• Question: Are growth supplements and protein tablets for body builders harmful?

    Asked by Lauren McCabe to Sinead, Neil, Mark, Florence, Anne on 17 Nov 2015.
    • Photo: Mark Collins

      Mark Collins answered on 17 Nov 2015:

      Hi Lauren, a great question! The growth hormones that many bodybuilders take are really bad as we have a natural balance of hormones and this disturbs this balance putting a much greater demand on our organs especially the liver and the heart! They can also cause a lot of skin problems with acne and other infections as our skin is also an organ! And as they are chemicals they can also cause an imbalance in our brains and lead to high levels of aggression and other nasty side-effects.

      The protein supplements that many take, are less harmful and quite useful if taken correctly as this is a byproduct of cheese production from milk and is a natural source of protein that our body can use although the preferred method is through whole food sources as we can get other macronutrients and micronutrients that our beneficial so a protein supplement should just be that, should supplement a healthy diet!

    • Photo: Florence McCarthy

      Florence McCarthy answered on 17 Nov 2015:

      Most of the supplements used by body builders are natural products so in that sense they are safe. However, what is not safe is their overuse or consumption on the scale commonly seen in supplements as these levels have not been trialled for long term effects. As a general rule everything should be in moderation and consider if you were to eat a food to get the same quantity of the supplement, how much would you need to eat and what effect would that have on your body?

    • Photo: Sinead Balgobin

      Sinead Balgobin answered on 18 Nov 2015:

      Protein supplements are generally OK if not taken in a massive excess- protein just helps the body build more muscle in a natural way; you can also get this effect by eating lots of lean meat. Growth hormones and steroids, however, will interact with the body in more than just muscle growth and should be taken with caution or not at all. These compounds can interfere with natural hormone production- side effects can include high blood pressure, heart attacks, infertility, along with a whole host of other symptoms.

      Using non-natural supplements to try and get fit and healthy won’t work- only exercise and a good diet can do that. Some people take these supplements when they are unhappy with how they look- this is also unnecessary. Everyone looks and is built differently- being healthy and happy with who you are is the most important thing! Don’t believe anyone who tells you differently.