Bodybuilding supplements such as whey protein and creatine increase the chances of eating disorders among men, according to a study presented Thursday at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting in Toronto. Researchers said that factors such as body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem drive men to take up these supplements.
"Body-conscious men who are driven by psychological factors to attain a level of physical or masculine 'perfection' are prone to use these supplements and drugs in a manner that is excessive and which was demonstrated in this study to be a variant of disordered eating," Richard Achiro, a professor of psychology at Alliant International University, Los Angeles, who presented the research, said in a statement released Thursday.
For the study, the researchers examined 195 men, aged between 18 and 65 years. These men took over-the-counter bodybuilding supplements for the past 30 days and exercised for fitness or appearance-related reasons for a minimum of two times a week.
The findings showed that 40 percent of respondents increased their use over time and 22 percent switched their regular meals with dietary supplements. Moreover, 29 percent of participants said they were concerned about their use of supplements.
Researchers also found that 8 percent of these men were warned by their physician to stop the intake of supplements due to actual or possible adverse health effects, while 3 percent suffered kidney or liver problems due to these products.
“The most critical implication for these findings is to put risky/excessive legal supplement use on the map as an issue facing a significant number of men,” Achiro said in the statement.