Sports supplements are like pills, powders, or drinks that people use to make their muscles stronger, lose weight, or have more stamina. Lots of sports supplements for teenage athletes say they can help in some way. But only a few have been proven to actually help. Additionally, it’s tough to know if sports supplements are safe since we don’t have studies that look at what happens when teens take them for a long time. In fact, some sports supplements might have harmful drugs or other things that aren’t listed on the label.
If you’re thinking about giving your child supplements for teenagers, talk to their doctor beforehand.
Check the Supplements for Safety Before Giving Them to Your Child
Sports supplements are known as dietary supplements. These are products taken by mouth to help with diet and performance. Before these supplements are sold, they don’t have to get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The companies making these supplements should follow the FDA’s rules for good manufacturing to make sure their product is safe and good quality. But sometimes, they don’t follow these rules, and some supplements might have drugs or other things in them that aren’t on the label.
So if you found a brand of growth supplement for teenage athletes, they’re probably not approved by the FDA. Worst case scenario, these are sold with dangerous ingredients.
The Different Kind of Sports Supplements
Below are some of the safest sports supplements, but precautions are necessary for teens. Remember, these are not 100% safe supplements for teenage athletes. Instead, they’re best taken by adults.
Creatine is a natural substance that our body produces. It plays a role in giving our muscles the energy they need to move. Scientists have also made creatine in a lab, and you can find it in the form of powder, pills, energy bars, or drink mixes. It has been studied, and the research shows that it can be helpful for athletes who do sports that involve short bursts of intense exercise, like sprinting and powerlifting. But, like many things, there can be side effects.
Some of them include gaining weight, feeling stiffness in the joints, getting muscle cramps, feeling nauseous, or getting headaches. When it comes to teens, there haven’t been enough studies to be sure about the long-term safety of using creatine. Some research even suggests that it might not be good for the kidneys. Doctors usually advise that it should only be used by athletes who are 18 years old or older.
Amino Acid Supplements
Amino acids are like the building blocks that help our body make proteins, which are essential for building strong muscles. You can find amino acids in supplements, and some common ones include glutathione, cysteine, arginine, leucine, glutamine, and citrulline. These supplements are usually available as pills or powders. The ads for amino acid supplements claim that they can make adults more enduring during exercise, prevent muscles from breaking down too much, and reduce soreness after a workout.
But when scientists studied this, most of the research didn’t show clear benefits from taking these supplements. It’s also important to be cautious because some amino acid supplements might cause serious side effects. We don’t have enough long-term studies to know if they are safe for teenagers or not. So, if you’re teen is considering taking these supplements, it’s better to talk to a doctor first to make sure it’s safe for them.
Protein supplements are like special powders made from proteins found in casein and whey. These powders can be mixed with water, milk, or other liquids to make a drink. Many times, you might see ads promoting protein supplements as a way to build strong muscles. But in reality, most people get enough protein from the food they eat every day.
However, there are some cases where a protein supplement could be helpful. For example, if someone isn’t getting enough protein in their regular diet, a supplement might be useful. This can happen during periods of fast growth, when starting a new workout routine, increasing the intensity of workouts, recovering from an injury, or if they follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Usually, protein supplements don’t cause any serious problems. But if taken in very high amounts, they might lead to thirst, bloating, cramps, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or feeling tired. Just like with other supplements, there haven’t been enough studies to know the long-term effects of protein supplements in teens. Most doctors suggest that teenagers should get their protein from the food they eat, as it’s the safest and healthiest way.
Scientists have found some clues that suggest caffeine might help with sports performance. You can find caffeine in lots of things like energy drinks, soda, energy chews, and pills. However, caffeine affects people differently, and some people might experience side effects.
These can include headaches, feeling irritable or nervous, getting dehydrated, having an upset stomach, finding it hard to sleep, feeling like their heart is racing, or having an irregular heartbeat. Since we don’t really know what caffeine could do to teenagers in the long run, it’s a good idea for them to avoid it for now. It’s better to be safe and not take any unnecessary risks.
How to Improve a Teen’s Athlete Without Sports Supplements
There’s no such thing as the best supplements for teens. If you want to improve your child’s athletic training without relying on sports supplements for teenage athletes, here are some simple tips:
- Eating well: It’s essential to have a healthy diet that matches your child’s age, weight, and the sports they do. You can consult with a dietitian or nutritionist to create a suitable diet plan.
- Train wisely: Working with a coach or fitness instructor can be very beneficial. They can design a training plan that includes both strength training and fitness exercises, tailored to your child’s needs and goals.
- Rest and sleep: Make sure your child get enough rest and sleep. Rest is crucial for their body to recover and perform at its best during training.
- No alcohol and smoking: Teens should avoid alcohol and smoking as they can negatively affect their athletic performance and overall health.
By following these simple steps, teenagers can maximize their athletic potential and achieve their goals without relying on sports supplements. Remember, consistency and dedication are key to success in sports and fitness!
Be More Aware of What Your Child is Taking
It’s crucial to keep in mind that a lot of the things sports supplement companies say may not be backed by solid evidence. These companies want to sell more of their products, so sometimes their claims can be tricky and not entirely accurate. If you’re thinking about giving your child any sports supplement, it’s wise to have a chat with your doctor beforehand. Your doctor can give the right advice and help you make an informed decision about whether it’s a good choice for a teenager or not.
Health & Safety is Imperative as a Teen Athlete
Remember, it’s best for teen athletes to focus on proper nutrition, smart training, rest, and a healthy lifestyle to excel in sports. While some supplements may offer benefits for adults, their safety and effectiveness for teens are often uncertain. Prioritize their health and consult with a healthcare professional before considering any supplements for teenage athletes. Their hard work, dedication, and natural abilities are their strongest assets in achieving athletic success!