Workout Supplements have forever changed the fitness world. Once strictly marketed to hardcore bodybuilders, these supplements have become mainstream, used widely by a variety of demographics. One aspect of the supplement world however is quite troublesome. The Food and Drug Administration very loosely regulate new and current products PEScience
Most products are marketed as “dietary supplements” which enable them to bypass many FDA regulations. Recently, there have been a fair amount of incidents involving products that are tainted by hardcore anabolic chemicals, and products that contain ingredients other than those listed on the bottle.
Most notably, the death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler in 2003 caused the FDA to ban ephedra, an herbal stimulant marketed to athletes. However, it took six years to ban the substance after the FDA issued its first warning. There have also been reports of athletes testing positive for banned substances, and then discovering that the culprit was their multivitamin, which was tainted with anabolic agents.
The essential problem is that products don’t need to be proven to be safe before hitting the market, and are very difficult to remove from the market due to “grey market” Internet sites that specialize in marketing these questionable products.
Various bodybuilding sites argue that there a many more serious issues to be focusing on as opposed to supplement regulation. One such site lists the top twenty causes of death in the United States; the list does not include dietary supplements.
The fault in this argument is that many of those causes of death are not preventable through simple regulation. Among these is heart disease, cancer, and drug related deaths. The bottom line is that while the FDA debates how to regulate a growing supplement market; consumers are at risk of health complications arising from poorly manufactured, yet powerful chemicals.
Here are five strategies prospective buyers can employ to reduce risk:
- Research, research, research. The wisdom of the crowd is often the most accurate. Always gather information from multiple sources before beginning to use a product. Often the best sources are those who have already tried the product and have posted online about their experience.
- Avoid products that use the words “tren” or “anabolic” in their titles. These products are the area where especially many cases of health complications have arisen.
- Do not purchase cheaper, second-rate products. You get what you pay for, so pay that extra five dollars to go with a trusted brand. You do not want to risk your health to save a buck.
- Make an investment. Experts gladly sell their knowledge to those who will listen. Especially when it comes to questionable products, experts know what is safe and what isn’t. Investing in their knowledge via book, e-book, or personal training is highly recommended.
- While taking the supplement, if you experience nausea, insomnia, chronic itchiness or loss of appetite, these could be signs of liver damage and use should be discontinued and a physician contacted immediately.