When our children were younger, sports were more about having fun and making friends. But by the time they reach high school, sports become increasingly more competitive, and teen athletes start to think of their futures and how games play a role. Even their parents take their participation in sports seriously and may begin to view the athletics program as their child’s ticket to a college scholarship.
By the time their kid is a junior or senior in high school, parents start to think of ways to give their children a competitive edge. Some parents hire personal trainers, and others to monitor their diets. The more competitive athletic programs become, the more athletes need to think about their bodies and health. Teens will want to gain body weight and mass while reducing body fat. They will need more energy and strength to compete on a higher level. And for this reason, parents start to consider giving their kids supplements which are promoted to help athletic performance.
How Safe are Sports Supplements For My Child?
When deciding if the young athlete should take supplements, parents should first understand that sports supplements are considered dietary supplements. And to make it to market, nutritional supplements are not required to undergo U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Therefore, they are not required by any laws to follow manufacturing practices that guarantee safety, effectiveness, and quality.
Therefore, any supplements you give your child are not regulated, and the only word you will rely on is what you will find on the manufacturer’s label. In the US, most supplements in the market are considered safe as any supplements that have adverse effects or reported to be dangerous are immediately taken off the shelves.
The Most Common Supplements for Teens
Sports supplements are also called ergogenic aids and may include vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids. Creatine is one of the most commonly used supplements for high school athletes because it claims to increase exertion and improves athlete’s response time.
Protein is another common supplement for teens who want to “bulk up.” Protein supplements promote increased muscle mass by providing the body with the foundation it needs to create amino acids to build muscle tissue faster.
HMB, whey, caffeine, beta-alanine, and fish oil are other supplements many high school athletes use to enhance performance. Each come with their specific recommended dosage and warnings. Caffeine, for example, when taken in excess can cause jitters, increased heartbeat, cardiac arrhythmia, and dizziness. Mostly, it would do the opposite of enhancing athletic performance.
Overall, dietary supplements are considered safe for teens as long as you buy them from a reliable source, and you don’t overdo it. In the right dosage, they can help your child gain mass and increase their energy. However, taking too many supplements can have adverse effects such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
You should also consult with your child’s doctor or dietician first. The reality is that there are many fake supplements out there which are typically sold online. Not only are they ineffective but they may be filled with chemicals that can cause harmful side effects.