Do I need to load creatine?

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Creatine loading involves taking a larger amount of creatine for the first few days of supplementation (usually around 0.3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day for 5–7 days) before reducing the daily dose to “maintenance” levels (at least 0.03 g/kg of bodyweight). The “alternative” to creatine loading involves simply taking a smaller dose (usually 3–5 g) of creatine every day.

Although both loading and non-loading strategies increase muscle creatine stores, creatine loading saturates muscles with creatine within the first week of supplementation, while non-loading takes around 4 weeks.[1]

So, in short: no, you do not need to load creatine. However, creatine loading will lead to slightly quicker benefits than non-loading, with the downside being a potentially greater risk of experiencing digestive discomfort during the loading phase.

1.^Hultman E, Söderlund K, Timmons JA, Cederblad G, Greenhaff PLMuscle creatine loading in menJ Appl Physiol (1985).(1996 Jul)