As a parent, it's natural to be concerned about the safety of dietary supplements for teens. While most doctors agree that it's best for teens to get protein from their diet, there are some cases where supplements may be beneficial. However, it's important to understand the potential risks associated with taking supplements before allowing your teen to use them. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not using supplements for men and women under 18 years of age.
This is due to the fact that supplements are not regulated by the United States Food Administration, with 26% of medications being potentially dangerous. Previous studies have linked supplements aimed at losing weight, building muscle mass or increasing energy to multiple health problems, such as chronic diarrhea, dehydration, strokes, seizures, heart problems, and kidney and liver damage. It's important to remember that many of the claims that sports supplement companies make are unsubstantiated. For that reason, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics does not recommend that any adolescent take protein supplements. Other experts cited in the article recommended that teens who want to build more muscles focus on training with a qualified coach or trainer and on getting adequate nutrition and sleep, rather than taking supplements. However, a trade organization in the supplement industry, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), argues that the vast majority of dietary supplements are safe.
Before a teen uses any type of shake or protein supplement, it's important to get a doctor's approval. That's according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health, which analyzed reports of health problems that occurred after children, adolescents or young adults took vitamins or supplements. CRN recognizes that there is a problem with illegal and contaminated products that pose as dietary supplements and urges consumers to choose products manufactured by responsible companies that scrupulously comply with the law. And while vitamins and dietary supplements were included in the analysis, the researchers found that supplements were responsible for most of the cases. In addition, the researchers said that their findings could be underestimated, since consumers may not always know that their symptoms are related to dietary supplements or may not report those events to the doctor. Teens who use dietary supplements to lose weight, gain weight, or build muscle could be at risk of serious harm and even death.
However, this doesn't always happen, and some supplements may contain medications or additives that aren't listed on the label. Protein shakes and other dietary supplements were designed and tested on adults before going on the market, so their effects on adolescents who are still growing and developing are unknown. Advertisements for amino acid supplements say that they improve endurance, reduce protein breakdown and reduce pain caused by exercise. It's important for parents to understand the potential risks associated with taking dietary supplements before allowing their teen to use them. While some supplements may be beneficial in certain cases, it's best to consult with a doctor before allowing your teen to take any type of supplement.