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Possibly better suited to Biology but assuming people here will be more knowledgable on this specific area of Human Biology

It's general practice for Creatine it seems to have 'No Under 18s', however what is the reasoning behind this. Apart from the obvious, that nobody wants to try it on kids for fear of repercussions along their whole lives, is there any scientific basis to believe that under 18s would have any adverse affects to it that cause bad reactions/decline in growth, etc., as from what I can see it terms of hormones it only debatably effects testosterone (increase) and oestrogen (decrease), and in a male surely that would only have positive effects on growth due to the only minor adjustments, not pushing rates outside of the norm?

In brief, is there any reasoning apart from just fear of 'we're not exactly sure and wouldn't want to risk damaging kids' that Creatine is not recommended generally for under 18s?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Web MD has a surprisingly well balanced article on Creatine. A couple of the highlights are:

  • It is common in meats such as beef and fish
  • It is not common in vegetables, so vegans and vegetarians might be deficient
  • It can also be made in a laboratory
  • "There is some science supporting the use of creatine in improving the athletic performance of young, healthy people during brief high-intensity activity such as sprinting"

Understand what Creatine Monohydrate (the most researched, and validated form of supplemental Creatine) is and does.

  • The only reason it is not recommended for people under 18 is that there isn't sufficient research to validate whether it remains unharmful or what dosages are appropriate for that age group..
  • It does not manipulate hormones.
  • During exertion, your muscles use Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) for fuel. The byproducts are Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP) and lactic acid.
  • Creatine reacts with ADP to add the missing phosphate and turn it back in to ATP.
  • Creatine is hydroscopic (absorbs water), so drink plenty of fluids when you supplement.

The direct effect is that it enhances your recovery so that you can work out harder and longer for the same level of fatigue. It is the exercise itself that causes the hormonal response of increasing testosterone and decreasing estrogen--not the creatine.

If you eat plenty of meat in all its various forms, chances are you are getting a proper amount of Creatine in your diet. In the absence of research data to recommend proper dosages for minors, it's easier to recommend that the minor get their dietary creatine through food.

Excess creatine is excreted from the body, so additional supplementation may not produce a perceived effect.

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It makes for better marketing. A diet high in animal proteins likely already has more creatine than can be utilized by the body. According to this article:

The typical male adult processes 2 grams of creatine per day, and replaces that amount through dietary intake and fabrication within the body.

According to this article:

For each kg uncooked red meat, you can expect to find 4.5 g creatine.

Uncooked pork contains more creatine per gram than beef, with 5 g per kg.

One of the richest sources of creatine is herring, which can contain 6.5 to 10 g creatine per kg. Salmon contains 4.5 g and tuna contains 4 g per kg.

People under the age of 18 are ingesting plenty of creatine as it is. None of the claims presented on the bottles of creatine supplements are evaluated by the FDA anyway -- any substantiations they present are bogus.

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