If you’ve been going to the gym, talking to your friends about working out, or reading fitness articles online you’ve probably heard of creatine. Creatine is one of the most popular supplements on the market.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a natural substance found in your body. Along with other nutrients, your body uses creatine to make energy for your muscles. Creatine comes from food but can also be made in a laboratory—the most common dietary sources are red meat and seafood.
Can creatine help you achieve your fitness goals?
Some people think that creatine supplements, when taken during or after exercise, can improve muscle mass and general athletic performance. However, there is not much evidence for this. People tend to gain weight when taking creatine, but most of this weight is from water. Creatine makes your muscles hold more water; for this reason, if you decide to take creatine it’s important to drink plenty of water during the day.
Is creatine safe?
It depends…for adults, if taken in small amounts. But large doses of creatine can cause you to have upset stomach, diarrhea, muscle cramps, and nausea. More importantly, it can also cause kidney or liver damage if taken over a long period of time. Creatine is NOT recommended for younger teens or children, especially not in adult doses.
In general, teens should stay away from sports supplements. You really don’t need them if you are eating a balanced diet and are otherwise healthy. By eating healthy meals during the day you can get all of the nutrition you need to meet your fitness goals. If you eat right and exercise regularly, you will be on the best path to being healthy. There are no shortcuts to being physically fit!