Supplement stores and retailers are recommending creatine supplements for kids and adolescents in spite of pediatricians' advice against its usage to anyone below 18 years of age.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a performance-enhancing substance, which is usually used by individuals to improve their athletic performance. It is naturally found in fish and meat and is the most popular muscle-building supplement sold in health food stores, vitamin shops, supermarkets, and even online. Creatine is available in form of tablets, flavored powers, drink mixes, and energy bars.
A long history of the supplement consumed by numerous athletes proposes that it is harmless for healthy adults but the child health experts are uncertain about the effects of such supplements in case of children. There is a likelihood that the supplement might be harmful to the growing and developing bones and muscles. The creatine packages hold warning labels against the use of the products among children and adolescents below 18 years but they do not pay heed to them before consumption.
"In addition, the majority of teens using Creatine reported that they 'did not read the package insert' and either 'didn't know the dose' they were taking or were purposely 'taking more in order to get quicker results,'" wrote Milanaik in an email.
Retailers Recommend Creatine To Youngsters In spite Of Warning Labels
Researchers at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center, New York performed a survey to know whether the drug retailers caution the youngsters about the supplement. A 20-year-old associate of the research team made calls to about 244 health food stores, throughout the United States pretending like a 15-year-old football player looking to increase his muscle power. In each phone, call he asked attendants at the store for their suggestions regarding the best supplement that he could use.
Surprisingly, about two-thirds of the sales executives suggested creatine, regardless of the warning on the product labels.
According to researchers, the anecdotal facts hint that creatine may impair kidney and liver functions and can also cause muscle cramps.
Health Supplements Like Creatine May Be Impure
The impurities that could be present in the creatine supplements could be a huge health concern for children said Dr. Michelle LaBotz, the co-author of the study and a pediatrician specializing in sports medicine.
LaBotz added that since FDA regulates the dietary supplements without much consideration the purity of such products cannot be guaranteed. Some of these products may have been contaminated with substances like testosterone, which is known to adversely affect the child's ability to develop bones.
The cautionary report on creatine is published for the American Academy of Pediatrics.