Should my teen be taking Creatine? A question that has been asked to me recently, which lead me to dig a little deeper. When I posed the question back do you know what it is, the response has been mixed, which shows a lack of understanding of what Creatine is and what benefits the supplement brings.
Creatine is probably one of the most researched supplements, with countless studies amongst adults, athletes, and the general population. However, there is little research done and limited scientific evidence to assess the safety or effectiveness of Creatine in adolescents.
Your body makes Creatine by way of kidney and liver after you eat protein. Your muscle converts Creatine into creatine phosphate, which is then generated into adenosine triphosphate (ATC), which your body uses for explosive exercise. It increases the body’s ability to produce energy rapidly and helps fuel our muscles, which is why some people take it as a supplement to boost their performance in the gym.
So will taking Creatine make you bigger or a better rugby player? My honest opinion is no and certainly not on its own. There are many other considerations at play here, so before you let your teen loose in the pharmacy, consider the following points before you watch your money go down the toilet!
Firstly, educate yourself, like anything before you put it into your body. Consult a physician or expert. Some people need supplements due to deficiencies, which can be determined through testing. Not all supplements are made equal, so ensuring you choose the right one is also important.
They are called supplements for a reason; they supplement. Therefore, you should have the main things checked before you start feeding yourself with pills and powder. Sleep being number one, followed by Nutrition.
Do your teen's lifestyle and training plan warrant supplementation? You will not get bigger or faster just by taking Creatine or any other supplement for that matter. I am not talking about football in the park with mates or throwing a few curls in after school in the home gym. I’m talking about a structured strength and conditioning program that is being monitored and controlled by someone who understands training principles.
Teens naturally grow, so taking a load of supplements, it’s hard to determine what is happening. If Sleep, Nutrition, and Training are not dialed in, it is not the growth from supplements. Let your teen go through the process of setting good habits. These will be more beneficial in the long run than any creatine or supplement, where it can be seen as an easy way or shortcut to "gains" when it never is and never will be!
There are hundreds of products on the market, with shiny bright labels, and many people telling your teens they should be taking it to be better. Instead, consider the above points, look at your teenager's long-term health, and save some money along the way!
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