Scores of people around the world today, turn to dietary supplements for a variety of health benefits ranging from weight loss to building muscle. The main purpose of taking a supplement is to supply the body with nutrients that are not included in a regular diet, but does the average athlete really need additional supplementation?
According to a study published in the December 2012 issue of Pediatrics, more teens than ever before are turning to daily body building protein supplements. One out of every four teens interviewed during the study admitted taking a protein supplement or some kind of muscle enhancing substance. The study also observed that almost half of the teens surveyed have tried these enhancers at least once.
Muscle building supplements have already gained a bad reputation due to health damaging side effects, and the testimonies are growing. Not only can dietary supplements be harmful, it is a no-brainer to say that any supplement can cause harmful side effects when used incorrectly or in excess.
Protein Powder: Quantity Does Matter
Professional athletes are conditioned to consume large quantities of protein powder to enhance their muscle building efforts. However, there are limits to how much muscle growth will happen regardless of the quantity of protein one consumes.
Ingesting a protein supplement without a proper workout regime is counterproductive. During weight lifting and other resistance activities, muscles go through a “tear and repair” process that in turn builds muscle mass.
Yes, building muscle requires protein. However, the majority of people get enough protein from their regular food sources, and so there is no need to take supplements and powders. Consuming large quantities of protein supplements or even if you receive excessive amounts of protein from your food alone, it can be detrimental to your health.
As a rule, protein should not make up more than 30% of your daily calorie needs.
Testosterone Therapy Concerns
Another common supplement for building muscle is testosterone. Even a slight increase in testosterone levels can lead to significant increases in muscle mass. Though testosterone therapy under the supervision of a doctor can be quite effective, it carries with it many side effects. Some of the common side effects include hair loss, gynecomastia, acne, prostate enlargement, and others.
The Dark Side of Creatine
Creatine is another supplement that is quite popular among many bodybuilders and athletes. In small quantities, creatine helps increase muscle energy and achieve bursts of strengths. However, excessive amounts of creatine can cause your body to gain weight at an unhealthy rate.
According to the Mayo Clinic, creatine may cause an abnormal heart rate, aggression, depression, altered serum creatine levels, high blood pressure and increased risk of kidney toxicity. The long-term use of creatine transforms kidney stones to ulcers. It can also cause stomach cramps, nausea, and other such problems.
Pre-Workout Supplement Cautions
Many pre-workout supplements and fat burners are common allies in an attempt to build muscles. These often contain huge quantities of caffeine and other stimulants.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University observed that the popular fat burner ephedrine has many side effects including increased heart rate and blood pressure. In extreme cases, side effects may also include heart palpitations, rhythm abnormalities, hallucinations, convulsions, mild hypertension, and even heart attack. People with any form of heart disease should not use any stimulants to boost their athletic performance.
Bodybuilding supplements should always follow the advice of a physician.
Emerging Eating Disorders
Men tend to develop low self-esteem from the perfect perception of the modern ideal of masculinity. This muscle bulging image leads men to purchasing over-the-counter bodybuilding supplements that could have a negative or positive effect, thus beginning the harmful cycle of an emerging eating disorder.
Reader – Do you believe dietary supplements and the ideal image in today’s society is leading to more problems than solutions? Do you take a daily supplement?