Last updated on September 27th, 2022 at 11:14 am
It’s a question I see asked fairly often, “Why Do You Have to Be 18 to Buy Creatine?”
Creatine just happens to be one of the most commonly researched supplements.
Additionally, it is probably also the most widely used supplement.
The one thing we do know about creatine is that it is completely safe to take and it can enhance your overall athletic performance.
This begs the question as to why there would be an age restriction placed on purchasing or using creatine.
Allow me to explain everything you need to know.
Why Do You Have to Be 18 to Buy Creatine?
You don’t actually have to be 18 to buy creatine, although some retailers will place an age restriction on all supplements, including creatine. With that being said, various health, sports, and child-related institutions do not recommend that someone under the age of 18 takes creatine. The main reason for this is because there are no long-term studies on creatine (over 5 years). Plus, creatine supplementation for teens has never been properly researched.
1. There is NO Creatine Age Restriction
I was initially surprised to see this question about creatine asked quite so often.
The main reason for this is that there is no actual age restriction when it comes to buying creatine.
However, various forum members at Reddit and Bodybuilding.com have revealed how they were asked for I.D. prior to purchasing creatine.
And unfortunately, some of these guys and gals were under 18 and were therefore refused creatine.
Upon further investigation it appears that there was a common denominator.
All the people who were either asked for I.D. or simply refused creatine had shopped at Walmart.
Now, I don’t wish to get into an argument about whether Walmart is right or wrong.
Realistically, as there is no age restriction on purchasing creatine, anyone of any age should be able to buy the supplement from anywhere.
However, I understand that certain retailers may enforce their own rules, and may place restrictions on minors.
As I say, I’m not going to debate whether this is right or wrong, it’s simply Walmart’s call.
With that being said, there are various energy drinks which also contain creatine.
Some retailers allow everyone to purchase and drink these energy drinks without ever questioning someones age.
Then again, there are other retailers who won’t allow someone to purchase the energy drink unless they’re 16.
Plus, there are those who won’t allow anyone under the age of 18 to buy these energy drinks.
So, as you can see, it all comes down to what a specific retailer decides and the rules they choose to personally impose.
But, you can rest-assured that creatine is available for those under 18.
I guess it’s just a case of finding someone who will happily sell it to you.
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2. Creatine is Not Recommended For Under 18s
I’ve mentioned that creatine is considered completely safe and also happens to be one of the most researched supplements there is.
However, this doesn’t stop certain organizations and institutions stating that they don’t recommend creatine for under 18s.
In fact, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Sports Medicine all agree that teenagers shouldn’t be taking supplements.
And of course this means all potentially performance enhancing supplements, including creatine.
The main reason for this is that although creatine is well-researched, the studies have always been carried out on adults aged 18 or over.
So, there is no research into the effects of creatine on under 18s.
Furthermore, there are no studies longer than 5 years on the effects of creatine.
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In other words, we are unaware of what creatine supplementation may do to a minor, and especially if they take creatine for a prolonged period of time.
Personally, I would say that there is enough research to show that creatine is safe.
However, the pure fact that creatine has never been tested on minors or for over 5 years is a cause for concern.
I believe that many of these organizations would prefer teenagers to stick to basic workouts and good nutrition.
Basically, from a young age you can certainly dramatically improve your physique simply through training and nutrition.
Plus, it’s a good time for a minor to get into good health habits without becoming “reliant” on supplements.
I’m sure you’ve experienced “newbie gains” in your first few months in the gym, and it’s certainly no different when you’re under 18 years of age.
With that being said, I know for a fact that many high school sports performers do regularly supplement with creatine.
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3. Is it Safe For Under 18s to Take Creatine?
So, from what we know about creatine, is it actually safe for minors to take?
There are many well-documented side-effects associated with creatine.
However, in truth, the vast majority of creatine users never suffer from any of these side effects.
Realistically, most of these issues are caused by simply taking too much creatine or not drinking enough water when you supplement.
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Those who typically take more than the recommended dose of 5g of creatine per day will often find that they’re bloated or puffy, retaining water, peeing excessively, etc.
And for those who don’t drink enough water, they may find that they feel sick, lethargic, or once more, retain water.
Basically, once creatine is metabolized in the body it will produce the waste product, creatinine.
And creatinine is then excreted from the body through urination.
However, the more creatine you take, the more creatinine you’ll produce, so the more often you’ll need to excrete this from your body.
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Under normal circumstances, excess creatinine in the urine is generally associated with the kidneys not filtering blood efficiently.
Additionally, water retention can potentially alter kidney function.
But, careful supplementation and adequate water consumption would generally negate these side effects.
With that being said, these potential side effects are not something that anyone would want to experience, never mind a child.
So, while creatine may be perfectly safe for an under-18 to take, you wouldn’t want them to suffer from potentially life-changing side-effects from such a young age.
In my mind, if a teenager does wish to take creatine, then follow the correct dosage and ensure that they drink plenty of water.
Is Creatine Safe For Teens?
So, hopefully you understand that you don’t actually have to be 18 to buy creatine.
However, this doesn’t mean that certain retailers won’t place age restrictions on purchasing creatine and other supplements.
Additionally, there are many organizations and institutions who specify that teenagers and minors should not be taking creatine.
This is simply because there have never been any creatine studies conducted on under 18s.
Furthermore, no studies on creatine have lasted longer than 5 years.
So, realistically if someone starts supplementing with creatine from a very young age, we have no real information about how their body will react in years to come.
With that being said, creatine is considered completely safe for adults, and it’s one of the most popular supplements ever.
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Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.