A: No. While creatine is safe for most healthy adults, although I do not recommend creatine for athletes less than 18 years old. This is based on the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Clinical Report 2016).
If a youth athlete is looking to put on muscle, I instead would suggest focusing on their training plan and review their eating routine.
A review of their eating routine can make sure that they are getting ample calories and a balance of calories coming carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Then if they are still not gaining weight as desired, I would add-in 500 calories of quality foods each day to help increase weight to their goal. (For more tips: See the Eating Routine handout)
Examples of quality calorie boosting foods:
Yogurt, Berries, & Granola
In a bowl layer yogurt, granola, and berries! Suggested quantities: 1.5 cups (300 mL) vanilla yogurt, 1/3 cup (80 mL) whole grain granola, 1/2 cup (120 mL) berries
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 490 calories, 7 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 200 mg sodium, 86 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fiber, 57 grams sugar, and 14 grams protein.
PB & Banana
Have 1 banana with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) peanut butter*
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 310 calories, 17 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 1 mg sodium, 37 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 18 grams sugar, and 9 grams protein.
Hummus and Veggies
Snack on 1 cup sliced veggies (e.g. celery, bell peppers, carrots, etc.) and serve with 1/4 cup (60 mL) of your favorite hummus.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 150 calories, 6 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 300 mg sodium, 20 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 6 grams sugar, and 6 grams protein.
Trail Mix Popcorn
Toss together: 1 oz dried fruit (e.g. tart cherries), 2 tablespoons (30 mL) walnuts, and 3 cups (710 mL) air popped popcorn. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 280 calories, 11 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 700 mg sodium, 44 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 23 grams sugar, and 8 grams protein.
PB & Chocolate Shake
Combine 1 cup (240 mL) chocolate milk, 2 tablespoons (30 mL) peanut butter*, with 6 oz Greek or Icelandic yogurt. Blend until smooth. If an icy texture is desired add a handful of ice cubes.
Nutrition Facts (per shake): 540 calories, 26 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 220 mg sodium, 51 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 41 grams sugar, and 33 grams protein.
*Note: Substitute sunflower nut butter as a peanut-free option
Products to Try:
Metzel, et al. Creatine use among young athletes. Journal of Pediatrics 2001.
LaBotz, et al. Use of Performance Enhancing Substances. American Academy of Pediatrics 2016.