Creatine Dosage Recommendations and Cycling
Creatine is nitrogenous organic acid occurring naturally in all vertebrates. Creatine helps to supply energy to muscle and nerve cells. In recent times, Creatine has achieved popularity as a drug, which helps gain muscle mass, and enhance sporting performance, without any attributable side effects.
However trainers and physicians warn that improper dosage of Creatine can result in short term effects like weight gain, nausea, vomiting, muscle and stomach cramps to long term effects like Kidney and Gastro Intestinal problems.
The storehouse of Creatine – our muscles, can be made to store larger quantities of Creatine through loading creatine in the initial phases, which maintains a certain level of Creatine in the body even when one is taking lesser creatine supplements. Manufacturers claim that initially as much as 20 grams of creatine should be ingested followed by lower dosages.
However, dosage still has been a bone of contention among users. “How much is enough?” – is a frequently asked question. When using creatine, one should keep in mind that not everyone reacts to creatine in the same way. Users having less Creatine in the body, like vegetarians, show a quicker and more perceptible reaction to Creatine. Meat eaters, who have presence of creatine in their body in comparatively larger quantities, will have a slower reaction. This should not lead the latter group to take higher dosages of creatine.
Generally athletes using creatine take a “loading dose" of 20 to 25 grams a day for one week; then begin a "maintenance cycle" of 3 to 5 grams per day. The "loading" and "maintenance" dosage recommendations differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Usually the "maintenance cycle" is continued for a month after which athletes “cycle off” from Creatine for a week or so. This follows a resumption of creatine with the “loading dose". Cycling Creatine dosages help athletes to overcome any immunity which the body builds against creatine and take advantage of the extra water weight and strength which comes from reloading.
Diagrammatic representation of the Creatine cycle
Through with creatine cycling athletes try to replicate the results of creatine which were obtained when they started to take it. Creatine, through a process of loading and off-loading becomes the most effective health supplement. There may of course be disadvantages to ingesting creatine in high dosages frequently. Among these, the most apparent is that the body may stop its own creatine manufacturing process, when creatine is ingested in high dosages. Though studies have not confirmed this, trainers and physicians believe this to be true.
Physicians are extremely wary of such high dosages of creatine. They usually recommend that the “loading dose" should be done away with and the daily dosages should be cut to half, claiming that excess amount of creatine ingesting results only in wastage of creatine, because the body can only stand a certain amount of creatine. The excess amount of creatine is excrreted. They also recommend the “cycling off” period which gives the body a break from excess creatine. They claim that through this better results can be achieved.
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