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Overuse of workout supplements emerging as 'eating disorder' in men

Published Aug 8, 2015, 12:06 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 6:57 am IST
Hospitalized for kidney or liver problems in men have been related to use of supplements
Washington DC: While most gym-goers generally take supplements to add to their effort to have better bodies, it turns out the excessive use of such products is emerging as eating disorder in men.
The researchers recruited 195 men age 18-65 who had consumed legal appearance- or performance-enhancing in the past 30 days and had stated that they work out for fitness or appearance-related reasons a minimum of two times a week. Participants completed an online survey asking questions about a variety of subjects, including supplement use, self-esteem, body image, eating habits and gender role conflicts.
Richard Achiro, PhD and co-author Peter Theodore, PhD, at Alliant International University, California School of Professional Psychology, found that more than 40 percent of participants indicated that their use of supplements had increased over time and 22 percent indicated that they replaced regular meals with dietary supplements not intended to be meal replacements.
Most alarming, said Achiro, was that 29 percent said they were concerned about their own use of supplements. On the more extreme end, 8 percent of participants indicated that their physician had told them to cut back on or stop using supplements due to actual or potential adverse health side effects, and 3 percent had been hospitalized for kidney or liver problems that were related to the use of supplements.
Body-conscious men who are driven by psychological factors to attain a level of physical or masculine "perfection" are prone to use these supplements and drugs in a manner that is excessive and which was demonstrated in this study to be a variant of disordered eating, said Achiro.
The research was presented at the American Psychological Association's annual convention.