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Question: I Am Concerned About The Long Term Effects Of Creatine On A 14 Year Old's Body.

My son's football coach has suggested that ALL of the football players should take Creatine as part of the school's weight training program. I am concerned about the long term effects of this "supplement" on a 14 year old's body. I would like to hear some facts from some sports medicine professionals. So far I have only been able to find a few impartial evaluations of this substance.

Answer #1

I would like to warn you and your son that creatine is still experimental, and long term effects are still unknown. The best suggestion I have heard is to take it for 8 weeks on, 4 weeks off. It will give your kidneys a chance to produce adenosine tryphosphate (ATP).This is to assure that your kidneys will not stop producing atp forever, which still remains a mystery.

Good Luck,

M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor
University of British Columbia

Response #1 to Answer #1

You must be some doctor, you can't even spell triphosphate (not tryphosphate). The next time you want to come on here claiming you're a doctor, try getting someone to proof read your letter.

Answer #2

In response to the question about the effects of creatine on the body: the supplementation of creatine in and of itself is not dangerous to the body. The only really adverse effect is on the wallet. Creatine has absolutely worked the best for me as a 17-yr old weight lifter.

Answer #3

This may seem ironic, but I actually work at GNC, and there is a very high possibility that creatine monohydrate/citrate DOES have potential side effects. (Boy, my district manager would be pissed if he knew that I was downplaying this creatine.) Anyway, who cares?

Just a little refresh..... -Creatine phosphate is actually produced and stored by the kidneys and liver. So.... If the body is receiving an external supply of creatine, it will automatically shut down all production. This will create a condition, chemical dependency, making creatine a DRUG. Anyway, you'll be dependent on it. Later down the line, you'll experience kidney and liver damage. Why? Because the by-product of creatine, creatinine, is similar to uric acid, it is a toxin. When too much builds up, it puts stress on these two organs. (this may explain why one of your readers experienced a fiery pain, and why a lot of people breakout with pimples and get diarrhea, due to the body's inability to filter so much toxin.

So, my point is that creatine is another fad, and all of these "studies", which are actually sponsored by companies, can be doctored to show the "results" that become when supplementing. I have been on creatine for three days, and finally came to my senses; People, IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD, PURELY PSYCHOLOGICAL. Just eat adequate protein, carbs, and fats, and you'll grow just fine. And another thing about creatinine's similarities to uric acid, it could possibly cause gout, a form of arthritis that's characterized by crystallized uric acid in the joints, causing sharp pains. Think about that the next time you load up with some grape juice.

Answer #4

I had been playing hockey 2 times a week and going to the gym 2 to 3 times per week. My gym workout consisted of a 1 hour boxing class and 40 minutes on the stationary bike. I was eating a well balanced diet and taking a multi vitamin and mineral tablet, vit. C (500mg), B-complex (50) and Vit. E (400iu) daily.

I felt I was in good shape but my energy levels were only fair not great. I read about creatine and its benefits and its limited side effects so I figured I would give it a try. I loaded for the first 5 days by ingesting 20 grams a day, half before my workout or game and half after. I noticed an immediate improvement in my energy levels and my ability to recover. I did not get tired at all during my shifts or in the gym. After the initial loading period I took 5 grams of creatine daily to maintain my levels. I had been on creatine for only 3 weeks and I had gained 10 lbs (195 lbs to 205 lbs) without any lifting.

I stopped taking creatine 2 days ago. During a hockey game (3 days ago) I was checked and ripped my left pectoral muscle. I have found out through research that muscle pulls and tears might be associated with creatine usage. I am not sure if creatine was responsible for my torn muscle, but a completely torn pectoral muscle is not a very common injury. I also have the biggest ugliest bruise I have ever gotten. Considering that I played college football and lacrosse and have been hit much harder and by bigger stronger athletes, I believe creatine played a part in the injury. After the surgery I'll go back to Met-Rx.

Answer #5

Nobody knows the real side effects of creatine and, in my mind, taking creatine when you're 14 is too risky. If your son's coach wants to get all of his team on creatine, then he's only taking the short way out. Especially with 14 year olds doing weights, at this time in their life, they shouldn't be taking supplements such as creatine. Instead, a better method would be to see a fully qualified dietitian/nutritionist who can tell you how to eat properly for the sport that you play. Followed up with an extensive weight-training program, the boys will put on a SOLID 20lbs that will be more long lasting than creatine.

As soon as you stop using creatine for a period, all that 'muscle' will be turned into fat and part of that 'muscle' is actually extra water taken in by the body. Proper dieting has worked for me. Within 3 weeks of eating properly I put on a solid 8lb, and, so far, since I started, I've put on a solid 20 lbs in under a year. Creatine's effect is limited. Eating and sleeping right can work just as well. There are professional athletes who do just as well as those who take creatine. In my opinion, long-term use of creatine is far too risky for 14 year olds. Any drug such as creatine (of which nothing is known) is too dangerous to use.

Answer #6

I am an 18 year old teenager who is currently using the dietary supplement creatine. I have found that many, not all, but many of the claims made by these supplements to be true. I have had much experience with the use of many brands of creatine. However, despite my personal success, I am still skeptical as to what effects the use of creatine will have on me in the future.

My advice to you is to research many different brands by going to their web pages if possible, and looking for research to back their claims. Also, supplementation with creatine by itself may not be all that is needed for your son to see the results that he may want. Supplementation with other things is necessary to achieve your goals. I would suggest you talk to your family doctor about what is best for him. There are many companies out there who claim outrageous results, but very few of them deliver. I have found EAS to be a very reliable company whose products are backed by scientific research. Also, Next Nutrition and Prolab both have some very effective products.

Answer #7

Being a 14 year old athlete myself, I do not recommend creatine for teenagers. I have tried it twice and one time I didn't use a loading dose. I was edgier and got bad acne (I usually have a somewhat relaxed personality and a clear face). A few months later, I tried again, this time within a loading dose. Same results: bad personality and acne. I also read in Muscular Development that teens up to 18 have a natural abundance of creatine and do not need to supplement with it.

Answer #8

I am a kinesiology major at San Diego State University and I have read many articles and seen reports on creatine monohydrate. The way that I look at it is that it can help athletes perform better, but at the cost of what. In my opinion, anything that the body takes in excess will cause some sort of problem. The most adequate way of getting bigger or just gaining strength is by proper intake of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and RAW fruits and vegetables and water intake.

Also as important is the amount of sleep that an athlete or bodybuilder gets. This aids in the repairing of muscles and in return the hypertrophy (growth) of these muscles. This whole idea of a coach getting a team on a supplement reminds me of the movie Varsity Blues where the coach does anything to win.

Listen, before anybody starts to take supplements make sure your diet or intake is almost (if not) perfect. As I said before, your nutritional fitness is the most important of ALL.

This coach, whoever he is, needs to think about the well-being and continued growth of these kids. I don't think he realizes the harm that these "trendy" supplements can cause to still growing kids.

Answer #9

I have been taking creatine for over two years and have had minor if any side effects. First I took it for three months and then took a month or two off. I gained 10 to 15lbs. of muscle and my strength increased as well. I took a year off of creatine and the only thing I noticed was that I lost about 5-8 lbs. Recently I went back on it and gained back 10lbs and maintained it since stopping two months ago.

Don't get me wrong, there are some guidelines that should be followed. First, only do creatine for a three month cycle and then take a month or two off. This is a good idea because at one point your body will be used to the creatine and it won't be as effective. When you start your next cycle you will see a reoccurrence of improved performance. Second, drink a lot of water, tons, you want to keep your kidneys nice and clean. Stay away from soda and other junky things that make your body have temporary highs. Third, take a whey protein after you stop or during the consumption of creatine because creatine makes your body desire more nutrients/protein because you are producing more body to ask for it. The whey protein will help you maintain the body weight and strength you obtained from the creatine.

Also, 14 is too young to be putting on large amounts of weight and muscle. Your body is still growing drastically and should be allowed to take it's normal course. Personally I feel creatine is designed for the people who are full grown (ages 18 - ???) and need a little help with producing what their bodies are lacking.

The advice I offer here is strictly through experience and through research I have done. I always do my homework when something interests me, so all that I have written here is true in my experience. Hope it was helpful.

Answer #10

A 14 year old should not need any creatine to build muscle.

If the coach knows what he is doing, then strength gains of 100-200% within 6-12 months should be easily achieved by a 14 year old as long as he eats enough protein.

Coaches should not be allowed to dispense this sort of nonsense, as medical advice. Fire him!

Answer #11

As a coach's son, I have taken creatine for many years. I started at the age of 14. You just need to know how to take the stuff. Now I'm 19 and I can SQUAT:550 BENCH:365 CLEAN:325 DEAD LIFT:485 and I only weigh 170. So I think creatine is very good.

Answer #12

Before you allow a coach to let children be guinea pigs, take a look at the FDA report on adverse events on creatine. I don't remember the website address, do a web search on FDA creatine adverse events. Be very careful with this decision. Download the adverse events and GIVE IT TO THE COACH. Let him know that he IS responsible for the good health of the students in his care. Creatine isn't only strongly correlated to dehydration, nausea, or muscle pulls--it is correlated to some very permanent events. Stick to proper nutrition, it is the BEST way to develop a young body that will be STRONGER in the adult years.

Answer #13

All I can say is I've heard enough about this stuff. I've been taking it for a month now and have realized that unless your making millions, I don't think that it's going to help. Sure I've gained in size more than I could before, but I'm also taking a whey too so that has helped. My muscles feel just bulkier without strength and my guts hurt, right in the back to where your kidneys are. I think it put a strain that's not worth it!

Another comment, my cousin who weight lifted since he was like 8 years old (and even took the creatine) has totally stunted his growth in height. He's bulky but short and I'm sure he would be way taller, and that's just normal weights. Kids need to grow as God intended it!! To subject that on an adult may be to his choice, but not a kid. Protein is plenty!!!!

Answer #14

Creatine is bad. It is a drug and you do eventually become dependent on it. Here's my proof...I was taking the recommended amount for about a year and then I grew a substantial amount in mass, but after I stopped taking it, I lost 20 pounds in about a month and I became fatigued all the time. It went away when I started using it again, but once again I backed off and the same thing happened, quick growth, faster reduction. To correct the problem, I stopped using creatine and starting meat in every meal and working out more often. There is no way around getting big. If you have the desire to get big, you will, but I strongly recommend not using creatine.

Answer #15

I am a 17 year old baseball player who has friends on my team that take creatine. I've asked them if it they've liked the results and they do, but they always have gas or stomach aches and seem to bruise easier. Personally, I think that 14 is way too young to be working out and taking supplements. When you're 14, you should be having a good time playing the sport and improving your skills but not the make-up of your body. I'd tell the coach to stop taking the sport so seriously. They're only kids who want to have fun.

Answer #14

Responding to Answer #14: First of all, your use of the word "DRUG" is completely uncalled for and incorrect. If you had done your research prior to taking such a SUPPLEMENT, you would've know that the "RECOMMENDED AMOUNT" you spoke of is much less then "ABOUT A YEAR." In fact, any form of Creatine shouldn't be taken for more then 8 to 12 weeks before you take a 4 to 6 week break to allow your body to return to normal levels. As far as losing 20 pounds, well that's to be expected. After all, Creatine, in layman's terms, fills you muscles cells with water, allowing for more growth. Not only did you abruptly diminish your muscles' fluid levels, but you more than likely slowed down or quit working out. This would cause major changes in your muscle tissue as well as the rest of your body. During your 4 to 6 week down time, you should continue to work out at the same level as while on Creatine, if not harder. Even more important is that you increase your water consumption to compensate for the cells depleting supply.

I'm not trying to belittle you, but please follow the directions before you give your opinions to others who may already have concerns. Proper usage of most dietary supplements is fine for healthy adults and older teens. The key is moderation and proper eating and sleeping habits. For the concerned father, I agree with several of the answers above that a 14 year old boy is unlikely to need such a supplement and it may cause adverse effects. Remember that so many drugs, herbs and remedies have nearly opposite effects on youths. I would not tell any healthy adult not to take Creatine, but a youth (teenager) I think I would. Be careful. Just for the record, I am 6' 1" tall and weigh plus or minus 225 pounds and have been using one form or another of Creatine for over three years in proper cycles. But, I won't allow my 13 year old soccer player son to use any supplement as of yet.

Answer #15

My son is 13 and has been edgy, has acne, has been gaining size, and sometimes gets injured. Must be creatine right. Oh wait...he isn't taking it.

Answer #16

I'm a 14 year old that has taken creatine for about a year. I have had many changes--no bad ones, just good ones. It's the best thing that ever happened to me. I play football, wrestle, and run track and it gives me speed, power, and endurance. When I started taking it, I couldn't even do a pull up. In two weeks of taking it and running and lifting I cold do ten. Now I can do about 24 pull ups. I can bench 250, squat 400 and curl 180 and I only weigh 150. So everyone out there, take it and drinks tons of water!

Answer #17

Creatine has both pluses and minuses. After having checkups and blood tests with different doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, I have concluded that creatine increases strength and endurance. However, at what cost? I went in for routine blood work, and my creatinine levels were highly elevated. Although I informed my doctors that I took Creatine Monohydrate, they wanted to be on the safe side. So I had an ultrasound of my kidneys, blood work, and a urinalysis. Bottom line, everything came back OK except my creatinine levels were high. One doctor stated that this alone may not be harmful to the body. Another stated that, at this time, nobody knows the long term effects of ingesting creatine monohydrate. Just like other drugs and/or supplements, only time will tell how safe creatine monohydrate is.

I would not recommend anybody under the age of 18 to take it. The body is developing and I have not read any research into the effects of Creatine on development. After 18, you're on your own for risks - you need to weigh the risks. It may be worth it if you are a pro athlete, but if you're a high school star with little chance of going pro, or a Division III ball player, it's just not worth it.

Answer #18

I have read all the answers given to you about your 14 year old son. I must say that for quite sometime I have been around teenage guys taking creatine. I was a manager for my high school's wrestling team. The coach of the team would not allow the wrestlers to take creatine during the season. But as soon as the season was over, the guys would load up on this stuff, and take it like it was the hand of God. Seeing this, I have done a lot of research on creatine and it's effects on a young person's body. Now, being a Freshman in college, I have come to one standpoint on the issue.

Believe it or not, your body can and will become dependent on anything taken in excess. Taking creatine not only proves that an individual feels they are not physically able to get the optimum effects without taking something, it also is harming their future looks. If creatine is taken on and off, your body will start to react to this pattern and will respond to it this way. The long term effect being constant fatigue, less muscles than you started out with, and kidney and liver problems.

Now. I am not saying that creatine should be straight out banned, but common knowledge should tell you what is right and what is wrong. What exactly makes sense here? Building muscles naturally by eating right and working out, or taking some powdery awful-tasting supplement to get you there as quick as possible without knowing what other road awaits you.

Answer #19

Contrary to some claims, Creatine is not a new "drug." It has been in use for at least 40 years by a handful of athletes (more I'm sure, but I don't know how much more). It has recently been getting a lot of publicity lately because of the dramatic increase in the fitness craze and the millions of dollars of marketing that companies use to promote it (and why not? It's relatively cheap to make, and many people swear by it!).

As most fitness-minded people already know, Creatine is naturally present and manufactured by the body, and is present in high protein foods such as meat. The big deal everyone is making is that not ENOUGH Creatine is made in the body to support hard workouts, so you need to supplement that. While many people swear that it works, there have not been any medical long-term studies regarding either the benefits or the side-effects of the supplement.

What we do know is that long-term use is long thought to cause renal complications, and in at least two documented cases, acute renal failure. The reason for this is that once in the body, the creatine that is not absorbed by muscles and other organs, it is excreted from the body, and any excess creatine (or creatinine, if you want to be technical about it) is excreted from the body, causing the kidneys to work that much harder. Let me note that the above referenced renal complications were never attributed to creatine, but only noted that the sufferers were on a regimen of creatine.

Although many of the fears of creatine are unsubstantiated, there is (in my opinion) a very good reason that young people (such as teenagers that are still growing) should NOT mess with any kind of muscle-building supplement. Many of these supplements affect (even if minutely) hormonal balances in the body, and for a developing body, these can be confusing times! Creatine is naturally occurring in the body, that much we have established. Now, imagine that this developing body is getting bombarded with so much extra creatine (or any substance that is naturally synthesized by the body) that its own supply is not needed. What happens? It stops producing its own supply (which is why many fitness gurus recommend a cyclic program with 1-3 weeks of "off" time in between). In adults, the body (which has already established "normal" levels) will eventually go back to normal production, but in a developing body, there is no such thing as a "normal" level, they're constantly changing, and introducing outside influences may influence the outcome of what the body considers "normal." Besides which, younger people have enough "developing power" as it is. Ever notice how it gets harder and harder to stay in shape and increase your muscle mass as you get older? Well, the younger you are (to a point), the easier it is to develop muscle and endurance that you will carry with you most of your life, as long as you keep it maintained.

Once last thing in this long-winded response; If you do decide to take Creatine, please make sure it is REAL Creatine, and not 40% filler, like some unscrupulous companies do to their products. Take the time and money to search and research a reputable company. Drink plenty of water, and be careful! Please also note that this should be your decision, not anybody else's. You can read all the information in the world, but ultimately, it's about your decision and the risks you are willing to see, and willing to take.

Good Luck!

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