Drugs and Sports - Athletes on Steroids
As the use of performance enhancing drugs is becoming more popular among athletes, many of them don't understand the risks involved in taking these drugs. Many people are looking for a quick way to build muscle, or to get stronger the fastest way possible. Using these performance aids may very well be a quick fix for many athletes, but taking these supplements is unethical and dangerous. Using special drugs to boost an athletes performance is degrading to sports and to the athlete. The human body can produce the same substances naturally, without taking drugs, but people continue to load up on these supplements such as creatine or androstenedione. If the athlete is patient and works hard he can achieve the same strength that he would obtain using supplements. Athletes are trying to cheat using unnatural shortcuts to gain their muscle instead of spending the long hours in the weight room.
Athletes should not take these supplements because it is harmful to their health, to sports, and to future athletes who follow their example by using these dangerous substances. These ergogenic aids popularity is growing among young teenage athletes which see big superstars taking certain drugs and they expect their athletic ability to be boosted if they take these drugs too. On the contrary, taking these supplements are especially dangers when used by adolescents.
The ergogenic aid called creatine is used to build muscle mass very rapidly. Many people consume this supplement without even knowing the consequences or potential hazardous when they use this drug. It is true that creatine will build muscle mass in most people and it works fast, but in contradiction to that it may not work for everyone and there are side effects which are just barely being found out and many hazardous which are unknown. Beth Fontenot who is a nutrition consultant and freelance nutrition writer wrote, "Athletes taking creatine have reported muscle cramps, pulls, and tears, as well as stomach distress... In addition all of the studies that have been done to date have looked at creatine use for a short period of time, generally about a month. No one knows the effects of long [term] supplementation." This should cause great concern to athletes taking supplements such as creatine. The short term effects are very painful and can cause serious complications in the future. Also the long term effects which are unknown should be very worrisome. Would someone jump off a cliff not knowing how far of a drop it is to the ground" It is common sense to not use a drug when the consequences are unknown.
Body building supplements for the most part will give the extra energy an athlete needs to do a few more reps in the weight room, which will help build muscle faster. However, the dangers greatly outweigh the advantages. Writer for Newsweek, Karen Springen, states that, "If it were so dangerous...it wouldn't be used so widely."(68) In response to that Joannie M. Schrof, writer for U.S. News& world Report, quoted San Francisco Giants head physician William Straw, "Too many athletes decide to use supplements until they are proven dangerous, when they should be holding off until they are proven safe."(53) A lot of supplements claim great strength gains and athletic improvement, but athletes get to caught up in the advantages that they don't even wait to hear what the disadvantages are.
Another common misunderstanding is that because your body produces it naturally that it must be safe. "Americans assume that anything natural must be safe. That's the buzz about creatine, a muscle building supplement that's become as common as sweaty towels in gyms across the country." (Springen, Karen 68) This attitude of natural is safe is very ignorant. This "process...happens naturally: creatine is made in the liver and kidneys and [is] ingested in meat and fish. Yet athletes often consume 20 or more grams a day?the amount found in 20...
Cited: Eichner, E. Randy, MD. "Ergogenic Aids: What Athletes are using? and why." 4 April 1997, n.pag.Online. World Wide Web http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/1997/04apr/eichner.htm 14 Oct. 1998
Ford, Peter. "Unmixing Sports and Drugs." Christian Science Moniter 5 Aug. 1998 n.pag.
Fontenot, Beth. "The creatine craze: Such ergogenic promise but at what price?" Nutrition Forum Mar-April 1998:11
Jones, Marion. "Mark McGwire 's Muscle Pills: Supplements or Steroids?" 26 Aug. 1998, n.pag. Online. World Wide Web. http://www.foxnews.com/health/082698/sluggerdrugs.sml 19 Oct. 1998
Schrof, Joannie M. "McGwire hits the pills: Brawn-building supplements also deliver serious risks." U.S. News & World Report 7 Sept. 1998:53
Springen, Karen and Marc Peyser. "The new muscle candy: experts wrestle with questions about creatine." Newsweek 12 Jan 1998:68
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