Should High School Athletes Take Creatine?
Should High Schoolers take creatine?!
Meathead Matt comes strutting through the hallway. The kid in high school that everyone mutters is on steroids. His dad has been spoon-feeding him creatine since the age of 9. He has been lifting weights since the age of 10 and has always looked like his shirts were two sizes too small.
“You know his Dad gives him steroids?”
“Yeah, I know, he has been using that anabolic steroid creatine for years!”
“His kidneys are going to implode by the age of 25!”
The misinformation is passed on and on. Every kid is jealous that Meathead Matt has arms bigger than their legs and can bench more than everyone else can deadlift. He is the star defensive linemen, he is the All-State heavyweight on the wrestling team and he is the returning state champion shot putter.
This begs the question. Should Matt be using should a potent supplement? What the hell is creatine anyway? Is it safe for high school age boys and girls?
Creatine is a naturally occurring nitrogen-containing compound found primarily in fish, poultry and red meat. This amino is one of the most studied supplements ever researched. Creatine has shown to enhance cell regeneration while improving force production and enhancing lean muscle mass. Creatine has shown to have a positive impact on recovery from concussions and in theory can also potentially prevent the rate of concussions in contact sports. This logic can also be applied to non-contact sports such as soccer.
Other research has shown that creatine can improve single and repeated high-intensity sprints while also dramatically enhancing muscular endurance, enabling athletes to maintain a higher displace of speed and power over a longer period of time. This is ideal for every single field sport including field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and football.
Creatine also enhances the shuttling of ATP through glycogen resynthesis, dramatically increasing aerobic exercise capacity. Creatine coupled with proper resistance training has also shown to have a tremendous impact on lean muscle mass development, in some studies it has even shown to decrease fat mass as well.
An old-school myth from the 90 tells us that creatine has a negative impact on water levels, causing cramping and that every athlete on creatine needs to be sure to consume PLENTY of water. HOWEVER, this data has never been shown accurately in any peer-reviewed journal, in fact it has even been shown to be quite the opposite. While researching combat athletes, it has been shown that create improved the replenishment of water levels within muscles after abrupt weight loss and dehydration.
In theory, improving brain creatine levels would also improve cognition and awareness. While discussing this topic with top researchers, Dr. Richard Kreider and Dr. Scott Forbes, both researchers believe that creatine would enhance sports performance-based decision making and should improve cognition while under stress. This has also been shown to be an aspect that both male and female wrestlers would benefit from while under competition stress. This is based off research that after just ONE DAY of creatine ingestion, sleep-deprived athletes had a significantly improved shooting rate compared to the sleep-deprived non-creatine group of rugby and soccer players.
Dr. Forbes has also pointed out that there has NEVER been any evidence that creatine could have a negative impact on kidney functionality and he even believes that every single contact athlete should be taking this supplement, particularly in high school.
Dr. Kreider went as far to point that breast-feeding mothers deplete their creatine levels, passing the creatine onto their children to aid in brain development. Because of this, he believes breastfeeding mothers should certainly be supplementing creatine to help with their own cognitive awareness.
To answer the overwhelmingly consistent question...should high schoolers be taking creatine? The answer is an absolute YES. This supplement is not only extraordinarily safe, but it also is healthy and can be a key to the safety and protection of a developing brain. Both young men and young women would benefit from taking .1g of creatine per kilo of bodyweight. This means a 100-kilo individual would take a minimum of 10 grams of creatine per day, ideally with carbohydrates.
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