Jan 9, 2017Teens Using Creatine
A study published in Pediatrics reports that health food stores routinely recommend creatine to teenagers, despite medical organizations discouraging those under 18 from using it.
According to HealthDay, a researcher from the study posed as a 15-year-old football player looking for ways to gain muscle mass, and found that two thirds of sales attendants at health food stores recommended creatine. Close to 40 percent recommended it without being asked about it, and 29 percent recommended creatine after the researcher mentioned it.
Dr. Ruth Milanaik, one of the researchers, said that creatine can cause dehydration, damage the kidneys and livers, and affect how young people’s bodies handle toxins, and she feels it is not a healthy choice for teenagers.
“None of what the vitamin shops and the health food stores did was illegal in any way, but they didn’t have the best interest of the 15-year-old customer at heart,” Milanaik said.
Robert Glatter, an emergency physician for Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said he hoped the study would be “a wake-up call” to teenagers, their coaches, and their parents, as well as proof that doctors and nutritionists are better sources of advice than health food stores.
“People who work in health food stores are not experts,” Glatter said. “They may rattle off a bunch of terms and detail how the product may help you look better or feel better, but these are not experts. These are salespeople. People need to recognize this.”
Tomi Akanbi, a registered dietitian and clinical nutrition coordinator with Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in New York City, said supplements were not the best way for teens to become stronger.
“Over-the-counter supplements are unregulated and often contaminated, which pose significant health and safety risks to adolescents,” Akanbi said. “A well-balanced diet combined with age-appropriate athletic training can help adolescents build muscle mass and improve athletic performance.”