Consumer Reports Investigates Teens and Sports Supplements
YONKERS, N.Y.--In the June issue of Consumer Reports (CR), a three-page article entitled Sports Supplement Dangers highlights the use of androstenedione (andro), creatine and ephedra in the vulnerable under-18 crowd. According to CR, people using these supplements are conducting what amounts to a vast, uncontrolled clinical experiment on themselves with untested, largely unregulated medications. The magazine added that although there are a few good scientific studies on these supplements, the results from these studies were not substantive enough to warrant the risks involved with each supplement.
In an overview of these three supplements, CR supported the crux of its article by citing the 1999 Blue Cross and Blue Shield national survey that reported six percent of 15- to 16-year-olds and eight percent of 17- and 18-year-olds have taken sports supplements, and that the majority of users were males.
The article pinpointed andro and ephedra as the most dangerous of the three supplements, stating that andro may increase estrogen levels, possibly leading to premature puberty and male-pattern baldness. CR has previously testified before Congress about the dangers of ephedra. Creatine, the magazine noted, may exacerbate existing kidney problems. However, it cited that even though some studies have found the supplement to enhance quick bursts of strength, it does not seem to improve endurance.
CR also listed a few products that were specifically targeted to teens, including Los Angeles-based Muscle Marketing USAs Teen Advantage Creatine Serum, which notes: Specifically formulated for teens from ages 11 to 19. The article was skeptical about the research, efficacy and safety behind the product, but there was no response from Muscle Marketing. When reached for comment by The Insider, the companys president, Amir Zeibak, J.D., stated that this formulation offers only 2.5 grams of creatine per serving and does not have a loading phase of 20 g for five days. The larger dose would be unsafe for teens, who want to mimic what adults are doing, according to Zeibak. We have so many teens using the powdered creatine, he said. By offering our teen formula, this is the safest one out there for teens.
Zeibak added that when Consumer Reports called the company, he told the reporter that teens should have professional guidance when choosing a supplement; the comment was not included in the story.