Is Creatine Safe For Teens?

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a close up of creatine powder scoop taken out of the creatine box

is creatine safe for teens | creatine supplement and teens | Benefits | possible risks | the ideal quantity | Tips to improve endurance

Everyone wants to be stronger,  faster, and better in their favored sport. So, it’s no wonder that athletes of all levels are interested in supplements that can give them an edge. 

Creatine is one of the most popular supplements on the market. People tend to take creatine to gain weight.

But is it safe for teenagers? Can teenage athletes take it?

Is creatine safe for teens?

The use of creatine as a dietary supplement is controversial. 

Some people claim that it is safe and effective, while others claim it is dangerous and unnecessary. 

The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

There is no simple way to decide whether a teen can take creatine supplements or not. You need to take a lot of factors into consideration before taking a creatine supplement.

What is creatine?

Creatine is a compound composed of three amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine. It helps to supply energy to cells, primarily muscle cells.

Creatine occurs naturally in vertebrates and helps to generate Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), [1]National Library of Medicine: Role of the phosphocreatine system on energetic homeostasis in skeletal and cardiac muscles which is the body’s primary energy source. It is produced naturally in the body and is also found in foods such as red meat and fish. 

Additionally, creatine is manufactured and sold as a dietary supplement.

Is creatine supplement safe for teen athletes?

Athletes need to plan their sports-nutrition, supplement intake, and diet very carefully to stay healthy and avoid any potential dangers. 

Creatine is a supplement that has been around for years and is often taken by professional adult athletes to improve their performance. 

According to a study [2]National Library of Medicine: Safety of Creatine Supplementation in Active Adolescents and Youth: A Brief Review on the safety of creatine supplementation in active teens, short-term creatine supplementation is considered to be safe for healthy teens.

The study found that there were no adverse effects on liver or kidney function in the young athletes that were supplemented with creatine.

In fact, it has been found that creatine supplementation improved high school athletes’ performance.

However, you need to be sure that your teen is healthy enough to take a creatine supplement. 

If they have any pre-existing medical conditions, it’s always best to consult with a doctor before starting any supplement regimen.

Benefits of taking creatine supplementation

A study by the American Institute of Sports Medicine [3]PubMed: American College of Sports Medicine roundtable. The physiological and health effects of oral creatine supplementation suggests that creatine supplementation can help improve performance in short-duration, high-intensity activities.

Let’s take a detailed look at the benefits of creatine supplementation.

1. Improved athletic performance

Creatine has been shown to improve athletic performance, particularly in short-burst activities such as sprinting or weightlifting.

If you are a teen athlete looking for an edge in such activities, creatine may give you the boost you need.

2. Increased muscle mass

Creatine can also help to increase muscle mass, which can be beneficial for both teenage boys and girls. 

Boys may want to increase their muscle mass to improve their athletic performance, while girls may want to increase their muscle mass to achieve a more toned and fit appearance. Either way, creatine can help you achieve your goals.

3. Reduced fatigue

Creatine supplements have also been shown to reduce fatigue. This can be beneficial for teenage athletes who are looking to improve their endurance.

Possible drawbacks of creatine consumption in teens

Creatine is generally considered safe when taken as recommended. However, there are some potential side effects that teens should be aware of. Here is a list of drawbacks of creatine.

1. Dehydration

Creatine supplementation causes the muscle cells to absorb water. As such, one of the common complaints among people who take creatine supplements is dehydration. Therefore, it is important to drink plenty of water when taking this supplement. 

Symptoms of dehydration include headache, dizziness, and nausea.

2. Muscle cramping

Creatine supplementation is also known to cause muscle cramping. So, it is important to warm up properly before exercise and stay well-hydrated during exercise.

3. Kidney damage

There have been some reports of kidney damage [4]National Library of Medicine: The effects of the recommended dose of creatine monohydrate on kidney function with creatine supplementation, so it is important to consult your nutritionist.

4. Weight gain

The most common side effect of creatine supplements is weight gain, which can benefit some people but not others.

If you are trying to lose or maintain weight, too much creatine will affect your weight goals adversely. 

The ideal quantity of creatine for teen athletes

The ideal quantity of creatine for teen athletes will vary depending on factors such as body weight and activity level.

According to a study [5]National Library of Medicine: International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise by the International society of sports nutrition position stand, our body needs at least 1-2 grams of creatine per day. However, a teen athlete can take 3-5 grams per day for 4-8 weeks and then take a month off.

Note: If you are a vegetarian, you may need up to 5 grams per day due to the lack of meat in your diet. Consult with your doctor or nutritionist regarding your creatine supplement requirement.

Tips for endurance and performance improvement

Apart from creatine supplementation, there are other ways for teen athletes to improve their endurance and performance.

1. Get enough sleep

Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night. However, young athletes need even more sleep [6]Sleep Foundation: How Much Sleep Do Student Athletes Need? than that. 

Athletes who get around 10 hours of sleep per night are known to perform better than those who don’t. So, if you’re a teen athlete who wants to improve performance, make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

2. Eat healthy

What you eat has a big impact on your endurance and performance. Ensure you’re eating plenty of nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And limit your intake of sugary drinks and junk food.

3. Stay hydrated

It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re exercising, especially in hot weather. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and avoid sugary drinks like sodas and energy drinks.

4. Warm up properly

Always take the time to warm up before you start exercising. A proper warm-up will prep your body and stretch your muscles. This helps prevent injuries and improves exercise performance.

5. Cool down after exercise

Just as it’s essential to warm up before exercise, it’s also important to cool down afterward. A proper cool-down will help your muscles recover from exercise and prevent soreness.

Conclusion

Creatine supplements are found in many drugstores or health food stores. Many consume them without proper information about the effects of the same. As a teen athlete, it’s essential to do your research before you start taking any supplements. When used correctly, creatine is generally safe with very few side effects.

However, consult your doctor or registered nutritionist to see if creatine is right for you.

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