, as far as how much to take each day, for a long time it was thought to be absolutely essential to do a week-long loading phase where you would have 20 to 25 grams of Creatine every day for five to seven days and then you would transition to only having 3 to 5 grams per day after that.

How long does creatine take to work?

Studies have shown that this strategy of taking in about 20 grams of Creatine every day for about six days provides a rapid way to saturate your muscles full of Creatine.  However, they also show that the exact same result could be achieved over a longer period of time by taking only 3 grams a day for 28 days.

Now keep in mind once you saturate your muscles full of Creatine any extra Creatine you take in will be excreted out by your kidneys as waste. So even though loading can saturate your muscles faster you can also just take three to five grams per day save some money and still see the same results over the long-term. 

But if you don't want to wait 28 days and you want to feel the effects faster just remember to divide the 20 grams per day into two 10 gram servings before and after your workout or into five grams increments spread out into four portions throughout the day. This is done to prevent stomach issues that could come up from taking such a large serving all at once.

What's best to mix with creatine?

man drinking creatine shake

If you're really looking to speed up the absorption of Creatine into your muscles even faster it's important to consider what you're mixing the Creatine with as this can be just as helpful. 

In the past grape juice was considered the go-to drink to mix Creatine with but the truth is that grapes didn't contain some special quality that made the Creatine any more effective. Instead, the sugar in the grape juice led to an insulin spike and since insulin acts as a bridge between the nutrients you take in and your cells, it led to faster and more effective absorption you can see this play out in a study where loading Creatine in combination with carbs or protein and carbs led to significantly greater Creatine retention than just loading Creatine alone without carbs and protein. 

According to the study if you take Creatine along with carbs and protein during a loading phase you can drop the time it takes to maximize your muscle Creatine stores to only two to three days instead of the six to seven days that it would normally take if you were loading without adding carbs and protein to your Creatine supplement. 

If you want to try this method to speed up your loading phase, even more, you can easily combine Creatine carbs and protein together by simply adding Creatine into a protein shake and then either mixing in some simple table sugar or blending in a banana into your shake.

Once your muscle Creatine stores are full it just doesn't matter what you're taking Creatine with whether it's water grape juice or a protein shake filled with table sugar because you've already maximized your muscle’s Creatine stores. This is exactly why regardless of whether you load or not after you've already saturated your muscles full of Creatine taking a 3 to 5 grams dose per day is all you'll need to maintain your elevated muscle Creatine stores over the long run, and you can take that 3 to 5 gram serving with whatever beverage you want to continuously top off your body's Creatine supply.

What happens when you stop taking creatine?

Some people also do choose to cycle Creatine use where they take it for 6 to 12 weeks and then they stop for 4 weeks before going back on Creatine again. There really is no conclusive evidence in favor of cycling or not cycling as far as results go. 

According to research, it does seem perfectly safe to continuously take Creatine without cycling at all, but if you consistently take Creatine without stopping then there is absolutely no need for a loading phase there's no need to worry about what you're taking Creatine with and you'll only need about 3 grams per day to keep your muscles saturated.

When to take Creatine Supplement?

As far as when to take it there have been a couple studies done in which they compared taking Creatine before a workout against taking it after a workout, and some of these studies showed that it was best to take after a workoutwhile others showed that there was no difference between taking it before or after the workout.

Even though we can't conclusively see a bigger advantage from taking it either directly before or directly after your workout there may be a benefit of taking Creatine in close proximity to your workout rather than at some random arbitrary time of the day. 

When researchers compared a group of men taking Creatine either early in the morning or later on in the evening to a group of men taking Creatine either directly before or after their workout, the group that took Creatine closer to their workout gained more muscle mass and lost more body fat. They also seem to have gained a little more strength in exercises like bench press, squats, and deadlifts. However, there were two problems with this study, one is that there was a very small sample size of only 23 men, and two is that they were taking the Creatine along with protein and carbohydrates, and having the protein and carbs closer to after work out rather than at some random point of the day could have affected the results.

As said earlier, your body will eventually maximize its Creatine stores with enough time so you can dismiss this study and just take Creatine whenever you want.

Best time to take Creatine

If you just want to be on the safe side to ensure that you absorb the Creatine as fast as possible you can choose to take it either directly before or after your workout rather than at some random point of the day. You can also split the amount you take in half this way you can have some both before and after your workout, and on days where you're not working out, it definitely won't matter at all when you do take it.

Does Creatine cause hair loss?

Finally, the last thing I want to cover in this article is hair loss that's actually one of the most common questions nowadays in relation to the safety of taking Creatine. This idea mostly came from just one Creatine hair loss study done on rugby players that found that Creatine use increased their levels of DHT which is a hormone associated with hair loss. 

In this study, DHT or Dihydrotestosterone levels went up 40% and while that might sound like a lot, you will be surprised to know that simply starting to exercise can increase your DHT levels by 10 to 30 percent

Even if DHT levels rise it doesn't mean that your hair will automatically fall out if you're not genetically susceptible to male pattern baldness, if your mom's dad has a full head of hair you're most likely not, but even if male pattern baldness does run in the family there's still not enough proof that Creatine will raise DHT levels enough and keep it elevated for long enough to make you go bald. 

The bottom line is that we need a lot more studies and evidence supporting this one study on rugby players before we can even come close to the conclusion that Creatine use leads to hair loss. 


Keep in mind that supplements like Creatine can help, but no supplement will replace hard work in the gym combined with a solid meal plan. At the end of the day supplements will only make up a very small portion of your results and the rest will have to come from your diet and training plan.

muscles building supplements