limitations on supplements

March 8, 2010
Limitations on Supplements

Ever since congress created the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994, which made easier for the supplements to get market approval, there has been concern about the differences between a muscle enhancing supplement (like creatine and androstenedione) and an anabolic steroid. There are many people who believe that the muscle enhancing supplements are similar; if not more potent than steroids. There are also thoughts that these supplements are really drugs that mask steroids so that they can’t be detected by drug tests. It has been stated that these supplements are really dangerous, damaging, and the effects of these supplements are unknown. There should be limitations on how much of an enhancement it gives to the body and more testing on these supplements to know what secondary effects it has in the body and what causes them. Some of these secondary effects could resemble those of steroids, like higher levels of testosterone. Most of the time these supplements aren’t even approved by the FDA, (US Food and Drug Administration) which because of the act of 1994 has less power and more of these supplement could be on the market without their approval.
On the opposing side there have been people who have stated that the supplements are just like vitamins, which help the body and strengthen it by building muscle. These people say that there is no need to test the supplements any further, because they are not harmful and beneficiary to the body. They also say that if there truly are secondary effects it is because these people are taking too much of the muscle enhancing supplements and aren’t taking them in moderation.
The United States is one of the few countries that consider muscle enhancing supplements as legal substances and also sell it over the counter. In many countries these supplements like androstenedione and creatine are seen as control substances. These supplements produce large amounts of testosterone, which aids growth of muscle and bones. We are probably familiar with seeing creatine sold in stores like GNC and other natural nutrition/ vitamin stores. There has been a growing amount of high school athletes that are using similar supplements and in the eyes of some; the athletes are being seen as cheaters. There are many high school football players that have been using these supplements as an edge and this is where their ethics are being tested. Is it fair for the other players and the other teams, that these athletes are enhancing their performances? Many parents believe that this is just like taking steroids and giving those players an advantage.
We have also heard that major athletes like Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire (after a few years McGwire stated he also used steroids), two major league baseball players have stated that they have taken these performance enhancing substances. This has the public thinking that these athletes are sending a confusing message to young athletes. They shouldn’t promote the use of these substances, because some kids might use the substance. Although the supplements are normally tested they are mostly intended for adults to use, since their body can handle some of the effects of the substance (although there could be secondary effects that could later take effect). It has been proven that the performance enhancing substances are like steroids if used by children and very damaging to their bodies. There has to be laws that will help advertise on television, that kids shouldn’t use these supplements.
We have to start talking to our representatives and persuading them to pass laws that would limit the amount of muscular enhancing, supplements give to the body. If these laws can be passed, then these supplements won’t give athletes too much of an advantage over non-supplement users. It is necessary that laws to test these supplements and find out what they could cause in the long run. By passing laws to test these supplements we can be sure that supplements are safe and won’t harm our bodies when we use them. Also by showing kids that these supplements may cause harm to them and to their athletic heroes, they will stick to the “practice makes perfect” technique which in many eyes, is ethically correct.





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