A Deep Dive into Creatine Monohydrate:
Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects

Daniel Murphy // Dietitian // Oct 23

Creatine Monohydrate with a dumbbell

Creatine, is it worth the Hype?

Looking to enhance your athletic performance and build lean muscle? Creatine monohydrate might just be the supplement you need. This popular compound has been extensively studied for its benefits and has become a go-to choice for many athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into the world of creatine monohydrate. We explore its numerous benefits, such as increased strength. Additionally, we provide valuable insights on the ideal dosage to maximise its effectiveness and minimise any potential side effects.

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a newbie to the fitness world, understanding the science and benefits behind creatine monohydrate is essential. With our evidence-based information, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about adding this supplement to your routine.

Get ready to unleash your full potential with creatine monohydrate. Let’s dive in and discover everything you need to know about this powerhouse supplement.

Table of Contents

What is Creatine Monohydrate?

Creatine monohydrate is a naturally occurring compound that is found in small amounts in the body. It is synthesised in the liver and kidneys from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine and is then transported to the muscles, brain, and other tissues where it is used to produce energy.

Creatine monohydrate is a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders as it has been shown to increase strength, power, and muscle mass. It is also used to improve cognitive function and may have potential benefits for people with certain medical conditions.

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Benefits of Creatine Monohydrate

One of the primary benefits of creatine monohydrate is its ability to enhance athletic performance. Numerous    studies have shown that creatine supplementation can increase strength, power, and muscle mass, particularly in high-intensity, short-duration activities such as weightlifting and sprinting.

As it is a supplement, many people only notice small benefits if any. It can take up to about 4 weeks of consistently taking creatine to notice a benefit in strength. For many, supplementation can lead to adding a few more reps, or 1-2kg more in weight used. Again these changes are minor.

How Does Creatine Monohydrate Work?

Creatine monohydrate works by increasing the amount of creatine phosphate in the muscles. Creatine phosphate is used to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy source for muscle contractions.

By increasing the amount of creatine phosphate in the muscles, creatine supplementation can help to increase the availability of ATP, allowing for more intense and longer-lasting muscle contractions. This can lead to improvements in strength, power, and muscle mass. This is particularly powerful in vegans and vegetarians. A low meat diet contains lower natural creatine levels. Many plant based eaters may notice a larger benefit than those consuming meat for this reason. 


  • For muscle building: creatine supplementation can help to increase muscle mass and strength by increasing the availability of ATP for muscle contractions. This can lead to improvements in muscle size and definition.
  • For strength training: creatine supplementation can help to increase power output during high-intensity activities, such as weightlifting. This can lead to improvements in strength and overall athletic performance. Creatine monohydrate can be beneficial for a variety of fitness goals, including muscle building, strength training, and endurance. 
  • For endurance activities: creatine supplementation may also have potential benefits. While the primary focus of creatine supplementation is on high-intensity, short-duration activities, some research has suggested that it may also improve endurance performance by increasing the availability of ATP. Best for sprinters and sports where power is needed.

Recommended Dosage of Creatine Monohydrate

The ideal dosage of creatine monohydrate varies depending on several factors, including body weight, activity level, and fitness goals. However, the most common dosage recommendation is to take “3-5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day.” Please stick to package recommendations.

It is important to note that there are two different approaches to taking creatine monohydrate: 

“The loading phase and the maintenance phase.”

During the loading phase, individuals take a higher dose of creatine monohydrate for a period of 5-7 days to help saturate the muscles with creatine. This is typically done by taking 20-25 grams of creatine monohydrate per day.

After the loading phase, individuals can move into the maintenance phase, where they take a lower dose of creatine monohydrate (3-5 grams per day) to help maintain the saturation of creatine in the muscles.

Potential side effects of Creatine Monohydrate

While creatine monohydrate is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, there are some potential side effects to be aware of. These may include:

  • Gastrointestinal distress: such as nausea, diarrhoea, and stomach cramping. Ensure to add a lot of water to your creatine dose. Taking a concentrated dose can be hard on the stomach.
  • Weight gain/Water Retention: Creatine can cause weight gain, but its not fat gain. When creatine is absorbed in muscle, it drags water in too. This water retention can cause a weight gain of 1-2kg. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but can discourage some people from sticking to it long term.

It is a myth that creatine is linked with baldness and kidney issues.” If you have existing kidney issues, please consult a GP before use.

It is important to note that these side effects are typically mild and can be minimised by following the recommended dosage guidelines and staying well-hydrated.

Creatine Monohydrate explained by a registered Dietitian

How to Choose a Creatine Monohydrate Product?

There are many different creatine monohydrate supplements available on the market, each with their own unique formulations and dosages.

Some of the most popular forms of creatine monohydrate supplements include:

  • Creatine monohydrate powder
  • Creatine monohydrate capsules
  • Creatine monohydrate tablets
  • Creatine monohydrate chewables

When choosing a creatine monohydrate supplement, it is important to look for a product that is of high quality and purity. Look for products that have been third-party tested and certified to ensure that they contain only the highest quality ingredients. This is particularly important if you’re a competing athlete.

Final Thoughts: Should You Take Creatine?

Creatine monohydrate is a naturally occurring compound that is found in small amounts in meat and fish. It is also produced by the body in small quantities. However, supplementing with creatine monohydrate can significantly increase the levels of this compound in the muscles. It is one of the safest and most tested supplement so definitely experiment with it. 

The Benefits of Creatine Monohydrate

  1. Increased Strength and Power: Creatine monohydrate has been shown to enhance strength and power performance, making it an ideal supplement for athletes involved in activities that require explosive movements, such as weightlifting and sprinting.
  2. Muscle Building: Creatine monohydrate can help increase muscle mass by promoting protein synthesis and reducing muscle breakdown. This makes it a valuable tool for those looking to build lean muscle.
  3. Improved High-Intensity Exercise Performance: Creatine monohydrate has been found to improve performance in high-intensity, short-duration activities, such as sprinting and jumping. It can help delay fatigue and allow athletes to perform at a higher intensity for longer periods.


Creatine monohydrate works by increasing the availability of phosphocreatine in the muscles. Phosphocreatine is an energy source that helps regenerate ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the primary source of energy for muscle contractions. By increasing the levels of phosphocreatine, creatine monohydrate allows for greater ATP production, leading to improved performance during high-intensity exercise.

Nutritionist working out calories on calorie calculator

Success Stories from Apex Nutrition & Creatine

Meet Barry. Barry was an Apex Member who struggled gaining weight and size in the gym. Barry’s starting weight was 72kg. He regularly went to the gym and believed he couldn’t gain weight. Starting with Apex, he gained around 5kg, meaning he was consistently 77kg, his highest weight he’s ever achieved.  

Barry’s Muscle Building & Creatine Story

“I’d been struggling for a while, trying to pack on muscle, and supplements were like a foreign language to me. I didn’t even know where to start, but Dan made it all super clear. He explained the ins and outs of creatine, addressed my concerns about the side effects, and put my mind at ease.

Fast forward a few months, and I couldn’t believe the transformation I’d undergone. I had put on around 5 kilograms of muscle, and I was in the best shape of my life. I honestly didn’t think it was possible. Sure, I had been putting in the hard work at the gym, but it was the guidance and support from Apex Nutrition that truly made the difference.

What I realised through this journey was that it wasn’t just the supplement, creatine, that helped me achieve my goals. Dan emphasised the importance of a well-balanced diet and proper nutrition. It wasn’t about relying solely on supplements; it was about making the right choices in what I ate and how I trained.

Thanks to Apex Nutrition and Dan’s guidance, I not only overcame my concerns about creatine but also achieved my strongest physique ever. My journey with creatine turned out to be a huge success, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Dan and Apex Nutrition truly made the difference, showing me that the right knowledge and support can help you reach your goals, even when you have doubts along the way.

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