Is it Dangerous
Creatine for teens has always been a hotly debated topic between researchers, nutritionists, dietitians, and especially parents. Athletes always are looking for ways to improve their game and take it to the next level, and teenage ones aren’t much different.
As the most researched supplement on the market to date, a conclusion about teens and creatine was bound to be found. In today’s article, we’re going over if a teen should ever consider creatine, and if they do, how they should go about.
The Simple Creatine
I’d like to give a brief summary of what creatine is before hopping right in. If you’d like a detailed article about the pros and cons of creatine, click here to read another article I wrote getting down and dirty with creatine.
Creatine monohydrate, or simply creatine, is an amino acid that is primarily stored in our muscles for energy. Our bodies, specifically in the kidney, do produce a decent amount of creatine on their own. Still, supplements are consumed in order to increase that amount. (1✔)
The added amount of creatine in our bodies from supplements allows for several things to occur in our bodies. Since more creatine in the muscle, more ATP, the energy source for our cells, is generated. This boost in ATP allows for more energy to be expended during training and on the field. (2✔)
This indirectly correlates to an increase in muscle mass due to the potential for better training. The added energy can aid you even in the most intense workouts. This is why you see so many creatine promotions with shredded dudes using them. (3✔)
Lastly, not only does creatine do wonders for your physique, but it can also improve certain brain functions. So much research has gone into creatine that benefits have been found throughout the entire body, even in your psyche. (4✔)
Improvement in memory, and in cognitively demanding tasks have been observed from creatine takers. Not to mention, people that have experienced brain trauma felt lowers feelings of dizziness and headaches from taking creatine. Outstanding! (5✔, 6✔)
Creatine x Teens
Supplements, in general, has always been a hot topic when it comes to teenagers, let alone creatine. From protein powders to pre-workout, teenagers who hit have the privilege to hit the gym are always eager to try these supplements. (With little knowledge of them, but, I digress)
I remember I took my first supplement in my sophomore year in high-school. My older brothers would share some of their protein powder without my mom knowing, of course, after working out. I didn’t know much back then, but looking back, it wasn’t all that bad.
I’d like to discuss a series of studies that tracked a handful of athletes from different sports but around the same age group, 17-21. Researchers observed the effect of consistent creatine usage on each specific sport. The results are still quite fascinating.
One of the first-ever studies to arise when it comes to creatine and teens, Grindstaff et al. observed the effects on 18 male and female swimmers. Each person was assigned to either a creatine group or a placebo group for 9 days. (7✔)
After the experiment was over, the researchers “noted significant improvements in repeat sprint performance in swimmers after creatine supplementation.” As one of the earliest creatine experiments with teens, this study helped lead the way for more to come. (7✔)
This study by Dawson et al. is more or less the same study conducted by Grindstaff et al. in 1998 just with an extended creatine supplementation period. Their goal was to replicate the findings in young, elite swimmers. (8✔)
Following the 4 weeks of creatine supplementation, the authors “did not note any significant improvement in single sprint performance.” However, they did notice a dramatic improvement in swim bench test performances. (8✔)
Conducted by Ostojic et al., the creatine supplementation was distanced away from swimmers and given to soccer players. 20 young male soccer players, we’re observed when taking creatine for 7 days. The researchers observed significant improvements in soccer specific-skills following the 7 days. (9✔)
As for the most recent study, another bunch of elite youth soccer players was observed when on a period of creatine supplementation. Low-doses of creatine were distributed for 7 days straight. (10✔)
To the surprise of nobody, significant improvements in the overall power output of the youngsters were observed. Not to mention, betterment in sprint performance and dribbling abilities could be seen. (10✔)
With this collection of studies, no adverse events or side-effects were reported by the participants following supplementation. Meaning, not a single teen experiences any harsh or moderate side effects while taking creatine monohydrate. (11✔)
Why Should A Teen Take Creatine
The majority of the research and studies make creatine look like a perfectly safe and effective supplement for the masses to take. However, creatine is still a supplement, meaning it’s a privilege to take once certain criteria are met.
Proper diet and exercise are things a teen should establish first as a foundation before plunging head on to supplements. Your macronutrients should be coming from your complete diet and not from the added supplements.
Exercise is also critical when on creatine. No teen will be experiencing any of the discovered benefits if they don’t exercise, train, or workout. They need to damage the muscle fibers and tissues in order for growth to occur.
When a teen does decide to take creatine and follow a proper workout routine, the benefits will start rolling one. The added energy from ATP increases will begin to aid their intense lifts during training allowing for indirect muscle growth.
In conclusion, creatine for teens has always been a fiercely debated topic, which is understandable. The safety of such a young adult with much life to be lived is at stake, so precaution should always be taken. However, the research is all in favor of creatine being very safe.
The past two decades of research and studies have depicted creatine monohydrate as being a safe and effective supplement for teens. Taking these supplements will aid their performances in the gym, on the court, and on the field.
Got any questions? Leave them down below, along with any questions you may have!