Taken to improve athletic abilities,
these legal and illegal substances,
also marketed as nutritional
substances, may be taken orally,
injected, or inhaled. Their use by
athletes, with the intention of
improving ability and appearance,
generates significant health concerns.
There is no FDA oversight guaranteeing
safety or purity of these sports or
dietary supplements, and without FDA
oversight, they are not required to be
proven effective for any claimed
health benefit. Some of these
substances are available in stores,
while others can be obtained over the
Internet, without a prescription.
Commonly used supplements and health
Dehydration, nausea, nosebleeds, heart
rhythm problems, death
Dehydration, muscle cramps, diarrhea,
kidney function compromise. Effects of
chronic use unknown.
Constipation, gas, diarrhea,
dehydration, high prolactin hormone
levels. Rare side effects include
liver, kidney, and heart disease.
Nitric Oxide Producers
Low blood pressure, fainting,
dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, changes
in blood electrolytes, increased
Trouble sleeping, fast heart rate,
high blood pressure, heart attacks,
Excess growth, heart muscle weakness,
high blood pressure, increased
pressure within the skull, premature
closing of growth plates.
Many of these substances have serious
long-term side effects, as well.
Stopping bone growth, high
cholesterol, decrease in testicular
size, diabetes, mood swings,
aggressive behavior, fluid retention,
depression, acne, and heart, kidney
and liver damage.
The best sports performance
enhancers are adequate water,
carbohydrates, and electrolytes.
For vigorous and long-lasting
exercise, sports drinks with
electrolytes and snacks with
sufficient carbohydrates are best.
A well-balanced diet, including milk
and meat as sources of protein for
building new muscle, is important.
Drinking 16 to 32 ounces of chocolate
milk within 20 to 30 minutes after
weightlifting or other strenuous
exercise is the safest way to
efficiently build muscles. Chocolate
reduces lactic acid that builds up
during strenuous exercise, while milk
provides an immediate source of both
protein and carbohydrates.
Use extreme caution when researching
supplement information online — many
websites provide biased, unscientific
information to improve product sales.
They may include labels that contain
false seals of approval, such as “GNC
approved.” Seals from legitimate,
Check with your child’s coach about
education and rules in place to reduce
the use of supplements and aides.