When you are involved in athletics, you have to be competitive. You have to want to win more than anybody else. Athletes these days, however, are really taking winning to the extreme. Athletes today are using various supplements to increase their size, muscle mass, and their potential to perform well. Athletes have been taking all kinds of supplements to gain an edge on their opponents. Little do they know, these supplements are not FDA approved. No one knows the long-term effects of these supplements on the human body. The use of non-FDA approved supplements should be banned from sports. Supplements are supposed to be taken to make up for a deficiency in some aspect of a person's diet. For example, if someone does not like milk and does not eat any foods that contain calcium, they could take a calcium supplement. But, athletes use supplements to lose body fat and gain muscle and strength. There are many different types of supplements. The two most popular these days are Creatine Monohydrate and Androstenedione. Creatine monohydrate, generally known as creatine is a popularly used supplement. Creatine occurs naturally in muscles, but many athletes or body builders take it to increase their strength and size. When using muscles, a chemical called ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) is broken down into ADP (adenosine DI-phosphate) and an inorganic phosphate. The release of the phosphate is what gives the muscles energy. Creatine, whether, the naturally occurring, or from a bottle or jar, combines with phosphate and can restore ADP back to ATP. Theoretically, this means more energy. But it does not come without a price. The manufacturers and advertisers for Creatine tell
athletes they should use the product because muscles contain an average of 3.5 to 4 grams of naturally occurring creatine per kilogram of muscle. However, this can be increased because up to 5 grams of creatine may be stored.(Passwater 3) So, by using their product, the full potential of muscle energy can be used. Basically what the company is telling you is to pay an outrageous amount of money to add 1 gram of creatine to your muscles. Also, taking creatine has many side effects, just as other supplements do. This is because the type of creatine you buy of the shelf is pure. The body gets its natural creatine from red meat. But, red meat is not one hundred percent creatine. The body cannot handle the potency of this supplement. Another supplement commonly used by athletes is androstenedione, which is a hormonally based supplement that is supposed to help weight lifters add muscle. Andro is taken orally and goes to the liver. The liver destroys most of what is ingested, but the small amount that does survive combines with various enzymes and temporarily boosts testosterone levels.(Hawken 8) This boost in testosterone allows an athlete to perform at a level above what he usually does. If an athlete takes andro before he goes to the gym, he will be able to lift more, and thus increase strength and size. Although it is not legally considered an anabolic steroid at this time, andro acts exactly as they do. If anabolic steroids and andro have the same effects, and steroids are illegal, then andro should also be illegal. The American College of Sports Medicine says anabolic steroids such as androstenedione as well as other dietary supplements should be reevaluated and considered drugs. Although they do make people better athletes, they are illegal and athletes should not use them. DHEA is a supplement in the same family as 3
andro, called prohormones. DHEA also raises the testosterone levels in the body. There is very little scientific support of these prohomones. In fact, some preliminary evidence suggests that they may be counterproductive. In a well-controlled study recently published by the American Journal of the American Medical Association, androstenedione failed to boost muscle...
Bibliography: Sahelian, Ray. Creatine. August 2001. December 3, 2001.
Skerret, P.J. DHEA: Ignore The Hype. November 19, 1996. November 28, 2001.
Smeets, Mark. Creatine FAQ. June 17, 1996. December 2, 2001.
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