Creatine is naturally produced from amino acids in the kidneys, liver and pancreas and is primarily stored in skeletal muscle. It is a critical component in muscle growth and is used as a quick source of energy for muscle contraction during exercise. Creatine gained popularity in the '90s as a natural way to enhance athletic performance. Creatine may enhance muscle mass, strength and total work output, which supports why the supplement is popular among athletes today.
Measure out a rounded teaspoon of powdered creatine. For enhanced athletic performance, the Mayo Clinic suggests a dose of 5 g, four times per day. A rounded teaspoon equals approximately 5 g of creatine.
Mix with 1 pint of water and consume immediately. Repeat this step four times per day. This dosage frequency is recommended during the loading phase. This phase should last from five to seven days for meat eaters and seven to nine days for vegetarians, according to Ray Sahelian, author of "Creatine: Nature's Muscle Builder." The purpose of this period is to maximize your levels of stored creatine and literally load your muscle fibers with the nutrient.
Reduce dosages to the maintenance phase, after the loading phase is complete. Frequency will be two to three times per day with a dosage of 5 g per dose. Again, mix 1 rounded teaspoon with 1 pint water each time.
Drink plenty of water and liquids while supplementing with creatine. Dehydration, heat-related illnesses, muscle cramps, reduced blood volume and electrolyte imbalances are more likely to occur while taking creatine.
Creatine can also be mixed with juice, as the sugars will help transport creatine into the muscle fibers.
Ideal times for supplementation are before and after a workout, as this will ensure adequate levels of the nutrient to be available for use as well as aid in recovery after your workout.
People who experience allergic reactions such as rash, itching or shortness of breath should discontinue use.
Creatine is not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
All supplementation should be discussed with your health care professional before being added to your diet.