Missing A Day Of Creatine
You’ve been working hard at the gym and you’re sticking with your routine, eating correctly, getting enough sleep and then it happens. You slipped up and are now missing a day of creatine.
Now you’re wondering what happens if you miss a day of creatine and is it bad? Or maybe you forgot to take creatine for 3 days. Is it OK?
Keep reading for the definitive, science based answers to these questions and more!
What Happens If You Forget To Take Creatine For A Week
In a nutshell, a study was done where participants did a loading phase of creatine for six days at 20 grams per day and then stopped taking it altogether after that.
What was observed was that initially, the amount of creatine stores in their bodies was elevated by 20% and after two weeks of not taking creatine, this level decreased by 5%. In other words, after two weeks, their creatine stores were 15% above baseline levels.
Now here’s the interesting part. It took an entire month of not taking creatine before their creatine stores returned to normal baseline levels.
All this to say that, missing a day or two of creatine doesn’t impact muscle creatine levels at all. Even a week off from creatine supplementation would hardly put a dent in your creatine stores.
Can You Take Creatine Sporadically
If you were to take the advice of gym goers, personal trainers or the average Joe who’s heard of creatine, most of them would tell you that it’s important to cycle on and off from creatine after a full month and that you should even take breaks from creatine every 5 days or so but that’s not necessary at all.
The reason they say this is because they’ve either heard it from someone else or they’ve been led to believe that consuming excess amounts of creatine for an extended period leads to a lot of it being converted into a similar substance called creatinine.
Creatinine is what your body produces as a waste product as your muscle cells break down. This is naturally occurring process that takes place in your body whether you supplement with creatine or not.
The logic they have is that since you’re producing an excess amount of creatinine, this is negatively impacting your kidneys since it’s their job to clean your bloodstream by filtering out creatinine along with other waste product.
If the kidneys have to do “more work”, that means bad news for your kidneys, right?
After decades of scientific research available online, we know this isn’t the case at all. While it’s true that creatine can be converted into creatinine, the amount of creatinine produced has pretty much no impact on your body.
Your creatinine levels will be almost identical to someone not taking creatine at all. Long term research has confirmed that creatine has no negative impact on your kidneys or liver.
If you feel you want to give your body a break, then by all means, feel free to do so. At the end of the day, missing days of creatine isn’t harmful and it won’t negatively impact your progress.
If you intend to take creatine sporadically, it’s important to complete a loading phase in addition to making sure you take at least 5 grams per day.
As long as your weekly intake is around 25 grams you should be fine, which is 3.5 grams per day on average.
Forgot To Take Creatine For 3 Days?
As you can see from the previous points, one or two days of creatine can be skipped, either intentionally or by mistake and your creatine stores won’t be negatively affected.
You can even take creatine only 5 days per week on a regular basis and you will perform at the same levels compared to taking it daily as long as your overall weekly intake is sufficient.
This is why you don’t need to ask yourself, “Does missing a day of creatine matter?” or “Can you miss days on creatine?”
This is perfectly fine. No need to stress.
But what about 3 days in a row? Is that the point where you should start worrying? The answer is still no. In the long run, it doesn’t matter because your creatine stores will stay saturated even after 2 or 3 days of not taking creatine.
If I Stop Taking Creatine For A Week Do I Need To Load Again?
There’s no need to load again since your creatine stores are pretty much identical to the levels they were at when you completed your initial loading phase.
So how many days of creatine can you miss exactly?
if your plan is to intentionally skip days of supplementing with creatine, I’d say that per week you can go 2 days without it if you won’t forget to take it on the other 5 days of the week.
Make sure to take in at least 25 grams of creatine per week if this is your goal.
So, if 2 or 3 days and even a week off creatine isn’t an issue, what is the absolute maximum number of days of creatine you can miss before you would need to start all over again with a new loading phase?
The answer is 30 days. At this point your body’s creatine stores would have returned to its normal baseline creatine levels.
What Should I Do If I Miss A Day Of Creatine
The answer to this question actually depends on the type of creatine that you supplement with.
If you supplement with creatine monohydrate or creatine HCL you won’t have to worry about missing a couple days since the loading phase will counter any minor inconsistencies in your supplementation routine, however, this is not the case when it comes to creatine kre-alkalyn.
Creatine Monohydrate Vs Creatine Kre-Alkalyn
A key difference between creatine monohydrate and kre-alkalyn is that there is no loading phase for kre-alkalyn. You also don’t need to take as much kre-alkalyn per day as you do creatine monohydrate.
This is due to it being absorbed by the body to a greater degree than regular creatine monohydrate so the need to saturate your body’s creatine stores doesn’t exist.
When you need it, you take it. It’s that simple. And since you only need roughly 1.5 grams of kre-alkalyn per day, this is where you actually need to worry about missing one or more days of supplementation.
Missing a day of kre-alkalyn means that your body won’t have any creatine reserves the same way it would as compared to having a high creatine store from creatine monohydrate.
This means that if you happen to miss a day of supplementing with kre-alkalyn, all you can do is take it when you remember to and make a habit of taking it before your workouts and in the mornings on your off days.
Creatine Loading Phase
A creatine loading phase is typically recommended for 5-7 days. This results in a creatine saturation of 20% more than baseline levels.
Whether a loading phase is necessary or not is always a topic of hot debate, but the truth is that it isn’t necessary at all.
A lot of marketing has gone into convincing people of the need for a loading cycle but you’ll reach saturation in almost the same amount of time without it so there’s no need to do so.
How Much Creatine Per Day
Five grams per day is the standard recommendation but you can go as low as 3.5 grams per day and you’ll still get the same results.
Anything lower than 2 grams and you will have the same results as if you weren’t taking creatine at all. With the low cost of creatine and all the research behind it, there isn’t any reason to be taking doses lower than 2 grams per day.
Creatine Side Effects
Studies have shown that high doses of 25 grams per day for a period of two weeks are safe as well as standard doses of 5 grams per day taken continuously for 18 months. Creatine is the most studied supplement on the planet as if proven to be safe.
If any side effects are experienced, they’re not serious at all and could include things such as dehydration, bloating, an upset stomach or muscle cramps.
Do note, however, that there are no creatine side effects supported by any scientific findings to date.
When it comes to supplementing with creatine monohydrate, there is no major impact to your body’s creatine stores after the loading phase and then missing one to three days during the maintenance phase.
You could even do this intentionally, on a weekly basis and you’d be fine as long as your total weekly uptake was about 25 grams or more.
Studies have confirmed that it takes up to one month of not taking creatine before your creatine stores return to baseline levels.
It does matter if you miss taking creatine kre-alkalyn, even for one day. All you can do in this scenario is to take it when you remember again and try to not miss any more days.