Are bodybuilding supplements safe? This is a question that many people have asked, especially those who are looking to build muscle mass and strength. The truth is, some ingredients found in dietary supplements marketed for bodybuilding or performance enhancement, such as whey protein, creatine and caffeine, can be potentially dangerous. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that some bodybuilding products may illegally contain steroids or steroid-like substances associated with serious health risks, including liver injury, which can be life-threatening. The FDA has received hundreds of reports of adverse events, including those showing evidence of serious liver injury.
Many of these products are not dietary supplements at all; they contain undisclosed or unproven ingredients and are new drugs that are not approved and illegally marketed. The agency did not review the safety, efficacy, or quality of these products before these companies began marketing them. These potentially harmful, sometimes hidden, ingredients in products promoted for bodybuilding remain a cause for concern. Some people who use bodybuilding products engage in “stacking”, which is when a person uses two or more bodybuilding products at once (including stimulants or products that provide false guarantees of liver protection) to improve results or “gains”. These combinations may increase the risk of consumers experiencing serious and potentially fatal reactions.
In addition to issuing warning letters, the agency may take other regulatory actions, as well as compliance actions against sellers of these illegal products. The FDA encourages consumers and health professionals to report adverse events or serious side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program (MedWatch) or the safety reporting portal. The agency also regularly issues warnings about contaminated muscle-building products. In fact, the agency says that people should generally avoid any bodybuilding supplement that claims to contain steroids or steroid-like substances. The short-term effects of testosterone boosters are minimal; however, the long-term risks are not yet clear. Short-term side effects of testosterone boosters can include acne, sleep disorders, mood swings, and aggressive behavior.
Some studies suggest that long-term use of testosterone boosters can lead to kidney damage or even heart disease. Both L-carnitine and creatine are natural compounds taken to improve muscle mass, performance or weight loss. Red meat is particularly rich in these substances. To date, there is little evidence that they are harmful to humans, despite initial claims of possible liver or kidney damage, muscle cramps, or electrolyte imbalances. Short-term side effects of pre-workout supplements can include cramps, headaches, anxiety, high blood pressure and chest pain. In addition, instead of the nutrient supplement being harmful in and of itself, there may be other contaminating compounds within the supplement, unknown to the consumer, that could cause harm. Instead of resorting to the use of these health supplements and spending a fortune on them, you could use naturally available products that are rich in protein, such as nuts, egg white, fish and chicken, along with fruits and vegetables, and build muscle and strength naturally. Be sure to learn about the health and safety risks associated with any supplement before including it in your exercise regimen.
Whether this is true or not, there is still real and worrying evidence of the contamination of dietary supplements by a number of different controlled substances.