Rolling Stone Takes on Sports Supplements

January 30, 2002

2 Min Read
<I>Rolling Stone</I> Takes on Sports Supplements

NEW YORK--Rolling Stone, known for its hip take on the music scene, took time out in its current 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, wrote the article for the Feb. 14 issue of Rolling Stone (, look under "Current Issue"). The article includes interviews with 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. One student, Brad Youwakim, recalled an event in 2000 after taking ephedra that he became dizzy and his heart started racing. "I'm telling you, ephedrine is evil s---," he said. "I was like, how can they even sell this stuff legally?"

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, the ability of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate dietary supplements was questioned, because of the "audacious act of Congress" that made the products "cheap, legal and available."

After reviewing the 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."

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