First Aid Block 4
April 8, 2010
If you are a competitive athlete or health freak then you’ve probably heard of sports supplements. Sports supplements are said to be quick and effective ways to gain results from exercise, Do the promises company’s make stand up? Are supplements really that great?
Sports supplements (also called cryogenic aids) are products used to enhance athletic performance that may include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, or botanicals (plants) — or any concentration, extract, or combination of these. Sports supplements are considered a dietary supplement which means they don’t have to be approved by the FDA and you don’t have to get a prescription. This has been a problem because some products have had unsafe amounts of certain ingredients.
There are many different types of sports supplements. One the most serious and drastic types to gain muscle and strength are androstenedione and DHEA. These are also known as natural steroids. Studies have shown that they do not increase muscle size or strength. They can also cause severe side effects. Such as testicular cancer, breast cancer in men, and if taken by teens it can stunt growth. Also the usual side effects associated with anabolic steroids. These supplements are usually ineffective and extremely dangerous.
Anabolic steroids are a dangerous and illegal route to take. These are hormones that help the body build muscle tissue and increase muscle mass. Steroids, also known as roids or juice, are similar to the male hormone testosterone, which is produced naturally in larger amounts in males and smaller amounts in females. When you take steroids, your muscle tissue is stimulated to grow, producing larger and stronger muscles. These are not recommended.
Another popular supplement to gain muscle and strength is creatine. Creatine is naturally produced by the body in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. Creatine helps increase energy, repair muscle and shorten recovery time. The side effects are usually mild like diarrhea and cramps. It’s best for high intensity workouts like sprints and power lifting. Researchers have found that not everyone who uses creatine absorbs it properly so it can be wasted on some people. Creatine is in high demand from teens; however it is unknown how creatine affects teenagers so it’s recommended for people 18 or older.
But steroids do have unwelcome side effects - such as high blood pressure and heart disease, liver damage and cancer, urinary and bowel problems, strokes and blood clots, and sleep problems. Men or teenage boys can suffer from infertility, breast and nipple enlargement, and penile dysfunction. Girls may find themselves with deeper voices, smaller breasts, menstrual problems, and an increase in facial and body hair. Steroids can also have emotional effects on the user, such as severe mood swings, aggressive behavior, irritability, and depressive or suicidal thoughts.
Androstenedione, more commonly known as andro, is another popular nutritional supplement. When a person takes andro, the body may convert it to testosterone, which is necessary for muscle development. When it's taken in large doses, andro is said to increase muscle mass, although studies haven't shown that andro is particularly effective. Andro can cause hormone imbalances and can have similar side effects to anabolic steroids.
Fat burners (also known as thermogenics) are another very popular supplement. They used to use ephedrine to boost your metabolism and help burn fat. But the FDA found that ephedrine can have very serious side effects. Some people experienced seizures, strokes, and heart problems. These types of supplements are very dangerous and are not recommended for use at any age. Much study is still needed before these products are completely safe and truly ready for the market.
Many sports organizations have developed policies on sports supplements. The National Football League (NFL), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have banned the use of steroids, creatine, ephedra, and androstenedione by their athletes, and competitors who use them face fines, ineligibility, and suspension from their sports.
Sports supplements are a good way to get an edge on the completion, but they do come with risks. Some of the more serious supplements like steroids and HGH are not recommended. But if you consult your physician and be as safe as possible you can get positive results from mixing sports supplements with proper diet and exercise.