Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
A stoplight guide to supplements
by Dev Mishra, June 15th, 2011 2:44PM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ
TAGS:  youth boys, youth girls

MOST COMMENTED

By Dev K. Mishra, M.D.

A "supplement" by definition is something you would take in addition to whatever you would eat or drink in the course of your normal diet.

Examples of supplements can range from commonly used and safe substances such as multivitamins, to generally safe performance improving substances such as creatine, and then to unsafe items such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.

There is another class of substances beyond these called Performance Enhancing Drugs, which include anabolic steroids and human growth hormone. And yet another type of abused drug would include medications that are prescribed for proper medical reasons but are then abused and used in inappropriate ways.

Ritalin, commonly used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is reported to improve focus or cope with jet lag in athletes.

For the purposes of this post I would like to focus on substances that typically would not require a prescription. Unfortunately, that does not mean they are all safe, and in fact the most dangerous substances are surprisingly easy to obtain in your local community or on the Internet. One of the biggest problems is that the supplement industry is unregulated so it is very difficult for the person using the supplement to be sure of the quality. Some supplements can contain a number of very unsafe ingredients.

Many young athletes are using and experimenting with substances supposedly useful to increase strength and muscle mass, improve endurance, and give them an edge on the competition. The pressures to use measures to improve sports performance are significant, and I expect these pressures only to increase as the years go by.

So let’s take a practical approach to supplements and let me provide a very simple “stoplight” guide to common supplements.

Generally Safe Supplements Used For Dietary and Nutritional Support
Most of these items would be safe for young athletes to use but there may be some instances where it would be wise to check first with your physician before use. For example, it’s possible to take too many multivitamins, too much protein powder, or eat a protein bar containing nuts when you have a peanut allergy. There’s evidence that taking a daily children’s multivitamin is a good idea for most kids.

* Daily multivitamin.
* Calcium.
* Sports drinks containing protein and multivitamins.
* Protein powders (obtain from a nationally reputable supplier).
* Fruit smoothies with protein boost or vitamin supplement

Probably Safe Supplements For Muscle Recovery and Increased Energy
In this category I would include creatine, used for muscle recovery and muscle mass gains; and naturally occurring stimulants such as caffeine, guarana, some B-vitamins, and kola nut.

Let me first be clear on one thing: there is no published credible research on the safety of creatine in adolescents or teens. Having said that, most trainers and physicians who take care of young athletes generally report that there are no “serious” side effects from creatine use, but stomach upset, dehydration, and muscle cramping are fairly common. Creatine use is probably fine, but check with your child’s physician before starting use.

Caffeine is another substance that falls into this intermediate category. Caffeine is found naturally in more than 60 plants and of course it’s found in coffee and sodas. For adults there is an upper limit on the amount of caffeine legally allowed in competitions such as the Olympics but again, we have no established limits for caffeine use in adolescents or teenagers.

Caffeine is a tough substance to avoid because it’s found in so many things so the best you can do is to read labels and use as little as possible.

Unsafe Supplements - Definitely Avoid
This category includes substances for which we have solid medical evidence of potential harm from use. I would also place prescription medications being used for reasons other than they were prescribed here.

For example, using Ritalin to improve focus or concentration in an adolescent without ADHD, or using an asthma inhaler to improve airway opening in a teen without asthma could lead to very serious health consequences.

What follows is just a tiny list of the most commonly abused substances. Literally hundreds of “performance enhancing drugs” and other substances are on banned substance list of most organized competitions. Most professional sports league, the Olympics, and the NCAA have strict screening and penalties for illegal substance use, and some state High School associations are also starting random drug screening. If you have any question at all check with your physician but you should avoid all of these:

* Anabolic steroids.
* Human Growth Hormone.
* Androstenedione (Andro).
* Ephedrine, pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), ephedra (Ma Huang).
* 19-norandrostenedione (19-Nor).
* DHEA (dihydroepiandrostenedione).
* Ritalin for use in individuals without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
* Asthma inhalers in non-asthmatics.


(Dev K. Mishra is the creator of the SidelineSportsDoc.com injury management program for coaches. He is an orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Burlingame, Calif. He is a member of the team physician pool with the U.S. Soccer Federation and has served as team physician at the University of California, Berkeley. This article first appeared on SidelineSportsDoc.com.)



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Tab Ramos on U-20 win: 'We gave them very little if anything at all'    
Mexico entered the qualifying tournament for the 2017 U-20 World Cup having won the last three ...
Tab Ramos' team on roll heading into Mexico U-20 clash; Women's youth head coaches out    
Tab Ramos' quest to become the first coach to qualify the USA for three straight U-20 ...
Five 'brothers' from RSL-AZ boost U.S. U-20 World Cup qualifying campaign    
Asked to explain his club's remarkable achievement, delivering five players to the U.S. U-20 national team, ...
Tab Ramos: 'The boys are starting to figure it out'    
"We know the important part of the tournament is how you end and not how you ...
USA already behind the eight-ball in U-20 World Cup qualifying    
The USA's quest to qualify for the 2017 U-20 World Cup is in danger just one ...
Tab Ramos on keeper Jonathan Klinsmann, captain Erik Palmer-Brown and the U-20 World Cup qualifying quest    
Tab Ramos, who played for the USA in the 1983 U-20 World Cup, now aims to ...
Girls DA Director Miriam Hickey: Federation is best suited to support clubs and coaches    
Miriam Hickey has been named Director of the U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy, that which off ...
Anson Dorrance on Girls DA vs. ECNL -- and why the focus should be on the youngest ages    
We asked Anson Dorrance for his views on the strife between U.S. Soccer and the ECNL, ...
James Bunce: 'Players all develop at different times'    
When James Bunce headed Southampton FC's youth program, its ranks included Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, now an Arsenal ...
Meet Tab Ramos' 20 players for U-20 World Cup qualifying    
The USA's quest to qualify for a third straight U-20 World Cup begins Feb. 18 against ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives