How much creatine should I take?
Creatine Monohydrate is the most widely researched health & fitness supplement available. Use this calculator to find a safe and appropriate dose.
We created this calculator to help people dose creatine properly relative to body weight. Manufacturers of creatine monohydrate often use a “one size fits all” approach in their recommended dose, which is generally much more than even very heavy athletes need.
Creatine Supplement Dose Calculator
Calculator created by Jeff Burmann, NSCA-CPT. Questions? Email Jeff
Creatine is a nitrogen rich organic compound that is naturally occurring and synthesized in the body. It plays a vital role in energy production, and is especially important during short duration, high intensity exercise. In the body, creatine combines readily with phosphate to create phosphocreatine (PCr), also known as creatine phosphate. Creatine phosphate is stored in the muscle cells, where it is used to help synthesize ATP. When working at high intensity, the body’s ATP stores would be rapidly depleted. Creatine phosphate breaks down and lends its phosphate to ADP, helping to re-synthesize ATP. This pathway is the fastest means of ATP production, but like ATP, creatine phosphate stores are quickly depleted. Once you run out of ATP and the PCr you need to re-synthesize it, you will be unable to maintain the same intensity, and will have to either slow down, or rest completely.
Creatine is found in abundance in meat and fish, but creatine monohydrate supplements are an excellent source. Luckily for vegans and vegetarians, many creatine supplements are not sourced from animal products. Consuming creatine in the diet or supplementing with it, allows you to maintain greater concentrations of PCr in the muscle, buffering the loss of ATP, and allowing for greater strength, and higher work output during high intensity exercise.
Creatine supplementation has been shown in numerous studies to improve mental and physical performance. Overall strength, muscle growth, cell hydration, and recovery between workouts are just a few of the benefits afforded by creatine. Supplementing with creatine monohydrate will increase the creatine content in the muscles by about 20%. Once the muscles are fully saturated, excess creatine will be excreted through the urine. When you stop supplementing, levels will revert to baseline in about a month.
Body Composition Changes: Changes in body composition are expected with longer term creatine supplementation. Greater water retention within muscle cells is part of this change. Also, greater creatine levels in the muscle may increase contractile protein synthesis. Don’t worry, this isn’t negative like putting on more fat. This, to most athletes is a huge benefit.
Side Effects: A few possible adverse effects have been reported such as mild gas, diarrhea, and muscle cramps; however controlled studies have yet to find any significant side effects. As far as long term side effects go, more research is needed. A major concern is that the increased nitrogen content can strain the kidneys, but no renal dysfunction or failure has been reported in studies ranging in length from 5 days to 5 years.
Note: We use a loading dose because if you just take the smaller amount, it will take a month for the muscles to become saturated as opposed to just 5 days.
Disclaimer: By using our calculator, and any information on our site, you agree to take full responsibility for your actions whether related to your health or not. Talk to your doctor before supplementing with anything just to be on the safe side.
- National Strength and Conditioning Association’s “NSCA’s Essentials of Strength and Conditioning” Human Kinetics. 2008. Pg 195-197.
- Balsom, P.D., B. Ekblom, K. Soderlund, B. Sjoden, and E. Hultman. Creatine supplementation and dynamic high-intensity intermittent exercise. Scand J Med Sci Sports
- Bemben, M.G., D.A. Bemben, D.D. Lotfiss, and A.W. Khehans. Creatine supplementation during resistance training in college football athletes. Med Sci Sports Exercise
- Bessman, S.P., and F. Savabi. The role of the phosphocreatine energy shuttle in exercise and muscle hypertrophy. In: Biochemistry of Exercise VII, A.W. Taylor, P.D. Gollnick, H.J. Green, C.D. Ianuzzo, E.G. Noble, G. Metivier, and J.R. Sutton, eds. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 1990
- Boobis, L.H. Metabolic aspects of fatigue during sprinting. In: Exercise: Benefits, Limitations and Adaptations, D. Macleaod, R. Maughan, M. Nimmo, T. Reilly, and C. Williams, es. London
- Brenner, M.,J. Walberg-Rankin, and D. Sebolt. The effect of creatine supplementation during resistance training in women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 14:205-213. 2000
- Eckerson, J.M., J.R. Stout, G.A. Moore, N.J. Stone, K. Nishimura, and K. Tamura. Effect of two and five days of creatine loading on anaerobic working capacity in women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 18: 168-172. 2004.
- Gaitanos, G.C., C. Williams, L. Boobis, and S. Brooks. Human muscle metabolism during intermittent maximal exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology 75: 712-719. 1993
- Haff, G.G., K.B. Kirksey, M.H. Stone, B.J. Warren, R.L. Johnson, M. Stone, H. O’Bryant, and C. Proulx. The effect of 6 weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation on dynamic rate of force development. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 14: 426-433. 2000
- Hirvonen, J., S. Rehunen, H. Rusko, and M. Harkonen. Breakdown of high-energy phosphate compounds and lactate accumulation during short supramaximal exercise. Eur Journal of Applied Physiology 56: 253-259. 1987
- Hoffman, J.R., N.A. Ratamess, J. Kang, G. Mangine, A.D. Faigenbaum, and J.R. Stout. Effect of creatine and B-Alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab
- Hultman, E., K. Soderlund, J.A. Timmons, G. Cederblad, and P.L. Greenhaff. Muscle creatine loading in man. Journal of Applied Physiology 81: 232-237. 1996
- Kreider, R.B., M. Ferreira, M. Wilson, and A.L. Almada. Effects of calcium B-hydroxy-B-methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation during resistance-training on markers of catabolism, body composition and strength.
- Kreider, R.B., M. Fereira, M. Wilson, P. Grindstaff, S. Plisk, J. reinardy, E. Cantler, and A.L. Almada. Effects of creatine supplementation on body composition, strength and sprint performance. Med Sci Sports Exercise 30: 73-82. 1998
- Lehmkuhl, M.,M. Malone, B. Justice, G. Trone, E. Pistilli, D. Vinci, E. Haff, J.L. Kilgore, and G.G. Haff. The effects of 8-weeks of creatine monohydrate and glutamine supplementation on body composition and performance measures. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 17: 425-438. 2003
- Pearson, D.R., D.G. Hamby, W. Russel, and T. Harris. Hong-term effects of creatine monohydrate on strength and power. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 13: 187-192. 1999
- Poortmans, J.R., H. Auquier, V. Renaut, A. Durussel, M. Saugy, and G.R. Brisson. Effect of short-term creatine supplementation on renal responses in men. Eur J Appl Phsiology 76: 566-567. 1997
- Poortmans, J.R., and M. Francaux. Long-term oral creatine supplementation does not impair renal function in healthy athletes. Med Sci Sports Exercise 31: 1108-1110. 1999
- Schilling, B.K., M.H. Stone, A. Utter, J.T. Kearney, M. Johnson, R. Coglianese, L. Smith, H.S. O’Bryant, A.C. Fry, M. Starks, R. Keith, and M.E. Stone. Creatine supplementation and health variables: A retrospective study. Med Sci Sports Exercise 33: 183-188. 2001
- Volek, J.S., N.D. Duncan, S.A. Mazzetti, R.S. Staron, M. Putukian, A.L. Gomez, D.R. Pearson, W.J. Fink, and W.J. Kraemer. Performance and muscle fiber adaptations to creatine supplementation and heavy resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exercise 31: 1147-1156. 1999
- Volek, J.S., W.J. Kraemer, M.R. Rubin, A.L. Gomez, N.A. Ratamess, and P. Gaynor. L-carnitine, L-tartrate supplementation favorably affects markers of recovery from exercise stress. American Journal of Endocrinol Metabolism 282: E474-E482. 2002