Supplement Overuse in Teens

Young Male Patient Talking To Female Nurse In Emergency Room

We have seen a large increase in cases, especially high school and college-aged men, of side-effects from using “bodybuilding” supplements. These supplements are not steroids but are sold under the premise that they are “natural steroids” by such companies as

Symptoms can range from dehydration to arrhythmia. Care must be taken when confronting people about supplement usage. Often times it is just the case of dehydration due to lack of hydration.

Late August you might see quite a few cases of dehydration and muscle cramping in high school athletes as they generally have two practices per day in hot weather with low water consumption.

If you notice other possible symptoms like acne, enlarged breasts, or patients with larger than normal muscle build it would not hurt to ask if they are taking supplements.

Some patients will not want to talk about it because they are taking them without their parents consent so care must be taken during questioning.

What are Legal Steroids?

Generally supplements that are touted as legal steroids contain ingredients such as creatine, Beta Anhydrous, DHEA, L-arginine, L-Glycine, L-Methionine, and natural herbs. These are also labeled steroid precursors and claimed to be the compounds that human body turns into natural steroids. Others contain large doses of caffeine and other adenosine receptors type drugs.

Review the Side Effects of Supplements

Other complications or side effects to look for if you suspect over supplementation are:

  • dehydration
  • muscle cramping
  • high blood pressure
  • elevated heart rate
  • sleeping issues
  • acne flares
  • enlarged breasts

Stacking Dietary Supplements

Other unknown issues are the stacking (mixing) of dietary and bodybuilding supplements. Recent research has alerted medical practitioners to the possibility of liver damage.

Often athletes but more commonly bodybuilders mix dietary supplements into the mix to cut weight and reduce fat called. These are referred to as a cutting stack by companies such as Crazy Bulk and Crazy Mass.

If you read some of the sales copy, such as in they claim these products to be legal steroids. There isn’t such a thing, but it does make people think they are ok to take.

So also check patients that you think may be using supplements for common dietary supplement side effects such as:

  • Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
  • Abdominal pain and swelling.
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Dark urine color.
  • Pale stool color, or bloody or tar-colored stool.
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Tendency to bruise easily
  • Other more extreme symptoms are panic attacks and seizures.

Remember, patients most likely will not be forth-coming with supplement use. You will have to compliment them on their physique or some other attribute to gain their trust.

Ask shallow leading questions to see if your assumption may be right.

We hope this information is helpful.


Consumer Reports