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Ask the Doctor: Creatine and
by Eric Serrano, M.D.
April 17, 2000
I am a 15-year old football player and am working to increase my
bodyweight and strength with strength training. I am also interested in
trying creatine monohydrate. Does creatine actually work and is it safe
for someone my age to use?
Yes, creatine monohydrate is safe for guys and girls your age to use as
long as they do not have any health problems that would be worsened by
taking supplemental creatine. No one under the age of thirteen should use
creatine though, since their muscles are not developed enough yet to get
any real benefit. Before you begin using creatine, I would first recommend
that you follow a safe and well designed strength training workout for at
least one year. You should also inform your parents that you want to use
creatine and have your parents educate themselves about the product.
I have listed the guidelines that I recommend below for anyone using
creatine, including teenage athletes.
Stay well hydrated. Drink at least .6-.7 ounces
of a water per pound of bodyweight per day when using creatine
While creatine monohydrate powder works well,
effervescent creatine may be even more effective. If you decide to
use effervescent creatine, be sure to use the patented formulation
which is used by Fortress Systems and Muscle Linc.
The amount of creatine an athlete should take
depends on the type of product. When using effervescent creatine,
follow the manufacturers recommendations of one packet (5 grams) per
day. When using creatine monohydrate powder, athletes should take
5-15 grams of creatine a day for five days. After the fifth day of
using creatine monohydrate, athletes should take 5 grams of creatine
monohydrate powder per day for 4-6 weeks.
Take 4 weeks off from using creatine every 4-6
weeks. During the time you are not using creatine you should still
see its benefits because it takes at least 4 weeks for it to clear
from your muscles.
Always take creatine after a workout. Taking
creatine before a workout is a potential reason for muscle cramps
experienced by athletes using creatine.
When using creatine, limit usage of pain killers
such as Motrin and Advil. Combining these drugs with creatine may
increase creatinine levels in the body, a byproduct of creatine
metabolism and can possibly cause kidney damage.
In short, if you are interested in using creatine, you
should be certain that you have no health problems which may be affected.
You should also be over the age of 13. If you meet these qualifications
and are willing to closely follow the guidelines above as well as educate
yourself about the product, creatine is both safe and effective.
About Dr. Eric Serrano
Dr. Serrano received his medical degree from the University of Kansas and
is Board Certified in Family Medicine. In addition to his medical
practice, Dr. Serrano also provides nutrition counseling to professional
and elite level athletes.