Bodybuilders may pay a hefty price for their looks. A recent research suggests that overusing protein supplements may be a sign of underlying psychological issues and may even translate into a fully-fledged eating disorder.
The research team explained that men are under pressure to look good due to the mainstream media that promotes photoshop-ed good looks. But that’s only a part of the problem. Obsession with looks may stem from a deep emotional imbalance.
Researchers analyzed both appearance and performance boosting supplements that included creatine, L-cartinine, and protein-based products. These supplements are very popular among bodybuilders because they help them reach a perfectly balanced and muscular body in less time.
Richard Achiro, senior researcher at the Alliant International University’s California School of Professional Psychology explained that most commercials promoting these products target “underlying insecurities associated with masculinity.” By touching sensitive issues, men see supplements as a viable solution that may fill a void created by their culture.
Although at a first glance, supplement users looked healthy, at a closer look the effects of the products on their bodies signaled that there was something wrong with their emotional balance.
“Even if they look good on the outside, do they have excessive diarrhea? Are their livers and kidneys starting to give out from having to detox toxins?,”
noted Dr. Achiro.
The study involved 195 volunteers with ages ranging from 18 to 65. All participants took over-the-counter bodybuilding supplements in the last month. They also reported that they went to the gym at least two times a week. Participants were surveyed on their eating habits, supplement intake, self-esteem, and relationships with the opposite sex.
Researchers found that 40 percent of study participants increased their supplement use despite health warnings and some negative effects they personally experienced. Scientists believe that such irrational behavior can only be associated with deep psychological and emotional issues. Study authors compared supplement use to smoking – you know is bad for you, but you keep going because it temporarily makes you feel good.
About 3 percent of volunteers said that they were hospitalized due to kidney and liver problems caused by the products they were taken. About 8 percent reported that their GP urged them to stop taking supplements due to the health concerns they were posing.
Researchers even deemed supplement use a genuine eating disorder since it prevents a person to enjoy a fulfilling life because he feels a compulsion of taking the supplements at fixed times and doses during the day. Additionally, patients that report eating disorders are either engaged in binging or restriction, which male bodybuilders do the same despite it being a self-destructive behavior.
Image Source: Biggest Bodybuilder