Creatine And Ephedrine Essay, Research Paper
Bill Romanowski, Shannon Sharpe, Mark McGwire, are just a few of the professional athletes that use and endorse fitness supplements such as Androstendione, Creatine, and other products. Every on camera interview that you see Shannon Sharpe he is wearing an EAS mock turtleneck. EAS is one of the leading manufacturers of Creatine and other supplements. The hottest supplement in Hollywood is Ephedrine; an herbal based drug designed to increase fat loss. Why do so many athletes use supplements? Who is using the supplements? How can I get supplements? Those are a few of the questions I have tried to answer in this report.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to educate. To educate not only the athletes using the supplements such as Creatine and Ephedrine but to also educate the governing bodies of collegiate sports. Answers were sought to the following questions:
1. Who is using Creatine and/or Ephedrine based products?
2. Why are they using supplements?
3. Are these products easily available?
4. Should the NCAA increase regulations on supplemental usage?
Methods and procedures used
To formulate this report I used primary and secondary research methods. I used the Internet as a focal point for my research. There were many sites devoted strictly to supplement usage and education on subjects related to the supplements, Creatine and Ephedrine. I also used muscle magazines and books for research. For primary research I gave forty questionnaires (see appendix 2) to twenty women and twenty men from Husson College.
Background on Creatine
What is Creatine
When I think of Creatine I don’t think of a body building supplement I think of an aid to recuperation. Like an aspirin you take if you have a headache, an athlete takes Creatine if they have chronic sore muscles from continuously working out. Creatine is a compound that can be made in our body. It is taken as a strength supplement. The chemical name for Creatine is methyl guanidine-acetic acid. The organ that produces the bodies Creatine is the liver. According to Absolute-Creatine.com the amount of natural Creatine in the body can be increased or decreased depending on our diet. How much Creatine do we have in our body? A 160-pound person would have approximately 120 grams of Creatine stored in their body (The Beg…). The reason Creatine is such a hot commodity is because 95-98% of the Creatine in our body is stored in our muscles.
What Creatine Does
According to Absolute-Creatine.com there are four known jobs for Creatine. (1) Provide additional energy for your muscles. This is the biggest reason athletes/weightlifters use Creatine. By using Creatine for additional energy for the muscles you are able to recover quicker from a strenuous workout or a tough game. (2) Volumization of Muscles. Studies have shown that Creatine pulls water into the muscles cells increasing the size of the muscle. (3) Buffer for Lactic Acid build-up. Lactic Acid gives that burning feeling in your muscles while you work out. Creatine keeps the Lactic Acid out of the muscles for a longer time allowing the user to lift more, thus increasing size and strength in the long run. (4) Enhances Protein Synthesis. The more protein synthesis there is the more muscle mass the user will attain (The Beg…). Creatine is used by most for the first benefit, providing additional energy for your muscles. For example if I don’t take Creatine and I go to the gym and I go through my normal workout, I will be sore the next day and not be able to lift as much. However, with the use of Creatine I will either not be sore or not as sore the next day, allowing me to lift more and increase my muscle mass.
Creatine is the best selling sports supplement of all time. In 1998 alone over two hundred million dollars worth of Creatine based supplements were sold. According to Absolute Creatine.com a supplement becomes very popular for one of three reasons. (1) The supplement industry did a great job marketing the product. (2) The supplement actually delivers benefits to athletes. (3) A combination of the first two, good marketing and benefits. Absolute Creatine believes that the third reason best describes Creatine (Creatine as…). I would also add word of mouth to those reasons. A gym is a very sociable area. Athletes are always looking for that edge to get them to the next level. In 1998 you could not go into a gym without someone in that gym being on Creatine. I know about ten people in my graduating High School class of 1999 that were using Creatine.
Creatine Use at Husson
In 1998 when Creatine was by far the largest supplement in the United States everybody who was using it was taking pure Creatine. Now with Creatine Technology getting better, Cell-tech, which is marketed as “An advanced Creatine Formula!” is the new fad. Out of the forty Husson students that answered my questionnaire, fourteen said that they had used Creatine or a Creatine based supplement. Thirteen of those who have used Creatine were men. I had presumed that more men would have used Creatine because those who use Creatine want to bulk up more than take weight off most women want to take weight off and get tone. Men want to put weight on and get “ripped”.
We know that there is Creatine use at Husson, now we must look at why there is Creatine use at Husson and should it be regulated. The reasons for Creatine use at Husson are clear. Husson has a rich tradition of quality athletics and thus the pressure of performing is greater than other small colleges throughout Maine. Also, because of the climate the regular seasons for many sports are squeezed into a short amount of time. For example the Husson baseball team plays their whole season from April 6th to April 28th. That’s ten games squeezed into three weeks. Furthermore, they play back to back games four times. By using Creatine the players will be able to bounce back quicker from injuries and soreness caused by continuous stress on muscles.
Another reason that Creatine is being used is that many players at Husson still have dreams of making it to professional status. It has been said that if you’re not on Creatine then your not serious about taking your game to the next level. I wouldn’t take it that far, for one reason, the risks involved with taking Creatine. Natural Creatine is produced in the Kidneys. Questions have been raised about Creatine possibly damaging the Kidney’s if it is used for an extended period of time. Absolute Creatine raises a good point, anything can become dangerous if it is used for long periods of time and or abused. For example Vitamin C can have harmful effects if you take too much of it. (Absolute)
Creatine is not currently on the banned substance list. But, should an athlete die of dehydration due to Creatine or the FDA finds that there are long term effects to using Creatine I think that the NCAA will have to put it on the banned substance list for fear of liability, not because it gives the player an unfair advantage.
Background of Ephedrine
Ephedrine is one of if not the hottest over the counter drug on the market today. Ephedrine is also known as Ephedra, and Ma Huang, which is the source of Ephedrine. According to Tom Venuto of Atozfitness.com Ephedrine is a bronchodilator and a potent stimulant when combined with caffeine or aspirin the effects are amplified. Ephedrine has been proven to reduce appetite, spare lean body mass, increase fat burning and increase metabolism through a process called thermogenesis (Venuto). That is music to athlete’s ears. Ephedrine is one of the most common weight loss supplements used by Hollywood actors and actresses. It is also at the center of a controversy concerning an all-pro offensive Lineman for the Minnesota Vikings who passed away in August 2001. Xenadrine is the most common Ephedrine based supplement and is its pill form.
There are many side effects listed on the side of a Xenadrine bottle there are many side effects listed. They include increased blood pressure, jitteriness, insomnia, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, nervousness, irritability, and dry mouth. However, according to Venuto Ephedrine has an outstanding track record when compared to other over the counter drugs such as aspirin, sleep aids and acetaminophen. Most health problems caused by Ephedrine are a result of taking massive doses or people with pre-existing health took them problems (Colker, 218). What none of the websites or even the bottles of Xenadrine told me was that when you first take it for approximately the first four days you will sweat profusely. The reason that I think this is because your body needs time to regulate itself and attempt to reach homeostasis after increasing your heart rate and blood pressure the user will naturally give off heat hence massive amounts of sweating.
How to take Ephedrine
There is three reasons why people take ephedrine. (1) As a pre-workout stimulant. (2) As a weight loss supplement. (3) A combination of workout stimulant, and weight loss supplement. If you were going to take Xenadrine as a workout stimulant, it would be most effective if the users takes two capsules thirty minutes before the workout. By doing so you increase what you are able to lift thus increasing strength over an extended period of time. If you were to take the Ephedrine based product Xenadrine to lose weight then the recommended dosage is two capsules twice a day.
Ephedrine Legal Issues
The NFL and the NCAA are the two organizations that have banned the use of Ephedrine. However, no substantiated statistics have been published that show that Ephedrine is a harmful supplement. Muscle Development Magazine says, “There have been no death or heart related problems due to ephedra supplements.”(Venuto) The NFL was the first to ban Ephedrine and the NCAA simply followed suit. The FDA has yet to rule on the Ephedrine and how safe it is. Until then I don’t feel that the NCAA or the NFL have any viable statistics to rule on this matter.
Korey Stringer Controversy
Korey Stringer was a three hundred-pound offensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings Football team. He was one of the ten best at his position. But, on July 31 he collapsed and was later declared dead at Mankato Hospital. On July 31 Stringer and a number of other teammates practiced in temperatures in the low 90’s. The cause of death was at the time declared as heat stroke. But, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported on ESPN.com that on the morning of July 31 Stringer might have taken a dietary supplement with ingredients that can increase heart rate and blood pressure and contribute to dehydration. The dietary supplement in question is Ripped Fuel, which contains Ma Huang. The Minnesota Vikings and Korey Stringers agent and his wife have since denied this report and Stringers wife has filed a 100 million lawsuit against the Vikings for holding the practice (Vikings). Whether or not Ephedra had anything to do with the fate of Korey Stringer this story should warrant much consideration from the Food and Drug Administration.
Ephedrine use at Husson
There is no doubt in my mind that students at Husson are using Ephedra at an increasing rate. Of the twelve people on my floor three use a supplement containing either Ephedra or Ma Huang. Also of the forty Husson students that I surveyed twelve have used an Ephedra based product. Nine of those were men and three of those were women. Ephedrine and namely Xenadrine have just begun to enter the consciousness of weight lifters and athletes wanting to shed pounds to make there weight. I have no doubt in my mind that Ephedra use will rise. Also of the forty that I surveyed only fourteen knew that Ephedrine was a banned substance by the NCAA and of the twelve who admitted using Ephedrine eight didn’t know that Ephedrine was banned by the NCAA.
Conclusions and Comments
I feel that the use of Creatine and Ephedrine based products should be allowed by the NCAA and the ban on Ephedrine based supplements should be lifted. As long as there is no evidence of Creatine being harmful to the body in a long-term environment then Creatine will not be banned by the NCAA. I don’t understand how the NCAA decides what substances are O.K. and which are not. It is know that Ephedrine increases heart rate, blood pressure and insomnia. The same could be said for Coffee, which many players drink before games to become wired. Furthermore, I was never presented with any information on the banned substances. Yes, I signed a contracted stating I would not take any substances banned by the NCAA but I did not receive a list of substances. I think that the NCAA should require Colleges and Universities to either pass out information to all Student-athletes or have a mandatory assembly of all student-athletes to discuss what the ban substances are and what the consequences are.
I feel that the FDA should implement these following regulations and the NCAA could put pressure on the FDA to get them approved:
1. Provide the FDA phone number on all Ephedra based products.
2. Limit the sale of Ephedrine to adults over the age of 18(currently is 17).
3. Ephedrine based products should have labeling telling athletes in the NCAA that it is banned by the NCAA.
Bechman, Steve and Fahey, Thomas. “NFL Bans Ephedra: What a Joke!” Muscle Development Dec. 2001: 70
Colker, Carlon. “Xenadrine: Clinically Tested Fat Burner!” Muscle Development. Dec. 2001: 218-219
Creatine As a Sports Supplement. 14 Nov. 2001 http://www.absolute-creatine.com/1.htm
The Beginners Guide to Creatine. 14 Nov. 2001 http://www.absolute-creatine.com/1.htm
Venuto, Tom. Xenadrine and weight loss. 14 Nov 2001
Vikings official, agent deny Stringer report. 3 Nov 2001