Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Creatine for muscle strength

Q. I'm 70 and exercise 30 minutes a day. I've heard that creatine supplements might help build muscle strength. Is there anything to it?

A. Creatine is a natural substance, largely found in muscle, that's sold as a supplement. There's some evidence that it can help young athletes build muscle mass and improve athletic performance that requires short bursts of muscle activity, such as sprinting. For that reason, it is banned by some, but not by all, sports organizations.

However, there is little evidence that it can build muscle bulk or strength in older adults like you. Some small studies have suggested that it might be helpful for those with a few diseases that afflict older people, such as heart failure and Parkinson's disease.

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