Bodybuilding and Performance Enhancement Supplements: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts use bodybuilding and athletic performance enhancement supplements to improve their physical performance, energy, strength, and muscle mass. However, not all supplements are safe and effective, and some may even contain harmful ingredients that may not be listed on the product labels.
The NCAA maintains a list of banned substances, and some supplements may contain banned substances, such as BMPEA and DMAA, without being labeled accordingly. While supplements may seem like an easy way to improve nutrition, most people can meet their nutritional needs through food. Health care providers may recommend a supplement, such as vitamin D or vitamin B12, if there is a deficiency.
Creatine is a popular supplement that may enhance the effects of exercise and improve strength, muscle mass, and endurance. However, creatine may have short-term side effects, such as weight gain and muscle cramps, and its long-term effects haven't been thoroughly studied.
While certain supplements may have potential benefits, studies on their effectiveness and safety have shown mixed results. Bodybuilding supplements pose a particular risk as many contain harmful or illegal ingredients, such as anabolic steroids, dangerous stimulants, and BMPEA, which is often disguised as Acacia rigidula. The FDA warns that supplements laced with prescription drug ingredients, controlled substances, and other harmful ingredients are an increasing problem in products promoted for bodybuilding.
Liver injury from taking bodybuilding supplements has also increased, with bodybuilding products being the most common cause of liver injury linked to herbal and dietary supplement use.
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