The world of supplements is not a new phenomenon. Snake oil peddlers have been around for hundreds of years, always selling the cure for whatever othe ailment of the times was. But in recent years, supplement sales have become much more mainstream. And while the benefits from some products are undeniable, with other products the results are questionable at best.
The world of diet and exercise is big business. Americans spend billions every year on diets, diet books, supplements, and vitamins. Most of these products are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so the quality of the products could be called into question. And some products, while not poisonous, should be considered downright dangerous.
The World of Bodybuilding
The world of bodybuilding is a perfect microcosm to look at in regards to supplements. It is EXTREMELY competitive, and so everyone is looking for an edge. For many years this led bodybuilders to steroids. But eventually the managing bodies had to crack down because of the horrible reputation it was earning the sport.
But supplements overall have increased dramatically as everyone in the gym wants to see the maximum amount of gains with the least possible amount of work. This pressure to perform, even when not in a competitive environment, is what helps fuel the supplement and diet industry.
Pre workout supplements, or those taken prior to working out have often replaced high quality foods. One of the most popular supplements on the market is creatine monohydrate. It has been around for a little over 2 decades. It is actually one of the few supplements that has been show to consistently work in studies. The science behind creatine is fairly complex, but essentially it allows your body to go further during a workout and recover more quickly. This enables you to lift more, while building more muscle.
Other popular supplements include caffeine, NO2, and a host of others that offer athletes anything from increased energy levels to higher levels of focus and concentration. Most of these products have gone through little or no testing, so the ingredients, while listed on the packaging, can be of questionable quality.
Ephedren is a perfect example of supplement that was put on the market with very little research. Essentially it acts like caffeine by raising your metabolism. But because people would over-use it, the product became a serious issue. People were using it far too frequently in order to try take advantage of it’s fat burning properties. There were even several deaths associated with it’s use.
Unfortunately, regulation continues to be lax on supplements since they are not technically considered a food. And as result, these sorts of things will continue to happen. There’s just too much money involved for them not to.
And until that changes, there will continue to be problems and most likely fatalities caused by supplements.