Archive for May, 2012

Performance for a Price? Part 3

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

A new National Collegiate Athletic Association rule prohibits colleges from giving athletes muscle-building supplements such as creatine and androstenedione. Permissible supplements are carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drinks, energy bars, carbohydrate boosters, vitamins and minerals. (more…)

Performance for a Price? Part 2

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

A new National Collegiate Athletic Association rule prohibits colleges from giving athletes muscle-building supplements such as creatine and androstenedione. Permissible supplements are carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drinks, energy bars, carbohydrate boosters, vitamins and minerals.

However, because the NCAA stopped short of banning the supplements, college players are allowed to purchase the substances themselves at health food stores.

“If it is natural, people think it is safe. Some products sold at health food stores can be very dangerous if manufactured poorly, used improperly or in higher concentrations than recommended,” said Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh

Medical Center. “There are so many supplements infiltrating the market. Some contain unapproved drugs or contaminants that can cause great harm.”

Ephedra is one of the most controversial additives to several supplements on the shelves today. It affects beta-receptors in heart, Jalali said.

Ephedra is an ingredient sold in 200 unregulated dietary supplements and marketed as energy boosters and weight-loss aids. Ephedra supplements have been linked to side effects ranging from nervousness, anxiety, a fast heartbeat, high blood pressure and insomnia to kidney stones, psychosis, seizures, heart attack, stroke and death.

“Ephedra has an FDA warning, but it hasn’t been pulled from many health food shelves because it is a big seller,” Jalali said. “People need to carefully read all the ingredients in the supplements they take and make prudent decisions.”

Knowing what you are putting in your body can save your life. Your doctor is your best resource. Always remember, even if you don’t need a prescription to get a supplement, you should always let your doctor know that what you are taking.

Health professionals agree that adolescents under age 18 should not use creatine.

“There is rampant use of creatine in high schools,” Jalali said. “It increases performance, but we don’t have specific studies on this age group so I don’t recommend adolescents use it. Kids are better off getting on a diet program. They should drink mixes with protein powders, and nutrients and take base supplements like vitamins and minerals.”

A number of other groups are warning that use of creatine by teen-agers may be dangerous. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s Healthy Competition Foundation said anecdotal evidence from physicians, coaches, trainers and athletes indicate a link between creatine use and several adverse reactions, including cramping, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, dehydration, muscle strain, high blood pressure, incontinence, and abnormal liver and kidney functions.

According to Blue Cross and Blue Shield, a large number of high school seniors are using creatine monohydrate with little or no scientific evidence of its safety. One state high school federation in New Jersey is expected to recommend this year that its 440 members discourage athletes from using such diet supplements as androstenedione and creatine.

“Because there is a lack of [Food and Drug Administration] oversight, we are seeing an increasing trend of younger individuals having problems with these body-building supplements,” Lundblad said. “Most kids think it is OK to use these supplements because they are sold in stores.”

Another popular sport supplement that can be found on the shelves is androstenedione, a hormone that many athletes believe can be converted into the muscle-building male sex hormone testosterone. Andro achieved fame in 1998 when St. Louis Cardinals’ slugger Mark McGwire admitted he used it during his record-breaking 70-home run season.

But in a 1999 study, androstenedione did not increase the serum testosterone concentrations and there was no increased muscle strength or muscle size, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study also found andro increased the risk of pancreatic cancer, Wollschlager said.

“Everyone should avoid all andro products,” Jalali said. “It seems to enhance testosterone levels, but the JAMA study questions this. It also enhances estrogen levels, which can have negative effects on men, such as water retention and breast formation.”

Performance for a Price? Part 1

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Are you a “weekend warrior” looking for a nutritional edge? Chances are you enhance your weekend sports activities during the week with a couple workouts at the gym, or maybe you lift weights or participate in a basketball, softball or soccer league. (more…)

Why the Kyl Bill Is Bad Policy. Part 2

Monday, May 21st, 2012

No logical public policy reasons exist for exempting these two industries but not other forms of legal gambling such as casinos. The Kyl Bill has essentially become the Interactive Gambling Promotion Act, except that it simply favors certain gaming industry segments over other industry segments. Somehow, the original policy behind the bill was lost in politics. (more…)

Why the Kyl Bill Is Bad Policy. Part 1

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), the chief sponsor of the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, has taken the position that permitting Internet gambling is bad public policy. This position is defensible. A strong argument can be made that in-home gambling presents greater policy concerns than traditional gambling. (more…)

Women and Smoking

Friday, May 11th, 2012

While smoking is declining for Americans, it is not decreasing as rapidly among women as among men. Almost 23 percent of adult American women smoke, and that translates into about 22.6 million women. (more…)

What a Difference Attitude Makes…. Part 2

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

If laughter is the best medicine, then certainly having a positive outlook about the curve balls that life throws our way can only benefit our general health and well being. (more…)

What a Difference Attitude Makes…. Part 1

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Our attitude towards physical and emotional changes in our lives plays a central role in determining how we will experience these changes — whether our interpretation of the experience will Laughter, the best medicine (more…)

Leg Presses

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

If you belong to a health club, you probably have access to a wide range of resistance equipment, including a leg press machine that targets the legs (quadriceps and hamstrings) and also works the buttocks. Here is how to perform the movement correctly: (more…)