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The Doctors Lounge - Primary Care Answers

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Forum Name: Nutrition & Diet

Question: Teen, Using Supplements


JV1988 - Wed Feb 19, 2003 3:46 am

Ok, I am a 15 year old boy and I am interested in doing some weight training. I have looked into BodyBuilding websites, I don't want to body build but I decided to look into their sites for tips and such, well anyhow they obviously use supplements and such. I am interested in using them to speed up my progress but I am not interested in harming myself so I wanted to find out what is safe for me to use. I have done some reading and such but I want an opinion from people who know about it. Here are some supplements, etc. I have been looking into:

Multi-Vitamins - These are obviously safe for anyone to take so I won't really bother, I just wanted to mention them to be used in conjunction with other stuff I list.

Protein - Once again, obviously safe.

Creatine - To me this appears safe as it is naturally occuring and such. I read that there are no studies proving it harms a teen but there are no actual studies on teens to know. Also it apparently (with current studies) has little to none long term effects, and the regular every day short term stuff.

Antioxidants - Im not sure I actually understand this one so any explaining would be nice. Apparently they consist of naturally occuring vitamin type items that are used to create superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. These enzymes apparently help decrease damage caused by free radicals. These appear safe to me as well.

Glutamine - Apparently a amino acid abundant in the muscle that helps prevent muscle wasting. Sounds safe to me?

Anabolic Flavones - Non Hormonal Flavones that naturally increase protein synthesis, nitrogen retention, and muscle growth. Im assuming that anything natural should be fairly safe?

HBM - Metabolite of Amino Acid Leucine... Increases Muscle, Maintains Muscle, and Promotes Fat Loss.

ZMA - Zinc and Magnesium Asparate, I believe this is unsafe for me because t increases testosterone... Also increases strength, improves recovery and also sleep.

ALL Feedback is welcome and desired. Thank You!
DeLWolcott - Wed Oct 05, 2005 2:05 pm

Multi-vitamin - Good for you as long as they are the correct vitamins for your gender and age. Be sure to take with a meal as these can cause stomach upset. Make sure that your multi-vitamin does not contain the other supplements your are taking so that you don't take too much of a substance for your organs to metabolize.

Protein - 20% of total dietary intake is a recommended protein rate, even for bodybuilders. Again, too much protein can put stress on organ function.

Creatine - Again, only take the recommended dose, possibly a little less until age 18. 5% chance of stomach problems. Short term side effects are minimal. It is believed 12 - 15 year olds are just too young to really be using any supplements. Of course, every person is different and it is best to make your decision with your doctor and parents. Your body is still growing at least until you are 18. Long term side effects could be organ damage if you take more than the recommended dose. AND make sure that you acquire a high quality creatine product.

Antioxidants - Safer and easier for the body to metabolize when they are obtained through eating fruits and vegetables. Simply put, you'll get better results with fruits and vegetables than you will with antioxidant supplements. During normal cell metabolism, oxygen molecules (O2) are released into the bloodstream in a non-oxidized state. Known as free radicals, these oxygen molecules naturally want to oxidize and so look for other molecules to bind with. If no antioxidants are present they will bind with other molecules producing compounds, some of which are carcinogenic in nature. So yes, antioxidants are important, but again better from deep-colored fruits and vegetables.

Glutamine - Glutamine has been tried as an ergogenic aid for bodybuilders, but two small trials failed to find any evidence of benefit. (Candow DG, Chilibeck PD, Burke DG, et al. Effect of glutamine supplementation combined with resistance training in young adults. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2001;86:142149; and Antonio J, Sanders MS, Kalman D, et al. The effects of high-dose glutamine ingestion on weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2002;16:157160.) As a naturally occurring amino acid, glutamine is thought to be a safe supplement when taken at recommended dosages. However, those who are hypersensitive to monosodium glutamate (MSG) should use glutamine with caution, as the body metabolizes glutamine into glutamate. Also, because many anti-Epilepsy drugs work by blocking glutamate stimulationin the brain, high dosages of glutamine might conceivably overwhelm these drugs and pose a risk to people with Epilepsy. Finally, in one case report high doses of the supplement L-glutamine (more than 2 g per day) may have triggered episodes of Mania in two people not previously known to have Bipolar disorder. So again, only go with recommended dosage.

Anabolic flavones - Exceeding recommended dose will not improve results and may cause serious adverse health effects. Natural does not always equal safe. Keep within range for gender, age and physician's recommendations.

HBM / hydroxy-methyl-butyrate - Ineffective alone. Again, recommended dosing only.

Zinc and Magnesium Asparate - Make sure these are not already in your multi-vitamins. No, these are not recommended for teens for the reason you mentioned. Wait a while on this.

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