According to Web MD, in a scientific study by various researchers creatine can be taken everyday.
How much you take and the duration is all dependent on what purpose you are taking it for.
Reasons you may take supplements of creatine include: athletic performance, increased muscle strength, age related muscle loss, (which is also known as sarcopenia) or creatine is often used for children or adults who have disorders of creatine metabolism or transport.
Should you take creatine everyday or just on days you workout?
In a study published by Grant Tinsley PhD, he notes that creatine is one of the most popular exercise performance supplements.
PubMed Central (a highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health), published a study that also came to the conclusion that talking creatine can increase strength gains when used with a weight training program.
The reason for this is most likely a result of the important role that creatine plays in cellular energy production.
Dr. Tinsley further explains that while you can take your creatine supplement every day, if you’re looking to use it for athletic performance gains, you should take it either directly before you work out, or directly after.
Some participants in the study split the dose so that they could have half pre and post workout.
Those who followed this regime were found to have gained more muscle and strength then those who took their creatine in the early morning or late in the evening.
Do you have to take creatine everyday for it to work?
A common misunderstanding with creatine is the assumption that it is a steroid, which it absolutely is not, Makayla Mexiner MS & RDN writes in her article for healthline.
There are several ways you can take this supplement. Did you know that creatine not only helps build muscle but it also helps prevent sport related injuries and is found in the body naturally?
If you want to adjust your diet accordingly for maximum creatine intake up your protein! Your levels of creatine can receive a boost if you eat a diet rich in meat, fish and chicken.
But have no fear, you don’t have to load up on lean protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are ways that you can also supplement with creatine in helpful and healthy ways.
So, should you take it everyday? The short answer is yes. If you want lasting results and not just “a burst of benefits” when taken before or after a workout you can begin the process called “creatine loading”.
Trainers recommend this loading phase to help rapidly maximize your muscle storage. What happens during this stage is that you consume a large amount of creatine in a short amount of time, so that you can rapidly saturate your muscles with the creatine.
It’s recommended to take 20 grams of creatine daily for around 5 to 7 days. Once you finish this loading phase you then move on to the “maintaining phase”. To follow the maintaining phase, you should take a lower dose of creatine daily. This dose is between 2 to 7 grams per day.
If you find yourself in a situation where you do not need to rapidly build up your creatine levels and engage in the loading stage then you can slowly add in creatine to your routine.
Although it may take a bit longer, taking a lower dose of creatine daily can be as equally
effective at adding to your muscle creatine storage. Pubmed.org shared the results of one study that showed muscles became fully saturated after people took only 3 grams of creatine everyday for 28 days.
In summary, it may take you about 3 more weeks to maximize your total muscle storage when using this method to build up your creatine levels.
BMC (or BioMed Central), published their results that showed when following the slower build up of creatine, it in result takes a slower amount of time to see the beneficial results. Which is to be expected.
Is it bad to take creatine every day?
Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD published a report with healthline regarding the safety and long term effects of taking creatine everyday.
It is beneficial to know that creatine is a well studied and safe supplement.
When studied in a variety of people, it was shown that taking creatine supplements in doses up to 4-20 grams per day, in a time span of 10 months to 5 years, showed that there were no detrimental health effects.
Although, it is commonly thought that taking creatine supplements can be harmful to kidney health.
But when studied in those with type 2 diabetes, (which is a medical condition that can impair kidney function), supplementing with up to 5 grams of creatine per day for 12 weeks did not seem to harm overall kidney health.
Unfortunately, studies that focus on the concern of those suffering from kidney disease are still lacking.
So it’s important to check with your primary physician before starting a creatine supplement routine, especially if you have impaired or damaged kidneys.
Overall, creatine is known for its strong safety profile, and creatine is highly unlikely to cause negative side effects when used in the recommended dosage for your body.
Even though creatine has such positive reviews it’s still important to not take more than the recommended dose, or you could suffer from minor but uncomfortable side effects.
Some of these side effects can include: bloating, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, excessive burping, and a side effect that’s not related to health, a waste of money.
Mayo Clinic points out that those who have low levels of creatine, such as vegetarians do appear to benefit the most from taking creatine supplements.
Again, creatine supplements are often taken most by those looking to improve their athletic performance, and to increase overall muscle mass.
But, with physician monitoring people are also using oral creatine to treat congestive heart failure, certain brain disorders, and more.
Most recently, topical creatine is being studied for use in order to treat skin aging, and prevent or lessen the appearance of wrinkles.
In the same article in reference with the Mayo Clinic, it’s important that you not take creatine supplements and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs at the same time.
These are also commonly referred to as NSAIDs, and are known by brand names such as ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, and naproxen sodium (Aleve). Mixing these can result in damage to your kidneys.