Workout supplements are touted to give athletes an edge in their training and exercise, allowing them to bulk up faster or have more energy when exercising. The popularity and use of workout supplements has grown in the past decade. For many they are vital to keeping in top shape. However, exercise supplements are not required to be tested or approved by the FDA and could not only impede your exercise routine, but could pose serious risks to your health.
Supplements: Good or Bad?
Unsafe and illegal supplements, such as anabolic steroids, can cause severe health problems including elevated blood pressure, acne, infertility, and liver, heart, and kidney problems. Athletes should be alert whether they are taking supplements which might contain illegal steroids and cease immediately if they are.
However, while some athletes use illegal supplements to get ahead, there are plenty of safe, legal, and effective supplements on the market. Most personal fitness experts agree that you can improve your workout performance by taking some supplements which are known to be safe and effective. According to Consumer Reports, certain supplements can improve your exercise performance and efficiency if used correctly. Caffeine, for example, is known to boost energy during workouts; it is recommended for athletes to have a cup of black coffee before exercising if they feel they need an energy boost. Additionally, increasing protein in one’s diet speeds up muscle growth; protein powder is a common and safe supplement among athletes. Problems around supplements, says Consumer Reports, stem from the fact that many athletes see the success of people using supplements and want to quickly boost their performance as well. Unfortunately, in the pursuit of this success, people don’t take enough time or simply don’t have enough information to determine which supplements are the real deal.
The Gray Area
There are thousands of different types of supplements on the market, not just caffeine and protein powder. And while legal, many have been found to be dangerous. The problem is there are so many different supplements available–all claiming to do different things and many with shady ingredients–that it is difficult to separate the safe from the snake oil. For example, bodybuilder Kevin Krieder recounted how he got hooked on a pre-workout supplement that he thought was amino acids and caffeine but later turned out to contain the amphetamine-like stimulant DMAA. Even if experiences like this are not common,they often have severe consequences. Another example of a supplement problem occurred in 2011, when the FDA was alerted to a supplement called Jack3d which was linked to the deaths of two people in the military. Jack3d was pressured to stop the sale of their product, which contained DMAA.
Companies that manufacture exercise supplements often work in the margins of the law to create products similar to banned chemicals but just chemically different enough to be legal. The FDA doesn’t have the resources to determine the legitimacy of every supplement on the market, so even if dangerous products are recalled, more quickly take their place.
The safest way to approach supplements is to always be skeptical and thoroughly do your research before ingesting any. Beware of anything that purports to be a miracle or some novel remedy. Supplements claiming to be derived from some Chinese root or rare herb are more often than not simple powder laced with dangerous synthetic drugs. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure about whether supplements are a good idea for you, and read up on the FDA’s tips for managing supplements.
Have you or a loved one suffered from a defective supplement? You may be entitled to compensation–contact the legal team at Regan Zambri Long PLLC for a free consultation about your product liability case todayTagged ProductSafety, Public Health, Supplements