Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Friday, August 19, 2011

Risky Supplements

The REC warns against the use of any dietary supplement because of the under-regulation of the industry and the possible dangers (both to your health and your sport). We encourage you to be extra cautious of products falling into these categories:

Pre-workout – “Get amazing PUMPS with EXPLOSIVE energy!”
Products claiming to be pre-workouts often contain stimulants including, but not limited to, synephrine, octopamine, 1,3-dimethylamylamine, and caffeine. Many of these substances are banned by sport organizations. Also, stimulants can increase heart rate and body temperature as well as keep the exerciser working out longer, which can prove dangerous especially in hot humid conditions.

Pre-workout products also tout the benefits of L-arginine or arginine-alpha-ketoglutarate (AAKG). L-Arginine converts to Nitric Oxide which causes the blood vessels to dilate allowing more blood flow to tissue. However, manufacturers often twist its capabilities, claiming that it will increase muscle protein synthesis and increase HGH levels. In studies, NO has failed to increase athletic skill or ability in healthy athletes. (while it does provide benefits in some medical cases such as burn victims). Read more.

Weight loss - “Melt away the fat without hitting the gym! Lose 10lbs in one week!”
Many of the most ridiculous claims come from products in the weight loss category. Often promising to help you lose weight with virtually no work on your part, these products tend to contain many of the same stimulants (that are banned) as pre-workout products. It isn’t advised by most experts to lose more than1-2lbs per week. If a supplement claims it can result in quicker, easier weight loss steer clear.

The FDA has found unlisted prescription drugs, such as sibutramine, in weight loss supplements. Sibutramine was actually pulled from the market itself as it caused heart problems and strokes. Contamination with this drug along with others like fenoproporex (not approved for use in the US), fluoxetine, and bumetanide can lead to many dangerous health situations. Some side effects and interactions of these drugs include: insomnia, heart palpitations, headaches, anxiety, panic attacks, nausea, muscle pain or weakness, hearing loss, and many more. Read FDA information on weight loss supplements here.

Male enhancement - “Get bigger, Last longer, and Increase your sex drive!”
Products in this category usually claim to increase testosterone levels, size, libido and sexual performance. They often mention ingredients such as Tribulus, Yohimbine, Longjack, Horny Goat Weed, and many others. It is common to see these products pulled from the market because they contain undeclared prescription drugs or analogues of these drugs (Viagra – Sildenafil citrate). There are many possible adverse reactions associated with taking un-prescribed sildenafil such as: heart attack, seizure, irregular heartbeat, vision changes, loss of hearing, or shock. With any product claiming to increase testosterone levels, you run a risk of a positive test as elevated levels could result in one.

Muscle building - “Gain 25lbs of Muscle in a MONTH!”
Gaining muscle is not a matter of snapping your fingers. It takes hard work, dedication and most importantly, time. You will hear of celebrities who put on 25lbs of muscle over the course of 6 months, and they have personal trainers and dietitians on their side! If it were easy to gain that much muscle in a month for a role, one would think they would be the first to dive in. If a product claims to help you gain muscle that quickly be concerned with not only what is listed in the product but what isn’t. Many of these muscle builders contain ingredients that are chemically similar to steroids or that are prohormones, which are banned by sports organizations and definitely hazardous to your health. Side effects of steroid use include: heart attack, liver disease, testicular shrinkage, acne, and many more. For your health (and eligibility), it is best to avoid these products completely.

The bottom line? If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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