Creatine and other nutritional supplements : issues for young athletes
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Never before in the history of American sport has there been such a demand to win and such an expectation to excel. This demand has led many young athletes to experiment with creatine and other nutritional supplements. This study aimed at determining the efficacy and safety of several nutritional supplements, primarily creatine, used by young athletes. A total of 51 studies of creatine were included in the meta-analysis of existing research. The search for literature was conducted by searching the electronic databases MEDLINE and SPORTDiscus using the terms "creatine supplementation" or "nutritional supplements". Only data from the years 2000-2011 was selected for inclusion in the meta-analysis. The results of the meta-analysis revealed a slight increase in isotonic force, isokinetic force, jumping and sprinting, lean mass gain and strength gain. There was no noticeable change in hydration status or thermoregulatory capabilities. There was essentially no ergogenic gain in isometric force, power cycling as well as intermittent cycling and running endurance. This study concluded that creatine and other nutritional supplements do provide generally positive results for young athletes. However, there is not enough scientific evidence supporting the safety of performance-enhancing nutritional supplements to support their use by athletes.