As you may know, I previously made a post about the supplements that are worth your money. However, something I realized I left off was if these supplements could be used by teens. While the other supplements mentioned in the post, Whey protein and Caffeine, are safe for teens to use as mentioned in these two articles: At What Age Can One Take Whey Protein? & Caffeine and Teens, creatine is somewhat questionable. Today, I will talk about the safety of creatine supplementation for teenagers by dissecting a scientific overview of creatine use in adolescents by Andrew R. Jagim & colleagues.
What is creatine?
“Creatine is the number-one supplement for improving performance in the gym.”
“Studies show that it can increase muscle mass, strength and exercise performance.”
“Additionally, it provides a number of other health benefits, such as protecting against neurological disease” (Mawer).
“Creatine has been extensively researched and is well-supported as one of the most effective dietary supplements available.
There is overwhelming support within the literature regarding the ability of creatine to augment performance following short term (5–7 days) and long-duration supplementation periods.
There is also strong support for creatine regarding its safety profile and minimal risk for adverse events or any negative influence on markers of clinical health and safety. Recent research has also highlighted the ability of creatine to confer several health-related benefits in select clinical populations in addition to offering cognitive benefits.
Creatine is also a popular supplement of choice for adolescent athletes; however, research in this area is extremely limited, particularly when examining the safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in this population” (Andrew R. Jagim & colleagues).
Efficacy on Creatine Use for Adolescents
“Despite the overwhelming supportive body of literature regarding the efficacy of creatine supplementation in adult athletes, limited data are available in adolescent athletes.
This lack of available literature is likely attributable to ethical restrictions, safety concerns and methodological challenges.
[…] Although not an extensive list, a precedent has been set regarding creatine supplementation interventions in adolescent athletes, warranting further research in this area examining both efficacy and safety” (Andrew R. Jagim & colleagues).
Is Creatine Safe for the Youth?
“[…] no studies to date have been completed that sought to directly examine the safety of creatine use in an adolescent or youth population.
Subsequently, each efficacy study in adolescents (mentioned in this overview) was closely reviewed by the authors to ascertain any information that might be present regarding any clinical side effects resulting from creatine use in adolescents.
In this respect, none of these studies observed any gastrointestinal discomfort or changes in hemodynamic, urine, or any blood markers of clinical health and safety following the supplementation periods” (Andrew R. Jagim & colleagues).
Things to Acknowledge
“It is important to acknowledge that a seemingly large proportion of adolescent athletes are using or have tried creatine.
Furthermore, it is also worth noting that creatine is not banned by any major athletic governing body or organization.
While these facts are not to be intended as an endorsement of its use in young athletes, they further solidify the need for scientifically controlled investigations that seek to determine the safety of creatine use in adolescents” (Andrew R. Jagim & colleagues).
“[…]creatine turnover in the adult is known, but when one considers the eating patterns of children and how creatine turnover may differ in this population, the need to explore relevant dosing amounts and patterns is also important” (Andrew R. Jagim & colleagues).
In other words, there is not enough research done on the teen population in order to come with a solid conclusion with wether or not creatine supplementation is safe for the youth/teens due to ethical restrictions, safety concerns, and methodological challenges that come with having experiments with them.
However, based on the research that has been conducted, there has been no “gastrointestinal discomfort or changes in hemodynamic, urine, or any blood markers of clinical health and safety following the supplementation periods.”
As a teenager myself that has read this scientific overview extensively, I prefer waiting until I’m 18 until I start using this supplement and just focus on eating right and training hard until then. The literature does not fully support the claim that creatine use is fully safe for teens so I prefer to say on the safe side and wait.
What are you thoughts on creatine?
Do you use creatine?
Do you agree with my claim?
Click here for access to the literature.
Information from the NCBI.
You can use my referral link to the Myprotein website to get 45% off your first purchase of $30+, or you can use my code SAMUEL-RBJP at checkout!
The reader assumes full responsibility for consulting a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns, and nutritional advice before applying the content on this site to themselves. Samuel Navarro will not assume any liability for direct or indirect losses or damages that may result from the use of information contained in this post. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health.