Is It Safe to Take Creatine if You're Over 40?

Creatine is a nitrogen-containing amine synthesized from the amino acids, arginine, glycine and methionine. Taking creatine supplements may increase athletic performance in high-intensity, anaerobic activities, according to "Anabolic Primer." In young men, creatine has been found to significantly increase both dynamic power and strength. Although much of the research regarding creatine supplementation is focused on its effects on athletic performance in younger populations, creatine may benefit older populations as well. Talk with your doctor about using creatine supplements to make sure they are right for you.

A man is holding supplement pills in his hands. Credit: apichsn/iStock/Getty Images

Older Versus Younger Men

Creatine supplementation may be more beneficial in older people than in younger people, according to a 1998 study published in the "Journal of Applied Physiology." The researchers found that older individuals, with a mean age of 58 years, have more of an affinity for creatine than younger individuals, with a mean age of 30 years. As you get older, your body's ability to absorb creatine increases, which in turn, increases the effects of creatine supplementation.

Age-Related Muscle Decline

As you get older, your body loses muscle, creatine can help maintain skeletal muscle mass in older populations. In a 2005 study published by the journal, "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise," researchers assessed the effects of creatine and protein supplementation during resistance training in older men with a mean age of 66 years. The researchers found that creatine supplementation is effective for not only maintaining muscle mass but increasing muscle mass when combined with resistance training.

Body Composition

Creatine may positively affect body composition in older men, according to a 2002 study published in "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise." In this study, investigators tested 18 men between the ages of 59 and 73 who were told to complete a battery of tests over the course of three weeks while supplementing with either creatine or a placebo. The results of the study indicate that creatine supplementation significantly increases body mass, fat-free mass, and functional capacity in older men.

Safety

Creatine appears to be safe for older individuals, according to a 2008 study published in the journal, "Nutrition Research." The investigators assessed the long-term effects of creatine supplementation on elderly individuals with Parkinson's disease. The participants took 4 g of creatine daily for two years with no significant side effects. The most commonly reported side effect resulting from creatine supplementation was mild gastrointestinal distress. According to a 2007 review of creatine safety studies published in the journal "Sub-cellular Biochemistry," no significant side effects regarding creatine supplementation have been found.

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