Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Supplements linked to steroids.

It's been done quite often in the Main Stream Media, and now, College publications are echoing the same meme that supplements=steroids.

From Stefan Lovelace of the Penn State Collegian:

And unfortunately, steroids and illegal substances have spilled down from our professional leagues to the collegiate level. Many athletes take some sort of supplement while training to see improved results on the playing field. Penn State is no exception.

"It's a problem here, but it's a problem everywhere," said Dr. Kristine Clark, Director of Sports Nutrition for Penn State's athletic department, and an assistant professor of nutrition.


"If you took testosterone in low doses, you'll beat the test and still have a performance effect," Yesalis said. "In my opinion, the size of the college [football offensive and defensive] lines, which is underestimated, I can't explain.

"Look at the size of these linebackers that are ripped. Weightlifting doesn't explain it. These drugs are available, affordable, they work and you can circumvent the drug testing process.

"The change in the size of football players, if you take drugs out of the mix, you can't explain it."

According to Clark, within the last decade, the increase of supplements taken among collegiate athletes has risen exponentially. Supplements that have become popular among athletes include protein supplements and shakes, creatine supplements, sports drinks and bars, multi-vitamins, fish oil supplements and the most potentially harmful: dietary supplements.

You should take the time to read the entire article because it is really chock full of factual (and scientifically unproven) claims. The most disturbing part (to me) is that Mr. Lovelace made no attempt to interview or present an opposing side to the argument he was clearly making throughout the piece: steroids=drugs.

Would that nutritionists did a small amount of investigative research they would see that, in the bodybuilding community especially, the tenents of a healthy diet and exercise are considered the first step to a quality physique. Yes, there is steroid use in competative bodybuilding, at least on certain levels, but even the drug tested organizations realize the healthy benefits of smart supplementation taken free of illegal substances. What the nutritionists fail to understand is that most football players need extra macro-nutrients (such as protien) to compete at the high athletic levels that they are constantly performing at. They cannot achieve (or maintain) these levels on a normal Collegiate meal plan, not even an athletes meal plan. It cannot be done.

The answer to this problem is smart, drug-free supplementation, including dietary supplements (which are protien powder, carb drinks and MRP's despite the author trying to seperate them). Creatine has been proven safe, and effective for most young adults over 18 years of age. Protein powder is a safe supplement, as are NO2 supplements, Beta-alanine, glutemine and a host of other compounds including multi-vitamins, the basis for any sensible supplement plan.

The Nutritionists aregument that supplemental micro-nutrients (Vitamin C, A, B and other compounds found in a multi) are "safe" while supplemental macro-nutrients (protein, creatine etc.) are not is simply not based on solid research, for healthy adults over the age of 18, which most College athletes are.

Steroids are illegal in certain professional and most amateur professional sports and should be treated as such. But to equate supplements with illegal substances is a knee-jerk reaction that is not based on any solid scientific evidence and has no place in the debate over what is acceptable in sports.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The fight against Creatine marches on.

Creatine is the most studied, most effective and safest supplements available. Those facts aren't stopping certain groups from continuing the fight to remove it from the marketplace however...

Creatine is a popular supplement among high school athletes, particularly football players. They think it helps them get bigger and stronger.

Doctors who specialize in sports medicine warn that research is lacking into creatine's effects on children. Neither safety nor effectiveness in children has been scientifically proved, they said.

What's missing from the Doctors argument in this case is an adverse event history to hang their hat on. Since they don't have any hard evidence that creatine poses a threat, they are asking the supplement company to prove a negative:

As it stands, "there's essentially no research into these supplements, what they do for kids or how they harm kids," said Dr. Linn Goldberg of the Oregon Health & Science University.

With creatine that's a lie. There are volumes of studies on creatine, how it reacts to the body, and its efficacy in promoting muscle growth. Most have been favorable, and only a few showed side effects that could be termed: "moderate" (gastro-intestinal problems mostly that went away when the subject stopped supplementing).

The funding mechanisms for most of these "no-drug" groups is unclear, as several of them do not operate as non-profits and are not required to list their funding. Dr. Goldberg is a private citizen and has privacy protections prohibiting the general public from see the funding sources for the education programs, or if a material amount of Goldberg's income is derived from those same products. Those factors would, if proven true, have a great impact on Dr. Goldberg and Mr. Uryasz credibility on the matter.

There is not a unanimous front on this issue however:

Professor Richard Kreider, the director of the Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory at Baylor University, thinks creatine gets a bum rap from the medical profession.

"Because it's a very popular supplement, it gets lumped in with steroids and andro and all these other supplements that people are against," he said.

"You even see Blue Cross Blue Shield talking about the dangers of creatine. I think that's unfortunate. More than 1,000 studies have been done on creatine. If there's something hazardous to it, we would have seen it by now."

Several years ago, Kreider said, his study of college football players showed no harmful effects from creatine.

As for high-schoolers, "There's really no reason why somebody that's 16 or 17 years of age can't take creatine. There are no studies showing it's adverse to kids," Kreider said.

Basically, when science is applied, the arguments being made by Dr's and non-scientists begins to fall apart. It's important to note that the support is coming from University Scientists, and the attacks are coming from people with unrevealed motivations.

As the supplement industry increases in size and big Pharmeceutical companies continue to turn their attention to the weight-loss and fitness regions you can expect more articles such as this, and more "concerns" being aired without the evidenciary backup of scientific research. The same thing happened with ephedra, and its happening again with creatine.

Caffeine is next, and then they'll attack protein supplements.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Caffeine the next supplement in the crosshairs?

Not too far of a stretch if you believe the headlines in the media of late...

To get a good kick from caffeine, most people need only drink a 6-ounce cup of coffee, about 100 milligrams. But on a popular pro-drug Web site, a visitor reported taking seven No Doz tablets, or 1,400 milligrams of caffeine, and compared the effects to a bad trip on LSD.

Then, like many who get carried away with the world's most popular drug, the person wondered: "Can caffeine really do this?"

It can. And abuse of the legal stimulant is an emerging problem among young people, according to Northwestern University researchers, who recently analyzed three years' worth of cases reported to the Illinois Poison Center.

Symptoms include everything from nausea, vomiting and a racing heart to hallucinations, panic attacks, chest pains and trips to the emergency room.

In the study that was presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the researchers found more than 250 cases of medical complications from ingesting caffeine supplements. Twelve percent of those cases required hospitalization, including in the intensive-care unit. The average age of the caffeine abusers was 21.

"Part of the problem is that people do not think of caffeine as a drug but rather as a food product," said study author Danielle McCarthy.

The move to purge the market of caffeine supplements surely will be the next step. If you don't think there's a problem out there, consider this statement:

The problem, said Michael Wahl, managing medical director for the Illinois Poison Center, is not necessarily in the caffeine but in the dose.

"Everything is a poison, including water, if you have too much," he said. "Caffeine is a stimulant that releases your internal catecholamines [compounds that can serve as hormones] that make you anxious, jittery and create the fight-or-flight response. When the heart beats too fast, bad things happen. It's an emerging trend to keep an eye on and see if it's getting worse."

The problem (as with Ehpedra) lies not with the educated population who are using supplements safely and effectively, but with a small group of abusers who are threatening to ruin the availability of caffeine for everyone. The Government, in its wisdom, seems to think that the best way to cure the patient of cancer is to chop off its head, instead of trying to attack the turmor.

As with any segment of society, the tumor ruins it for the rest of the body and can ultimately lead to the regulation and control of caffeine from the general populace. Right now such a move would cause a severe backlash as caffeine laced coffees and teas have become the liquid du jour for the "hip" set, and there is big money in caffeinated drink sales to be had by some BIG money industries.

And if you don't think an outright elimination of caffeine is the ultimate goal, here's your smoking gun:

"There is a trend in the pro-drug culture toward promoting legal alternatives to illegal drugs, and it can be very harmful," McCarthy said.

We're rapidly nearing the point in America where only food and drink from "approved" Government vendors (large multinational Oligopolies)who process the nutrients out of sub-standard gruel and add artificial flavors and textures designed to taste almost exactly, entirely unlike food and drink.

Share and Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

World Gym purchased by Planet Fitness

Recent press releases have confirmed that the venerable gym brand World Gym has been purchased in whole by Planet Fitness in a purchase that is undoubtedly bad news for the bodybuilding customer.

Planet Fitness is a gym chain known mostly for its anti-bodybuilding ways is rapidly becoming the gym-du-jour for the casual fitness set in an environment that encourages members not to strain, but to work out in ways that they are comfortable. Unfortunately, for bodybuilders, that comfort and open mindedness do not extend to those who choose to compete with their physiques, nor does it extend to those who wish to push beyond failure. As a result of this, Planet Fitness is viewed as the antithesis of what a bodybuilding gym should be.

In contrast to this, World Gym was one of the most historic gym brands in the bodybuilding industry, and was the second gym brand founded by the Late Joe Gold. The loss of this chain should be marked in the bodybuilding community with a measured degree of sadness, as well as with a renewed sense of commitment to local gyms that are bodybuilding friendly.

It is undoubtable that Planet Fitness serves a niche in the fitness community, it is also undeniable that they have chosen to do this while discounting a sizable portion of the same community. Time will tell if Planet Fitness' decision is the correct one, until then World Gym is gone, and the bodybuilding industry is a little bit less because of that.