Creatine is a supplement used by bodybuilders to put on muscle mass quickly. Like other supplements, creatine is not under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Teenage boys and their parents likely have many questions about this supplement. The safety of creatine use in teenage boys is controversial, with evidence supporting both sides of the argument. With any supplement, consult a doctor before adding it to your regular routine.
Some Potential Problems
Creatine holds potential pitfalls for teenage boys using it. Because it is not regulated by the FDA, there are no controls on the purity or strength of the supplement. Further, creatine can cause water retention. This can negatively affect the performance of athletes competing in sports where speed is a factor. Water retention causes swelling, which increases your chances of muscle injury. Reported side effects of creatine use include migraines, dizziness, rashes and irregular heartbeat, according to TeenGrowth.com.
Many teens run into problems with creatine because of misuse. Rather than using the amount appropriate to their weight, age and training regimen, they down as much as they think they can handle. This not only is a waste of money – the excess creatine is not put to use, it’s just excreted by your kidneys -- it's also dangerous. The University of Iowa "Eat to Compete" website states that high doses of creatine for a prolonged period will increase stress on the kidneys.
Chris Meraz, writing for TeenBodybuilding.com outlines the proper way for teens to use creatine. For the first week or so, a teenager should keep a steady stream of creatine in the body by taking 5 grams every four hours or so. Meraz identifies water and grape juice as the best thing to drink with creatine. After this initial load-up period, take between 5 and 10 grams in water or grape juice after your workouts, or first thing when you get up in the morning. Stay on creatine for two months, cease use for one month and then start the cycle again.
Objections to Creatine Use in Teens
Fitness and nutrition expert Marc David writing for FreedomFly.net states that teens in general should not take creatine. He does not believe the use of creatine makes much difference either way in terms of training. Further, he believes the problems outweigh the benefits. Dr. Robert Gotlin, quoted on PreventDisease.com states that until the supplement is proved safe, no one should use it, especially teenage boys.