Teens and Muscle-Building Supplements

Muscle-building dietary supplement access and misinformation may be common for teens

(RxWiki News) Although muscle-building supplements are not recommended in teenagers younger than 18, teens may have easy access to them, a new study found.

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend creatine and testosterone boosters in young teens. However, past research suggests that young teenage boys often take supplements in an effort to increase their muscle mass. These supplements are often found in health food stores and may include protein supplements, steroids and other muscle-enhancing substances.

The researchers behind this study wanted to find out whether health food stores would actually recommend and sell supplements like testosterone and creatine to young teens.

Research personnel pretended to be a 15-year-old boy and called over 240 health food stores throughout the nation. The researchers asked for recommendations and particularly about testosterone boosters or creatine if not mentioned at first. They also asked whether a 15-year-old could buy these products.

More than 67 percent of sales representatives recommended creatine, with almost 39 percent doing so without prompting from the caller.

Nearly 10 percent of sales representatives recommended a testosterone booster, this study found.

More than 74 percent of sales representatives stated creatine could be purchased, and about 41 percent stated a testosterone booster could be purchased by a 15-year-old.

Although there is limited data on the use of creatine in young boys, some data has suggested creatine can affect the liver and kidneys and may cause dehydration and muscle cramps, among other problems.

Speak to your child’s pediatrician about safe and healthy ways to improve athletic performance rather than using these substances. 

This study was recently published in the journal Pediatrics.

The authors behind this study disclosed no external funding sources or conflicts of interest.