Creatine: Personal and social consequences

Last modified: Thursday, 26. March 2009 - 5:17 am

Because creatine is a legal dietary supplement and a non-addictive substance, the social pressures accompanying its use are not as intense as those that surround controlled substances and illicit drugs. And since the major professional U.S. sporting organizations allow its use in training, it does not have the stigma that steroids and other banned substances have. In addition, since the creatine use of a number of famous and talented professional athletes has been well-publicized by the media, many amateur athletes view the supplement as a miracle-drug of sorts.
The use of creatine by high-profile athletes around the world has also increased its popularity among youth and adolescents, who are taking the supplement in record numbers. A recent survey by the Healthy Competition Foundation found that 390,000 children between 10 and 14 years of age had taken performance-enhancing supplements of some type, and 57% of all respondents had used creatine. Unfortunately, there has not been a similar rise in education efforts about the supplement, and many who supplement with creatine do so in a manner that is inconsistent with the current clinical research (i.e., over-supplementation, use for non-anaerobic activities, etc.), possibly endangering their health.
In recent years, there has been a trend against the use of creatine and other performance-enhancing supplements among high school and collegiate athletic organizations. The National Federation of State High School Associations developed a position statement that states that “coaches should never supply, recommend or permit the use of any drug, medication, or food supplement solely for performance-enhancing purposes.”
And in August 2000, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) released a list of permissible and nonpermissible nutritional supplements that institutions and coaching staffs may provide their athletes. Under the NCAA policy, only those supplements that are considered non-muscle building substances can be provided to an NCAA athlete by a coach or institution. Creatine is considered a nonpermissible substance, however, athletes may still purchase and take the supplement on their own initiative and at their own risk.

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