For many Americans, “looks” are of the utmost importance. A significant amount of energy is spent working on one’s image, which is typically honed by way of the gym and eating healthy. While staying in good shape is recommended, a number of Americans take drastic measures to accomplish the goal—even among those who do not attend their local fitness center regularly. There is a growing trend of concern among young people, specifically teenagers. A number of image conscious teens are using nonregulated supplements to enhance their appearance.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a new report which highlights the fact that teenagers who are not athletes are using potentially dangerous supplements to improve their looks, according to Health Day. Over-the-counter supplements were deregulated in 1994. It is not uncommon for performance enhancing supplements to be toxic, containing heavy metals including lead and mercury, says Dr. Michele LaBotz who co-authored the report published in the journal Pediatrics.
“Doctors think of performance-enhancing substance use as an athlete problem, but many non-athletes are using these substances for appearance enhancement,” said Dr. LaBotz.
The AAP is calling on physicians to talk to parents and teenagers about the myriad of dangers associated with performance enhancing supplement use, the article reports. The researchers found that weight-loss supplements are more popular with females, while males tend to go for:
- Protein Supplements
LaBotz points out that a number of previous studies have shown that teens who use performance-enhancing supplements may be more likely to engage in other risky behaviors. Over-the-counter supplements can be a “gateway” to other mind altering substances, such as drugs and alcohol.
Many of the supplements contain stimulants and steroids which can have irreversible side effects.
If you or a loved one uses performance enhancing supplements, please talk to your primary care physician. There are a number of healthy ways to enhance one’s image; the risk of supplements far outweighs the benefits. If your teenage daughter has become dependent on supplements, please contact Cottonwood Tucson. Our Sweetwater Program for teen girls ages 13 – 17 has been designed to help them recover and make necessary changes to improve the quality of their lives.