Creatine is an acid produced in the liver and kidneys that provides energy to the muscles. Many people take creatine supplements to increase lean muscle mass and boost their athletic performance. The most important factors that affect creatine dose are age, weight and the length of time a person has been supplementing creatine. During the first few days of taking creatine, known as the creatine loading phase, users might take a larger dose until the muscles have reached their saturation point. People who are taking creatine for anything other than gaining strength and muscle mass will typically follow different dosage plans as dictated by their physician.
A popular way to take creatine is to begin by taking a high creatine dose for several days. Creatine supplements contain two different types of naturally occurring creatine: free creatine and creatine phosphate. Creatine phosphate is responsible for providing power during vigorous activity. Quickly loading the muscles with creatine is believed to increase muscle strength and endurance faster than beginning at a lower dose.
To load the muscles, adults can begin by taking 20 grams of creatine for four to seven days. Due to the dehydrating nature of creatine, users should drink plenty of water during this period. It is important for them to understand that consuming higher doses will not increase the results. Instead, excessive doses might lead to several side effects, including upset stomach, cramps and muscle injuries.
After the loading phase, users should lower their creatine dose to between 2 and 5 grams each day. Users can also customize their dose according to their body weight. For a customized dosage, adults can consume 0.3 milligrams for every 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of body weight. Creatine is not recommended for non-medical use in young athletes. Due to the potential for side effects, children and adolescents should only use creatine under the supervision of a medical professional.
Creatine has also been used to treat patients suffering from heart failure, Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy, gyrate atrophy and other conditions. Patients suffering from heart failure are usually put on a creatine dose of 20 grams for five to 10 days. In those suffering from other conditions, various doses might be recommended.
People suffering from serious medical conditions should not use creatine without consulting their physician. This is especially true for patients suffering from liver and kidney diseases, as creatine might affect the functioning of these organs. A physician will be able to evaluate his or her patient’s condition and determine the safest and most effective creatine dose.