Rolling Stone Takes on Sports Supplements
NEW YORK--Rolling Stone, known for its hip take on the music scene, took time out in its Feb. 14 issue to examine "Killer Bods" and the sports supplements behind them. "The sports-supplement industry sells steroid substitutes and herbal speed to millions of teens," wrote author Paul Solotaroff. "It's all legal, but is it safe?"
Solotaroff, who noted he used anabolic steroids in his college days to bulk up, interviewed a number of boys and their parents, discussing their use of sports supplements such as andro, creatine, ephedra and protein powder. Solotaroff noted the products are "fixtures in a new teenage drug subculture: the world of legal steroid substitutes and speed." The boys interviewed discussed the stellar benefits of the andro and creatine, while cautioning their peers on the use of ephedra.
The legality of supplement sales was briefly addressed in the main article, with a quote from Kim Smith, the National Nutritional Foods Association's (NNFA) legislative director, about the ability of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove products from the shelf if they present an unreasonable risk of injury. However, FDA's ability to regulate dietary supplements was questioned, because of
the "audacious act of Congress" that made the products "cheap, legal and available."
Included in the article was a sidebar discussing DSHEA's (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act) role in sports supplements, and it begins with "How an expensive lobbying effort closed down the FDA's [Food and Drug Administration] attempt to regulate supplements like drugs." Solotaroff went on to say how FDA was put into a quandary by Congress: to have the power to regulate supplements but without the aid of manpower or funding. However, Rolling Stone did quote John Cordaro, president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), as saying, "We think that DSHEA is a good, strong law, and that the public is well-protected by it. What we could use, frankly, is stronger enforcement of the law, cracking down, for instance, on products without warning labels and taking action against fly-by-night companies."
After reviewing the entire article, Smith told INSIDER that it was written to its target audience for an apparent sensational effect. "This is a complex issue," she said. "NNFA and manufacturers are labeling products not for use by minors, and we've never opposed reasonable age restrictions on use."