A recent study suggests that self-conscious men focused on gaining a muscular physique may be at risk of suffering from a new type of eating disorder involving excess bodybuilding supplement use.
Scientists have investigated the psychological and physical effects of over-the-counter appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs, such as L-carnitine. They concluded that men hoping to become fit and muscular may abuse these drugs due to the same reasons that women turn to anorexia and bulimia for.
The research team examined the eating habits, supplement use and self-esteem of 195 participants aged 18 to 65. Study participants had all admitted to having used performance-enhancing supplements in the 30 days prior to enrollment as well as undergoing workout sessions at least twice a week.
With the help pf surveys and questionnaires, researchers attempted to understand more about the participants’ self-esteem, body image, beauty ideals, eating habits and supplement use. They concluded that, due to the fact that such appearance-enhancing supplements are no longer illicit, we may be witnessing the beginning of a new type of eating disorder among male sufferers.
Unlike Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger, most men concerned with their appearance hope to be both lean and muscular. That’s why, study authors explain, they most likely use (and why not, abuse) the legal supplements that are at their disposal.
Of the 195 study participants examined by the team of researchers, 22 percent admitted to having replaced at least one meal per day with a dietary supplement. A whopping 40 percent of participants had actually increased their intake of supplements with time, and many of them began questioning their supplement use.
Researchers hoped to understand whether the study participants had experienced negative side effects as a result of their supplement use and discovered that approximately 8 percent of the men had received doctor’s recommendations to halt or reduce their supplement usage. What’s more, three percent actually ended up in the hospital and required specialized medical attention due to kidney or liver problems that had appeared as a consequence of their supplement use.
“What this is really about is what the body represents for these men. It seems that the findings in part [show] this is a way of compensating for their insecurity or low self-esteem,” Richard Achiro, lead author said.
Photo credits: 1