Protein, Creatine, & Performance Enhancing Drugs

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Protein, creatine, & performance enhancing drugs are common in boy world.

In fact, most teen boys experiment with them at some point. Approximately 80% of teenage boys say they’ve used a protein supplement within the last 12 months, says Kyle Ganson, an assistant professor who researches boys and body image.

“There’s a very broad list of performance enhancers, including dietary supplements and other substances that are perfectly legal and readily available to young people,” Kyle says. These substances are “purported to help you with your performance, with building strength, and with your appearance, but there’s not a lot of research on them and a lot of nuance to them.”

Whether they’re looking for this info or not, boys are likely to encounter it online. There are a plethora of social media influencers who hawk supplements and explicitly discuss their workout routines, nutrition, and dietary supplements. Not all of that information is accurate. In many cases, these influencers gain financially when they promote supplements.

Understanding boys’ motivation to use these substances is key to supporting them. An abstinence-only approach isn’t likely to work — and not necessary, in most cases, Kyle says. It’s better to engage boys in conversation and help them meet their goals.

In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Kyle discuss:
  • Protein supplements, creatine, amino acids, pre-workout supplements, & energy drinks
  • Steroids & synthetic hormones, including testosterone
  • How media influences (& creates) unrealistic body image ideals for boys
  • Why boys use performance enhancing supplements
  • Helping boys find accurate information
  • Typical paths to supplement use
  • Talking to boys about performance enhancing substances
  • Masculine norms & muscle-building behaviors
  • Regulation (& lack of regulation!) of supplements & performance enhancing drugs
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) & Muscle Dysmorphia — previous ON BOYS episode w Kyle

Boys & Body Image – ON BOYS episode

Zac Efron Admits Bulking Up for Baywatch “Messed” Him Up

Rob McElhenney from “Always Sunny” Reveals How He Got So Ripped

Safety Reporting Portal — site consumers can use to report adverse events

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