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U.S. Study: Teen Boys Access to Supplements

January 5, 2017

A recent U.S. study suggests that health food store employees often recommend supplements like testosterone and creatine to teen boys even though the products pose serious health risks.  Health risks from creatine include liver damage, kidney damage, dehydration, and muscle cramps. Risks associated with testosterone are liver and kidney impairment, along with the halting of bone growth.


Researchers found that 1 in five male high school athletes try muscle-building products.  For the study, researchers posed as 15 year-old boys and called 244 health food stores to ask questions. Their first question was what they should buy to bulk up. Surprisingly, 67 percent of the store employees recommended creatine and 10 percent suggested testosterone. Researchers followed up with many more questions, but one particular response caught their attention. When asking if they could purchase the supplements on their own if they came into the store, 74 percent of the workers said they could come in and buy creatine buy themselves. 23 percent of employees said they would have to be at least 18 years old to purchase the product. As for testosterone, 41 percent of store employees said they could purchase it, and 56 percent said they would have to be at least 18 years old.


"Just because something is sold in a health food store does not make it good for kids," said lead study author Dr Ruth Milanaik, of Northwell Health and Cohen Children's Medical Center of New Hyde Park, New York.  Dr. Milanaik added, "parents and teens must learn to read warning labels placed on products in order to fully understand what they are putting into their bodies."


The researchers concluded, "the findings suggest that pediatricians need to educate parents and teens about safe ways to improve athletic performance and the risks of supplements like creatine and testosterone."


Story from FoxNews.com by Reuters

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