Breaking research released at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention has shone a new light on the growing use of bodybuilding supplements, especially among young men. The focus of the study was on over the counter supplements, not the illegal anabolic steroids which are most often criticized.
The psychological study involved a questionnaire filled out by young men. The questions touched on many topics asked when being tested for eating disorders, such as body image, self-esteem, eating habits, and perceived gender constructs, as well as their supplement use history. The studies have opened a new door in the way we young men use legal body supplements.
The first shock has been the recent burst in supplement use. These over the counter enhancers have become extremely common among active young men and women, specifically weightlifters. The use of proteins powder, pre-workout formulas, creatine, and amino acids have recently taken the weightlifting world by storm. The scary part is that most of the people who use them don’t do it properly with a balanced diet.
The study found that many young men turn to these supplements to cheat there way into a strong, ‘masculine’ body shape. Instead of focusing on a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet, the desired outcome is a strong and lean body, whether healthy or not. The study found that 40% of supplement users had upped their intake over time, and that 22% had used supplements as meal replacements, even though that is not their intended use.
The study found an alarming amount, 29%, of the young men questioned had concerns about their own supplement use, and that 8% had even had a physician recommend they cut down. Overuse of many of these supplements result in kidney and liver conditions.
The conclusion from the study was the clear fact that many body issues are not limited to women. They found that many young men were using excessive amounts of legal over the counter supplements alongside unhealthy diets to obtain society’s perfect male body image. They saw that the use of bodybuilding supplements in men could escalate to an eating disorder. In coming years it is expected that more research will be done on how body image issues and disorders are not limited to women, but that both are likely a result of body dissatisfaction according to gender role conflicts and social stigmas.