Boost or Bust?

Edward Murnion and Evan Phipps (graphic)

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In today’s sports culture, the lure of “bigger, better, faster, stronger”,  tempts males and females in turning to questionable supplements in order to attain the “perfect sports body.” Unfortunately, not all of these performance enhancers are good for the teenage body. Many of these supplements are considered “dietary health aids” therefore, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Although labels clearly state they are “not intended for persons under 18 years of age,” teen usage is still on the rise. At GCDHS, more than a third of students reported that they “would use enhancements.” This is no-doubt due to the pressures of exceling in sports, social circles, and appearances.

Many of these teens grow up with multiple non-FDA approved supplements in the home. “My mom drinks Shakeology. I guess it is to make her feel healthy.” said one freshman girl. “She also uses Soul, because she says it has lots of vitamins.” These supplements are not pitched for muscle gain but as nutritional supplements. In fact, most vitamins are not FDA approved so consumers become immune to warning labels.

One senior who has used supplements for about a year for both energy and muscle gain stated that he used to spend $150 a month on supplements. He uses N.O.-Xplode as pre-workout and Cell Mass as his post-workout., both are BSN products that he orders online.

“Legal sports supplements are a personal choice and I’m in favor of them {remaining} a personal choice but be aware there can be affects you can have in the future. Athletes must follow the association’s guidelines (rules) like MHSA . It’s not a good idea if the coaches encourage it because it could affect everyone differently, and it should remain a personal choice,” said Superintendent Nate Olson. “The healthiest way to do it is the old fashioned way. Personally, I wouldn’t use them,” said Olson. The old fashioned way that Mr. Olson refers to is proper rest, nutrition, hydration and heavy lifting.

Some substances can have side effects. For instance, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) has effects that cause upset stomach, nausea, and fatigue. It will also impact the way the body uses insulins for energy. Creatine, the most popular supplement used to increase lean muscle mass and enhance performance is not recommended for teens because of its negative effects, such as hypertension and liver dysfunction.

Bottom line is make sure to consult a doctor before starting a supplement or an enhancer. Don’t let the temptation of a “quick fix” compromise your long-term health.