Winning isn’t everything-it’s the only thing! Many athletes believe that although winning is the pinnacle of success in their sport, anything less than that his failure. This album look often leave individuals to make choices about sports supplementation, nutritional intake or workout schedules which are damaging to them in the long term but which may help them achieve their short-term goals.
With this data to, manufacturers are taking advantage and producing large numbers of nutritional supplements and sports supplements designed to enhance the performance of individuals. Some of these nutritional supplements are healthy and good for the individual while others contain products which have been banned from the market or which are mislabeled. For instance, the FDA recently warned Americans Cellular Laboratories to take eight different supplements off the market because they contained mislabeled and misbranded anabolic steroids.
Another sports supplement which is becoming more popular with athletes from teens to adults is creatine. Creatine is a natural occurring source of energy manufactured by the liver, kidneys and found in meat and fish. The body uses for energy in muscle contraction. Most of the creatine in the body is stored in the skeletal muscle and use during physical activity. The rest of the stored creatine is used in the heart, brain and other tissues.
Creatine was introduced to the market in 1993 and interests first spiked in the months following the 1992 Summer Olympics. During those games a number of athletes out perform to their competitors and later reported that they had used creatine supplements to augment their training regimen. The supplement actually comes in several different forms which can be stirred into a liquid drink or chewed in an energy bar or creatine chew.
Some people believe that using creatine supplementation with training will improve performance by providing quick bursts of intense energy. However, researchers have found that one third of all athletes tested with creatine showed no improvement in performance.
The use of creatine supplement is widespread and researchers and physicians are expecting its views to rise. Most of the individuals who use these supplements are male, athletes in power sports (such as football, wrestling and hockey) and its college, high school and middle school athletes. In a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics researchers found that students between the ages of 10 to 18 more likely teeth have used creatine. 44% of high school senior athletes admitted having use the supplement while only 5.6% of the study participants younger than senior year admitted to using it.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association found that an estimated one million children ages 12 to 17 years of age had previously taken performance-enhancing sports supplements.
Side effects of using creatine include weight gain because of water retention and the bodies muscle system as well as muscle cramping, dehydration, diarrhea, nausea and seizure activity. Physicians have found that it is dangerous to take creatine supplementation while becoming dehydrated (for wrestling competition or bodybuilding competition) or when trying to lose weight. The long-term effects on important organ systems such as the heart, brain, kidneys and liver are not known. At this time there are clinical studies under way to evaluate the long-term effects on the treatment of diseases which cause the muscles to shrink and fail, such as heart failure, muscular and neuromuscular diseases and stroke.
While there appears to be some potential for using creatine supplementation to enhance athletic performance many questions still remain. Researchers and scientists are on sure if there are any long-term harmful effects from the supplement on the liver, kidneys, brain and heart. Research is now underway looking at performance levels from long-term supplement use as well as the best way in which to use creatine. What happens when an individual immediately stops taking the supplement and is the performance enhancement enough to warrant the expense and use of the supplement. These are all questions which must be answered through years of research and clinical trials.
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