House committee prompts DoD to study creatine for military meals

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© breakermaximus / Getty Images
© breakermaximus / Getty Images
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services issued its report on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Friday. It included a call for the Department of Defense to study the addition of creatine to Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs) to supplement troop readiness.

“This is a terrific move by the committee as our nation’s freedom hinges upon American service members having the resources they need to keep our nation safe,” said Daniel Fabricant, PhD, president and CEO of the Natural Products Association (NPA). “Creatine is one of the most extensively studied ingredients on the planet when it comes to safely increasing strength and recovery time, both critical to the success of our service members.” 

The NPA first met with House Armed Forces Committee members three months ago to push for incorporation of creatine as priority not just for the dietary supplement industry but for warfighters. This included walking through data points from over 2,000 clinical trials on benefits ranging from muscle recovery to cognitive function.

“Providing for our national defense is the most consequential responsibility that the U.S. Constitution granted Congress—the NDAA remains a vital part of fulfilling that commitment to our service members and our nation, we’re grateful to have played a role in getting this important study as a part of that commitment,” Dr. Fabricant added.

Each year, the bipartisan and bicameral NDAA authorizes funding levels and provides authorities for the U.S. military and other critical defense priorities, ensuring America’s forces have the training, equipment and resources they need to carry out their missions. 

Consideration of including creatine in MREs

In the health care provisions portion of the House committee's report on the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2025 under the title “Consideration of Including Creatine in Meals Ready to Eat”​, it includes language that reads: 

“The committee recognizes that creatine is a popular nutritional supplement because of its long history of improving strength and muscle health. A broad body of clinical research has shown that creatine can enhance muscle growth, physical performance, strength training, post exercise recovery and injury prevention. The committee encourages the Department of Defense to consider including creatine supplementation by the Defense Logistics Agency in Meals Ready to Eat.”

The NDAA package now goes to the Senate, and if the creatine language is incorporated in the act, NPA says it will start to work with DoD on its process for formulating a study and wait for the department’s determination as to whether creatine will be included or not. 

“We're confident that from that study and from the other studies that are out there, they'll make the recommendation that creatine be provided as a part of ready to eat meals,” Kyle Turk, director of government affairs at NPA, told NutraIngredients-USA.

From there, industry will be able to go through the request for proposal (RFP) process, Dr. Fabricant added.

Creatine and the U.S. military

According to the DoD’s Operation Supplement Safety (OPSS) creatine fact sheet​, creatine supplements are popular among service members trying to enhance strength and muscle size.

“Although individual responses to creatine supplementation vary, creatine can have a positive effect on strength, power, sprint performance and muscle mass in athletes who engage in resistance training,” according to OPSS. “Creatine monohydrate supplements also might reduce the strength loss and minimize the exercise-induced muscle damage often experienced by athletes who participate in both strength and endurance activities.”

It does, however, note that evidence is limited that creatine supplements enhance aerobic performance such as endurance events and that creatine monohydrate, the most studied form, is generally well tolerated short term but that less is known about long-term safety.

This article has been updated to clarify that the language on creatine was issued as part of the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on Armed Services Report and is not yet included in the legislation.

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