Creatine Supplementation Offers Range of Benefits, CRN Commissioned Review Concludes

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16 Jun 2017 --- Creatine supplementation is not only safe, but has been reported to have a number of benefits in populations ranging from infants to the elderly, according to a new white paper titled “Safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine,” published this week in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN).

Citing more than 200 published studies, the article concludes that populations from adolescents to older adults demonstrated ergogenic benefits from creatine monohydrate supplementation with no clinically significant or serious side effects, determining that dosages ranging from 0.3 to 0.8 g/kg per day, taken for several years, are safe for those taking the supplement. The short- and long-term studies examined show that creatine is not only beneficial for athletic performance, but can also play a role in injury prevention and enhanced recovery, and may also have potential therapeutic benefits in various clinical populations.

In reviewing the literature, the authors confirm that creatine supplementation is a “safe and well-tolerated” nutritional strategy to improve exercise performance, and that “no study has reported any adverse or ergolytic effect of short- or long-term creatine supplementation.” 

Further, they urge that “public policy […] should be based on careful assessment of the scientific evidence […] not unsubstantiated anecdotal reports, misinformation published on the Internet, and/or poorly designed surveys that only perpetuate myths about creatine supplementation.” In particular, the authors single out some anecdotal reports that have raised questions about creatine’s effect on renal function and conclude there is no compelling evidence of negative effects in either healthy or clinical populations studied.

According to Mike Greene, senior vice president, government relations, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), “The paper emphasizes that hundreds of studies have been conducted on creatine monohydrate and results consistently demonstrate that it is ‘well-tolerated’ and safe to consume by healthy individuals. We welcome these conclusions from scientists who have most closely investigated this ingredient, and we plan to share this published paper broadly, particularly with state legislators and policymakers who may not be familiar with creatine’s strong safety profile."

Duffy MacKay, N.D., senior vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN, added, “As is true with all supplements, creatine is intended to supplement a healthy diet, in combination with other healthy habits. It is not a fast pass to peak athletic performance, and it should not replace a smart diet or a reasonable exercise regimen. Having an open dialogue with your healthcare practitioners and athletic trainers—and also parents, in the case of teenagers—should be the first step for anyone interested in incorporating creatine, or any supplements, into their exercise or wellness regimens."

The paper was commissioned by CRN who provided a grant to lead author Richard B. Kreider, Ph.D., Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, as part of the association’s ongoing commitment to support sound scientific research in the dietary supplement industry.  

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