Supplements: What Are The Risks?
MN, 7 June 2002
recent days, news of steroid use by professional baseball players
made headlines across the country and around the world. The Fitness
and Sports Medicine Center at MayoClinic.com offers insight into
performance-enhancing products, both drugs and supplements: how
they work, how they affect the body and the dangers they pose to
a user's overall health. Visit www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=SM00038,
or go to their home page and click on Healthy Living Center.
to enhance performance are nothing new in competitive sports. Hundreds
of years ago athletes ate special meals of meat and honey in preparation
for important events. For some athletes today, vitamins, supplements
such as creatine, and even illegal drugs are as much a part of their
diet as fruits and grains. Some products do little to improve performance,
while others help athletes achieve remarkable results. Some carry
the risk of major side effects such as heart and liver damage, endocrine-system
imbalance, elevated cholesterol levels, strokes, heightened aggression
and genitalia dysfunction.
and supplements -- what's allowed? The terms banned drug
and banned substance refer to chemicals that are prohibited
for use during athletic training and competition. Your body naturally
produces some of these compounds, such as testosterone and growth
hormone, in small amounts. Other compounds, including some anabolic
steroids, are created only in the lab. MayoClinic.com provides a
detailed account of these substances, effects and side effects and
the varying rules of national athletic organizations about performance-enhancing
make things complicated, different sport organizations ban different
substances, if they ban anything at all. For example, Major League
Baseball has not banned such performance-enhancing substances as
androstenedione or steroids. When Mark McGwire used the supplement
androstenedione when he set a home run record in 1998, he received
no penalty, even though the human body rapidly converts this compound
to testosterone, which builds muscle mass. The International Olympic
Committee (IOC), National Football League (NFL), National Basketball
Association (NBA) and National Collegiate Athletic Association all
prohibit use of androstenedione. The NFL, NBA and IOC prohibit steroids
and test for them. The National Hockey League and Major League Baseball
have no policy regarding steroid use.
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