Muscle-building supplements can be harmful for teenage boys

Nearly a third of teenage boys are trying to gain weight or become more muscular, according to a May 21, 2020 New York Times article, and many turn to supplements such as protein powder for help. But while these products are legal, they may not be safe for boys to use, say experts.

A 2019 study led by S. Bryn Austin, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and director of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders (STRIPED) found that consumption of dietary supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building, and energy was associated with increased risk for severe medical events in children and young adults compared to consumption of vitamins.

“This could be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the kinds of adverse events that are happening,” Austin told the Times.

Other experts quoted in the article recommended that teens wishing to become more muscular focus on training with a qualified coach or trainer, and getting adequate nutrition and sleep, instead of taking supplements. They also recommend that parents talk with their kids about supplement use and working out.

Read the New York Times article: When Teen Boys Use Supplements