Effects of creatine supplementation on the airways of youth elite football players
This collaborative project with Watford Football Club Academy aimed to establish the impact of creatine supplementation on lung function in youth elite athletes.
Owing to its ergogenic potential, creatine is widely used in football. As an oral supplement, creatine is currently considered safe and ethical. However, no data exist on the possible harmful effects of creatine on lung function in athletes.
We used a placebo-controlled trial to test the effects of a standard course of creatine supplementation on the airways of youth elite football players. Resting lung function, airway inflammation and airway responsiveness (to dry air hyperpnoea) were recorded before and after 8 weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation in nineteen elite soccer players, aged 16-21yr. We noticed trends for unfavourable changes in the players’ airways post-creatine supplementation.
In the absence of other human-based data, this is an important hypothesis-generating study that suggests that creatine monohydrate, when combined to intensive training, has potential to alter the respiratory health of humans.
Changes in regulation of the use of creatine supplements in elite sport may be warranted to better protect the respiratory health of athletes.