Ask The Expert
April 02, 2012
Creatine is a natural substance thatís largely found in muscle. Itís sold as a supplement. Thereís some evidence that it can help young athletes build muscle mass. And that it can improve athletic performance that requires short bursts of muscle activity, such as sprinting. For that reason, some but not all sports organizations have banned it.
There is little evidence that creatine can build muscle bulk or strength in older adults. Small studies have suggested that it might be helpful for certain diseases more common in older folks, like heart failure and Parkinsonís disease.
The doses makers recommend are typically 2 to 3 grams per day. In my judgment, there is no convincing evidence of adverse effects from these doses. But there are very few studies of sufficient size and duration to be confident about this.
And keep in mind that the FDA does not regulate the making of supplements as it does prescription drugs. So even if the creatine itself is fine, the other substances used to create a tablet or capsule could have impurities.
I think thereís little if any evidence that creatine supplements could help you build or maintain muscle strength at your age. And because supplements arenít regulated, there is a chance of harm. I wish there were more solid information, but there isnít. To be on the safe side, Iíd advise against taking creatine for now.