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Effect of creatine supplementation on the airways of youth elite soccer players

Simpson, Andrew J.; Horne, Sara; Sharp, Peter; Sharps, Robert; Kippelen, Pascale


Sara Horne

Peter Sharp

Robert Sharps

Pascale Kippelen


Introduction Owing to its well-established ergogenic potential, creatine is a highly popular food supplement in sports. As an oral supplement, creatine is considered safe and ethical. However, no data exist on the safety of creatine on lung function in athletes. The aim of this project was to evaluate the effects of a standard course of creatine on the airways of youth elite athletes. Methods Nineteen elite soccer players, 16-21 yr old, completed a stratified, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial. The creatine group (n = 9) ingested 0.3 g·kg-1⋅d-1 of creatine monohydrate (CM) for 1 wk (loading phase) and 5 g·d-1 for 7 wk (maintenance phase), and the placebo group (n = 10) received the same dosages of maltodextrin. Airway inflammation (assessed by exhaled nitric oxide, FENO) and airway responsiveness (to dry air hyperpnoea) were measured pre- and postsupplementation. Results Mild, unfavorable changes in FENO were noticed by trend over the supplementation period in the CM group only (P = 0.056 for interaction, η2 = 0.199), with a mean group change of 9 ± 13 ppb in the CM group versus -5 ± 16 ppb in the placebo group (P = 0.056, d = 0.695). Further, the maximum fall in forced expiratory volume in 1 s after dry air hyperpnoea was larger by trend postsupplementation in the CM group compared with the placebo group: 9.7% ± 7.5% vs 4.4% ± 1.4%, respectively (P = 0.070, d = 0.975). These adverse effects were more pronounced when atopic players only (n = 15) were considered. Conclusion On the basis of the observed trends and medium to large effect sizes, we cannot exclude that creatine supplementation has an adverse effect on the airways of elite athletes, particularly in those with allergic sensitization. Further safety profiling of the ergogenic food supplement is warranted.


Simpson, A. J., Horne, S., Sharp, P., Sharps, R., & Kippelen, P. (2019). Effect of creatine supplementation on the airways of youth elite soccer players. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 51(8), 1582-1590.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 7, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 1, 2019
Publication Date 2019-08
Deposit Date Feb 20, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 6, 2019
Journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Print ISSN 0195-9131
Electronic ISSN 1530-0315
Publisher Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 51
Issue 8
Pages 1582-1590
Public URL
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Copyright Statement
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

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