Dietary Supplements Essay, Research Paper
Dietary supplements: Beneficial or Hazardous?
On any given day, a student athlete could walk into a trainers or coaches office holding up a bottle and ask Hey coach, does this stuff work? This young athlete, playing three sports a year, is referring to the dietary supplement called creatine. This, and many more products, are becoming more and more popular these days among high school student-athletes. These young men and, quite possibly young women, are using this supplement without realizing the possible benefits and hazards that follow in consuming such products.
Most students who take creatine, do so in hopes of improving athletic performance, increasing overall body and muscle mass, and improving endurance and body building. While thoughts of taking dietary supplements may seem only beneficial, the aftermath of these products may be very risky. There are no definite risks and effectiveness of creatine and other products remain unproven.
Creatine is not an herb, vitamin, or hormone. It is a natural nutrient found in our bodies and the bodies of most animals. Approximately ninety five percent of the bodies creatine supply is found in the skeletal muscles. The remaining five percent is found scattered throughout the body with main focuses in the heart, brain, and testes. The human body gets most of the creatine it needs from food or dietary supplements. Creatine is easily absorbed by the intestinal tract into the bloodstream. When dietary consumption is inadequate to meet the bodies needs, a limited supply can be synthesized from the amino acids arginine glycine, and methionine. This creatine production occurs in the liver pancreas and kidneys. Creatine is a naturally produced substance in the body, produced by the liver. Joined by the kidney s and the pancreas, they play a role in muscle contraction. When taken as a supplement, creatine can cause water retention and cramping. Many cases have been reported that young students have died because of kidney failure and heart attacks caused by the usage of creatine. Creatine supplementation has been shown to enhance the ability to maintain power output during repeated periods of high intensity exercise. Athletes in virtually every sport have reported improved athletic performance. For instance, greater home run production by baseball players, increased strength and power by football players, faster times by sprinters, and longer lasting energy with basketball players. When used properly, most athletes will experience a significant increase in strength and power. But, who is to say that every athlete will use creatine properly and the affects on someone who does not? Creatine supplementation and other muscle building products can help an athlete train for a longer period of time. Therefore, increased intensity of muscle training will generate faster muscle growth and strength. In a study conducted at the Texas Southwestern Medical Center, creatine supplementation and maximum strength was measured in experienced athletes who consumed twenty grams of creatine over a period of twenty eight days. After the study, the average increase in bench press weight was eighteen pounds. Maximum repetitions increased from eleven to fifteen. The subjects in this study also increased lean body mass three and a half pounds over the twenty eight day period.
Many people and medical doctors still ask if creatine supplementation is safe and if there are side effects. There have been no indications of adverse side effects from long term usage in existing creatine literature. Currently, long term studies are underway to determine and measure the long term effects of creatine usage. Until these studies are completed, excessive creatine supplementation should not be medically possible. However, the question still remains undergoing muscle cramping. There has been a great deal of attention to the issue of muscle cramps and the use of creatine. It has been proposed to athletes and trainers that there may be an existence of the association of creatine supplementation and the increased incidences of muscle cramps. To date, research has not shown a direct relationship between pure creatine monohydrate and muscle cramping. The main cause for muscle cramps is the imbalance of the electrolytes, calcium and magnesium in the blood or the muscle tissue stemming from insufficient fluid intake. Thus, creatine monohydrate users should only use creatine monohydrate free from impurities, while also consuming a minimum of two liters of water a day up to as much as five liters a day, depending on the duration and intensity of daily exercise. It is possible to prevent muscle cramping by consuming efficient amounts of fluids and isotonic electrolytes prior to, during, and after exercising. A balanced diet will also contribute trace elements, vitamins, and minerals which are key to efficient metabolism and electrolyte balance. The bottom line is that lack of sufficient fluid intake and/ or nutritional deficiencies, not creatine, will cause cramping if taken in reasonable doses.
Other products int eh same family and of the same danger of creatine are anabolic steroids, androstenedione, more commonly referred to as andro , nandrolone, pyruvate, and norandrostenedione, which cases have actually shown up in drug tests in athletes bodies who have come up positive in random testing. These, and many more products associated with creatine are far more medically dangerous and should be treated with far more care. Even yet, dietary supplements in general, like any other thing we put into our bodies, if used wrong can be dangerous and sometimes fatal. When taking such products, keep in mind the affects and dangers associated with them and be sure to use them wisely and in adequate and safe amounts.