Is it really necessary to do Creatine Loading when first starting to take it? Or, doesn't it really matter?
Got my hands on the full text of this article, and based on a study that compared different creatine dosing strategies, the author came to the following conclusion:
if you are seeking a fairly rapid improvement in anaerobic performance and lean body mass, it would be sensible to do a loading phase with Cr. However, if time is not an issue, a dose of 2–4 g daily should be sufficient to fully saturate skeletal muscle within a month.
Your muscles can only hold so much creatine. Many dosage strategies will get you to that maximum level, but some--including creatine loading--will get you there faster than others.
Creatine loading only has one benefit, reaching the maximum saturation after 5 days as opposed to around 20 days without loading. Once the muscles have reached saturation point the effects are the same.
Overuse of creatine causes problems as it tends to settle in the intestines and cause distress. Anyone with kidney related illnesses should avoid taking creatine but there is litle evidence that it can cause damage to a healthy kidney as excessive amounts are unlikely to make it into the blood stream.
The body gets creatine from it's diet but it also creates it itself. While supplementing with creatine this stops and focuses it's energy on producing other beneficial substances such as antioxidants. This gives creatine users an added health benefit of having a healthy methylation system
I found 1 study comparing loading and not loading. Unfortunately, the researchers concluded that both loading and and a steady amount of creatine did not improve performance in their study. You can read the full article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC155521/
You can take creatine over an extended period of time. This makes loading less of an issue.