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 Specialty Nutrients: Creatine: How Much to Take and When 
 

The ideal times to take creatine are before and after your workouts. Taking it before exercise allows the nutrient to circulate in the blood during your routine, so your muscles can quickly replenish the creatine metabolized during exercise. Consuming it after your workout improves recovery and helps to stimulate additional protein uptake and synthesis in the critical hour after the end of exercise. If you are dividing your daily maintenance dose into only two portions, try taking at least one portion before or after your workout. If you are loading, include these two times along with others spread throughout the day. This will give your muscles several windows of opportunity over a 24-hour period.

While these suggestions will help you to maximize the gains you get from creatine, it's important to keep things in perspective. Creatine is not a nutrient that flushes out of your system in a short time. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, which cannot be stored by the body, creatine accumulates in your muscle cells. This means that the whole issue of timing is not as critical as it is for other nutrients. You're not dealing with an all-or-nothing situation where a matter of hours can make the difference between progress and stagnation. Once you load your muscles with creatine, you're basically topping the tank. Meanwhile, you can use the rest of the tank as fuel for your muscle contractions. So don't panic if you forget to take a dose with your workout, or even if you skip a day. We promise that you won't shrink. As long as you make regular efforts to keep your creatine stores full, you will achieve the gains reported in the scientific literature.

(Excerpted from Creatine: Nature's Muscle Builder)
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 About The Author
Ray Sahelian MDRay Sahelian, M.D., is a popular and respected physician who has been seen on numerous television programs including NBC Today, Dateline NBC, and CNN, and quoted by countless major magazines such as Newsweek He......more
 
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