The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JULY  2003

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







The Magic Pill

When I was in high school it was called the needle wand.  Today the needles are still here but there is a new fad raging across America's high schools.  Dietary supplements are the hot items on the shelves of every GNC store nationwide.

Unlike steroids, these dietary supplements are legal.  They fall under the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) which states that products derived from herbs and natural sources are to be classified as food and not drugs.  This skates around the issue of a long and expensive FDA approval.

In the last two elections dietary supplement manufacturers have contributed over $3.3 million to candidates and political parties.  Senator Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) disagrees with the view that most have taken, that it shields the supplement industry from government inquiries.  Is it a surprise that Hatch was the one who drafted DSHEA and was the largest congressional recipient ($41,750) during the 2000 election?

These dietary supplements are not to be confused with the OTC drugs such as Centrum and One a Day.  Those are primarily taken for lost deposits of vitamins and nutrients, not to lose weight or increase muscle mass.

by Jerry Keys

There is very little short-term and no long term research available on theses dietary supplements.  "Basically, anyone who uses these products is a human lab rat," says Dr. Arthur Grollman, a professor of pharmacological sciences and medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Legal over the counter pills or powders that no one knows the side

effects and long term effects of.  Steroids have long since been banned but these are not.  "It used to be that if you wanted performance enhancement, you'd have to go to the muscle-bound guy at the gym who was selling steroids," states Mike Perko, an associate professor of Health and Applied Human Sciences at UNC Wilmington.  "Now you can go to the grocery store or to a GNC and get your supplements."

A study done by Blue Cross Blue Shield's Healthy Competition Foundation in 2001 showed that about one million kids had used supplements.  And by the continually rising profits taken in by these manufacturers, the numbers continue to rise dramatically.  Some supplements have labels stating "SALE TO MINORS IS PROHIBITED" even though there is no legal age restriction on purchasing them.

Supplement companies have begun to recruit college coaches to push their products.  SMU strength coach Chuck Faucette states that while at the University of Texas "if I can get free supplements for my kids [in exchange] for making a few appearances a year, that's really helping my budget."  This is a big help when the university had a $200,000 budget set aside for supplements.  Faucette went on to say that "everyone, and I mean everyone

takes supplements now.  When a recruit comes in, the first question I get is, "What kind of supplements can I take?"

Most young males use supplements to look like The Incredible Hulk while young females use it to maintain weight control.  There is a wide perception that to keep up with the others that are using and getting that extra boost, they have to use as well.

Ephedra is an extract of the Chinese plant ma huang and it stimulates cardiovascular and central nervous systems.  It is found in weight-loss, energy-boosting and bodybuilding products such as Stacker 2 and Metabolife 356.  Taking these may cause elevated blood pressure and when taken in excess dosage or by someone with certain medical conditions it can lead to

cardiac arrhythmia, heart attack, seizure or stroke. This product is banned by the NFL, NCAA and WADA which oversees Olympic drug testing.

Synephrine is an extract from orange peel and is used as a substitute for Ephedra.  These are found in the same products as Ephedra, Stacker 2 Ephedra Free and Metabolife Ephedra Free.  But it's pharmacological and toxic properties are similar to Ephedra.  It is banned by the NCAA but may cause an athlete to test positive for Ephedra in other sports.

Androstenedione and Androstenediol (commonly called andro) is a steroid

precursor that stimulates the body's production of testosterone.  The body converts andro into testosterone and is believed to increase lean muscle mass.  It is found in Andro 100 Poppers.  Andro is believed to have the same potential side effects as anabolic steroids; breast enlargement and testicular atrophy in men and breast shrinkage and deepened voice in women.  If taken by a teen, it may cause growth retardation.  It is banned by the NBA, NFL, NCAA and WADA.

Creatine is a natural compound created from three amino acids.  It is produced by the liver and kidneys and is used by the muscles and organs as energy sources.  It is found in supplements that are designed to increase muscle mass and build strength and endurance.  Popularly packaged as

Simply Creatine (powder) and Creatine Candy.  Use of Creatine can lead to dehydration, diarrhea, stomach cramps and muscle/ligament tears.  Creatine is not banned by any major governing body.
Human Growth Hormone Boosters (HGH) are chemically produced enhancers of HgH and is used to build strength.  HgH is a substance made by the pituitary gland for growth and cell repair.  It is found in Ultimate HGH and Secretagogu-One.  Potential risks include damaging of the heart and liver, overgrowth of jaw, forehead, hands and feet.  It may also cause diabetes.  It is banned by the NFL, NCAA and WADA.

Caffeine Boosters are stimulants and mild diuretic that cause a feeling of heightened alertness.  These can be found in an assortment or popular cola drinks, tea and coffee.  It is also found in chocolates.  These have a mildly addictive effects but can cause cardiac arrhythmia.  These boosters are banned by the NCAA and WADA (in amounts exceeding the equivalent of eight cups of coffee in a two-hour time frame).
The recent deaths of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Belcher, Northwestern safety Rashidi Wheeler and Minnesota Vikings tackle Korey Stringer were all related to the use of supplements.
In today's society there always seems to be an easy fix to being thin and muscular. My grandmother always told me that you get what you pay for.  And a quick fix is not a good thing to have.  Building muscles and losing weight at a slower rate not only helps your body adjust to it, it also shields you from numerous health risks.