It’s a question that many young athletes and teenagers ask themselves:
“Does pre-workout stunt my growth?”
Are you a youngster chewing over the thought of using pre-workouts to bump up your performance during workouts but are also afraid of stunted growth?
My athletic cousin’s brother of 14 years old read in a magazine how working out prevents teenagers from growing taller.
He asked me a similar question – which led me to do some research and stumbled on some interesting facts. Not just exercise alone – but I extended my research to supplements.
So you’re not alone here. Today is a great day 🙂
In this article, I will discuss the impact of the different ingredients, like caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, etc., on growth to help you decide why you should or should not brush aside the idea of using pre-workouts in growing age.
In the last section of the article, you will also find a critical analysis of the top five pre-workouts that I found safe for teens.
That doesn’t stunt your growth of course!
But before I get into the details, here is a foreword, you are already so high-spirited in your youth that you don’t ‘need’ synthetic powders to pep you up.
Nonetheless, hop on to the next section to find out what you are looking for.
Pre-workout and stunted growth: Any Relationship?
No, there is no scientific evidence that can prove the relationship between pre-workouts and stunted growth, so, for adults, you can drink them up without a second thought.
But if you are a juvenile and still in your growing years, it is wise to look at these supplements with a tiny bit of doubt.
Pre-workouts may have traces of banned stuff or stimulants that mimic hormones to bring out the desired effects like increased blood flow and mental alertness, which might not be as harmful to grown-ups as it may be for teenagers.
Since higher authorities do not regulate most pre-workout formulations, they may contain ingredients that lack safety studies, making it challenging to comprehend the effect of pre-workouts on teenagers in their entirety.
In addition, some pre-workouts hide their ingredients behind the propriety blend tag to prevent replication and theft of their formulations, so we can never know how and what is impacting our bodies.
But on the other hand, ingredients like creatine and amino acids may also help you get taller.
Nonetheless, there is a bunch of common stuff that you may find in every other pre-workout formulation, and thus, for this section, I will interpret how the most common ingredients may or may not have the potential to stunt your growth.
Does creatine stunt growth?
No, creatine does not stunt your growth. Instead, creatine is a chemical found in muscle that helps promote muscle mass, strength, and recovery after strenuous exercises, making it a growth promoter rather than a growth suppressor.
In fact, according to this 2021 study, children who consumed creatine grew up taller than the children who had it lacking in their diets. This comparative study pretty much explains a positive correlation between creatine and growth.
Researchers concluded that creatine might enhance growth hormone (GH) secretion, resulting in increased strength, more muscle mass, and taller height.
Does caffeine stunt your growth?
For adults, no, for teenagers, yes. Caffeine in pre-workout mainly works for stimulating your nervous system and energizing your body.
One way in which caffeine may impact your growth is by disrupting your sleep cycle.
According to a study, the growth hormone is released during deep sleep, and the peak of growth hormone release gets delayed by the delay in the onset of sleep.
Keeping in mind that caffeine promotes wakefulness and may make it harder for you to fall asleep, there’s a possibility that it can affect growth.
This study shows that consuming caffeine before resistance exercise may attenuate the secretion of Growth Hormone (GH) after exercise.
Does Beta-alanine stunt your growth?
No, Beta-alanine does not stunt your growth.
Beta-alanine is added to pre-workouts because it may increase the level of carnosine in muscles, which helps remove the lactic acid build-up due to high rep sets and helps prevent muscle fatigue.
This study calculated a correlation between beta-alanine, growth, and exercise.
It concluded that beta-alanine supplementation and exercise immediately increase growth hormone levels. Moreover, this research has also found a positive effect of beta-alanine consumption on the growth hormone.
Does Citrulline Malate stunt your growth?
No, citrulline Malate does not stunt your growth.
But rather, it may promote your muscle growth.
According to this murine research, citrulline malate may upregulate the expression of PGC‐1α during exercise, which has roles in increasing muscle growth, mass, and weight.
Does BCAA stunt your growth?
No, BCCAs don’t stunt your growth.
Branched Chain Amino Acids are three of the nine essential amino acids vital for growth, especially muscle synthesis. These are namely valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
This research evaluates the role of essential amino acids, including BCCA’s during growth, and found that their deficiency stunted growth in children.
The research found that essential amino acids play a role in mediating the ‘mTORC1 pathway’, which is the master controller of cell and organism growth and requires essential amino acids for its function.
For instance, it promotes the development of muscles, bones, the nervous system, the immune system, the digestive system, etc.
5 Best Pre-workouts of all time (doesn’t stunt growth)
Pre-workouts play a potential role in making you feel less jaded during workouts, and thus, they promote endurance and increase performance.
I suppose that the information in the above sections might have eased you a bit about your suspicion of an association between pre-workouts and stunted growth.
So, here are my top five pre-workout picks that may offer you maximum benefits during your gym or exercise sessions.
Crazy Nutrition Pre-train comes in three different flavors. It is formulated with stimulants and supplements, such as caffeine, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, B vitamins, iron, vitamin C, ashwagandha, L-arginine, piperine.
This pre-workout is designed to promote hydration, enhance mood, improve focus, increase muscle strength, and energize your body before workouts.
It doesn’t matter if you are an athlete and gym enthusiast; crazy nutrition pre-workout is well suited for everyone and will help to boost your endurance and performance for both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
- $40 per 20 servings.
- Offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.
- It offers a caffeine-free pre-workout option in the flavor ‘green apple.’
- EnXtra prevents ‘crash’ and enhances focus for 5 hours.
- Piperine improves the absorption rate of other ingredients and thermogenesis.
- L-arginine and L-citrulline will increase the blood flow to the muscles.
- The vitamins can fuel your body to help you sustain the workouts effectively.
- Beta-alanine will help to prevent muscle fatigue.
- It poses less risk of stomach cramps, jitters, or other digestive issues.
- Glycerol Monostearate promotes muscular hydration, endurance, and performance.
- Taurine increases stamina, hydration, and recovery.
- Tyrosine increases focus and increase the level of dopamine levels to reduce stress.
- Phenylalanine also boosts dopamine levels and stimulates ‘fat oxidation.’
- Ashwagandha is a testosterone booster that increases muscle mass and fat loss.
- It has 200mg of anhydrous caffeine, which is half of the recommended daily safe dose.
The 4Gauge explosive pre-workout comes in only one flavor but has a balanced blend of all the ingredients you need for a healthy and effective workout session.
It has a bunch of ingredients that promote muscle synthesis, like, creatine and carnitine.
The best thing is that it uses calming ingredients like the amino acid L-theanine and Rhodiola Rosea to counter caffeine’s overstimulation.
The 4Gauge pre-workout will work best for you if you want something to help you build a body without frying your nervous system.
- $45 for 20 servings.
- L-theanine calms down the nervous system and improves focus.
- Rhodiola improves mood, stamina, and concentration.
- L-carnitine helps utilize fat for energy, thus supporting your body-building goals.
- Coconut water powder prevents dehydration.
- It has no artificial sweeteners or banned ingredients.
- It has only five calories per serving.
- Caffeine content varies around 150 mg, which reduces the risk of over caffeination.
- It is vegan.
- The formula is updated consistently.
- The individual ingredients added in the pre-workouts have science-backed benefits.
- Beetroot is rich in nitrates and increases blood flow and endurance.
- L-citrulline boost oxygen and nutrient in muscles by promoting blood flow to them.
- Ingredients are not hidden behind the propriety blend tag and are mentioned clearly.
- Creatine content is only 1g which might be too low.
- You can only buy it online.
- It comes in only one flavor, ‘fruit blast.’
Naked energy Pre-workout is available in an unflavored version and fruit punch flavor.
It is designed to provide you with a clean energy source to drive your workout sessions as it is free from additives and GMOs.
It is formulated with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, B vitamins, folate, and vitamin C, along with the main stimulant caffeine.
The added ingredients in the naked energy pre-workout promote muscle strength and muscle growth. It can make a valuable option, especially for athletes, to encourage better performance with unadulterated and natural ingredients.
- $59.99 for 50 servings.
- It doesn’t have any preservatives, colors, flavors, or artificial sweeteners.
- It is third-party tested for heavy metals.
- It is free from allergens like soy and dairy.
- It is vegan and keto-friendly.
- The nutrients sustain energy levels and ensure the proper functioning of body systems.
- Beta-alanine increases muscle strength and aerobic endurance.
- L-arginine pumps the muscle with blood to increase endurance and performance.
- Creatine fuels the muscles with energy and promotes lean muscle growth.
- The creatine content is only 1g.
- The caffeine content ranges around 200 mg, which is half of your daily safe dose.
Gorilla mode pre-workout comes in 11 different flavors.
It combines nitric oxide boosters, stimulants, hydrating ingredients, cognition, and mood enhancers and tops them up with piperine to increase their bioavailability.
The ingredients brought together in the formulation surge the blood flow to the muscle, increase hydration, boost energy, and increase focus.
Gorilla mode is a reasonable choice to incite high-intensity workouts.
- $49 for 40 servings.
- The optimal creatine content for creatine loading is 3g-5g, and its one serving gives 5g.
- Glycerol powder and betaine promote hydration.
- L-tyrosine improves focus, energy, and endurance.
- Kanna improves mood and focuses by regulating hormones, e.g., dopamine and adrenaline.
- Piperine enhances the breakdown of ingredients to increase their absorption rate.
- Huperzine A is a nootropic that boosts focus.
- Agmatine Sulfate increases NO in the body and increases resistance for intense workouts.
- The 350 mg of caffeine restricts your freedom of caffeine intake from other sources.
- Australia banned N-Phenethyl Dimethylamine as it resembles DMMA and ephedra.
- It does not list the calorie count.
- Not suitable for people with sensitivity to specific ingredients or excessive caffeine.
- Has artificial sugars-sucralose and acesulfame potassium.
Genius pre-workout comes in three different flavors.
It is a non-stim, caffeine-free, nootropic-based pre-workout made of ingredients that boost brain and muscle function.
Since it is caffeine-free, it focuses on nitric oxide boosters, which dilate blood vessels to increase blood flow to the muscles, which increases the availability of oxygen and nutrients to them, thus, helping to promote endurance and performance.
The genius pre-workout also uses various extracts that increase energy, enhance focus and reduce stress.
This pre-workout is best suited for athletes who require a clean supplement to augment their mental alertness, cognition, energy levels and ultimately improve sports performance during training or competition.
- $37.99 for 20 servings.
- It is free of caffeine and stimulants and thus reduces the risk of anxiety, jitters, etc.
- Ingredients are mentioned on the label, and there are no propriety blends.
- L-citrulline and L-arginine increase blood flow.
- Taurine, Rhodiola, and tyrosine enhance mood and mental focus.
- Betaine improves hydration.
- Beta-alanine reduces fatigue.
- AstraGin increases nitric oxide availability by promoting the absorption of NO boosters.
- AlphaSize is a choline compound that enhances focus and cognition.
- Huperzia Serrata contains AChE inhibitor huperzine A; thus, it promotes brain function.
- ElevATP and theobromine help to increase energy levels.
- HICA delays the onset of muscle soreness and helps increase lean muscle mass.
- Has sub-optimal doses of beta-alanine.
- You will have to add creatine if you want a muscle-building effect.
- It contains stevia extract and anti-caking agents.
- Huperzia Serrata and HICA lack proper research to prove their efficacy and optimal doses.
- It may contain allergens like nuts, dairy, soy, shellfish, etc.
- Too many nootropics in the formulation may damage the brain.
To wrap it up, Pre-workouts won’t stunt your growth but workouts such as lifting weights during the growth phase might.
Since no scientific evidence is available to vouch for the safe use of pre-workouts for young athletes, it is better to stay away from them.
Moreover, pre-workouts have high caffeine and other stimulants. Because of this, you become desensitized to the ingredients over time and will eventually require them in greater magnitudes to impart the same effect.
So, as there is already so much energy and strength gushing in your body when you are young, you should rather save the supplements and stimulants for some later time.
My sincere advice? It would be best if you crank up your energy by showing up well-hydrated, well-slept, and well-fed for workouts.
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