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Health Information For Teens
Sports supplements are pills, powders, or drinks used to build muscle, lose weight, or improve endurance.
Most sports supplement claim to help athletes in some way. But research shows that only a few supplements have proven benefits for athletes.
It’s hard to know if sports supplements are safe because:
If you’re considering taking a sports supplement, talk to your doctor first.
Sports supplements are considered dietary supplements. Dietary supplements are products taken by mouth to support the diet. Dietary supplements do not need U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval before they are sold. Companies that make supplements are supposed to follow the FDA’s current good manufacturing practices to ensure quality and safety of their product. But this doesn’t always happen and some supplements may contain drugs or additives not listed on the label.
If there is a problem with a supplement, the FDA will investigate it.
Many sports supplements are available. Common ones include:
Creatine (pronounced: KREE-eh-teen) is a substance made in the body. It is involved in making energy for muscle contractions.
Man-made creatine is sold as a powder or pill and in energy bars and drink mixes. Studies show that it can help athletes who do sports that have short bursts of intense exercise with short recovery times (such as sprinting and powerlifting).
Even though creatine may have benefits, it can cause side effects such as:
Few studies have looked at the long-term safety of creatine use by teens. Some research shows that it can harm the kidneys. Doctors usually recommend it be used only by athletes over 18 years old.
Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, help build muscle. Amino acids used as supplements include glutathione, cysteine, arginine, leucine, glutamine, and citrulline. They’re usually sold as a pill or powder.
Ads for amino acid supplements say they improve endurance, lower protein breakdown, and reduce soreness from exercise. But most studies do not show benefits to taking amino acid supplements.
Some amino acid supplements may cause serious side effects. There aren’t enough long-term studies to know if amino acid supplements are safe for teens.
Most protein supplements are made of the proteins casein and whey. The supplements usually come as powders that can be mixed with water, milk, milk substitute, or other liquid.
Protein supplements are often advertised as a way to build muscle. But most people get all the protein they need in their diet.
A protein supplement may help someone who doesn’t get enough protein in their diet. This can happen:
In general, protein supplements do not seem to cause serious side effects. In high doses, they can cause:
As with other supplements, long-term studies in teens haven’t been done. Most doctors agree that it is best for teens to get their protein from their diet.
There is some evidence that caffeine can boost sports performance. Caffeine is in many products, including energy drinks, soda, energy chews, and pills.
Side effects vary from person to person but can include:
The long-term effects of caffeine on teens aren’t known, so it’s best to avoid it.
To get the most out of athletic training without using sports supplements:
It is important to remember that many of the claims that sports supplement companies make are not proven. The company’s goal is to sell more supplements, and their claims can be misleading. If you’re considering starting a sports supplement, be sure to talk to your doctor first.
For more information on sports supplements, visit:
This site has tips on things like preparing for a new season, handling sports pressure, staying motivated, and dealing with injuries.
Many people think of guys as being carefree when it comes to appearance. But guys spend plenty of time in front of the mirror. And some worry just as much as girls do about their looks.
Compulsive exercise can lead to serious health problems. Lots of people don’t know when they’ve crossed the line from healthy activity to unhealthy addiction. Read about ways to tell.
Is working out with weights safe for teens? The best way to build muscle tone and definition is to combine aerobic and flexibility exercises with the right kind of strength training.
Visit our nutrition and fitness center for teens to get information and advice on food, exercise, and sports.
Will using steroids transform you into the most powerful athlete your coach has ever seen? Read this article to learn the facts on steroid use.
Playing hard doesn’t have to mean getting hurt. The best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe from the start. Find out how.
You’ve prepared for the game in almost every way possible: but now what should you eat? Read about performance foods, nutritional supplements, and more.
Winning is all that matters when you play sports, right? Not when that means you can’t even enjoy the game. Read about how to handle sports pressure and competition.
How can you get ready to play your best season ever? Read these tips for teen athletes.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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