This past weekend, results of new studies were presented at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention. One of those studies was on the progressive rise of excessive supplement use emerging as an eating disorder in men.
The research was lead by Richard Achiro and Peter Theodore. The pair comes from the California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University.
The study consisted of one hundred and ninety-five male participants aged eighteen to sixty-five. All of the participants had used performance-enhancing supplements in the thirty days prior to the study. They also all reported to work out at least twice a week for health or aesthetic reasons.
Each participant took part in an online survey. They were asked about their supplement use but also about deeper issues like self confidence, their body image, their eating habits and also about any gender role conflicts they may face.
The results were staggering. Over forty percent of all men consuming supplements reported to have increased their usage since beginning to use them. Twenty-two percent reportedly replaced meals with supplements which were not meant to be meal replacements.
Then come the truly chilling statistics. Twenty-nine percent felt apprehensive and anxious about their own supplement use. Eight percent admittedly had been told by their doctors that they should decrease their intake or stop consuming supplements completely because of health risks and side effects. Three percent of participants had actually been admitted to the hospital with supplement related health issues with their liver or kidneys!
It’s important to remember that eating disorders and body image issues aren’t uniquely female problems. It might be the case that women face these issues more publicly but men are just as susceptible to suffering from these disorders.