Supplements containing steroids may be putting “naive” young men in danger, experts warn.
By Emma Birchley, Sky News Correspondent
The pressure to look like sculpted sportsmen and movie stars is being blamed for why teenage boys are taking anabolic steroids and dubious boydbuilding supplements despite the risk to their health.
Using such steroids is not illegal in the UK, but selling them is.
They are easy to find online, with overseas pharmacies shipping the class C drugs to customers in Britain.
A recent study by experts at King’s College London and John Moores University in Liverpool has found that 23 out of 24 bodybuilding supplements being sold alongside legitimate products in the UK contained such substances.
Drug researcher Dr Andrew Kicman said: “The people who manufacture the supplements deliberately put obscure names to get around legal issues in the supplying of such compounds.
“An experienced bodybuilder will be able to look these things up and find out what they are taking, but there will be young men who are naive. They are taking potent anabolic steroids that could have adverse effects.”
The in-depth analysis revealed that the actual content of supplements did not match the listed ingredients. In many cases, the compounds detected were either a different anabolic steroid or a mixture of two or more compounds.
Ricardo James-Pittau, 19, works out at the gym six times a week – not just to build his strength, but also to look good.
He knows people who take anabolic steroids, but would not even consider it himself.
“You can train for longer but, at the end of the day, it’s going to do nothing but mess your body up,” he said.
“There’s a lot of pressure. It’s all over TV. You see people with great physiques, like celebrities, and they want to look like that but you can take the shortcuts or you can do it properly and you feel the benefit if you do it properly. It just takes a bit longer.”
The parents of Mathew Dear are convinced anabolic steroids are to blame for his death.
He was secretly taking pills to boost his strength. But weeks before applying to be a marine he fell ill and died, aged 17. Methandienone abuse was cited as a factor on his death certificate.
Now Tina and Chris Dear, from Southend, in Essex, have set up a foundation in their son’s name to educate others about the risks.
Mrs Dear said: “I think the problem with a lot of these youngsters is they don’t think they are drugs, they think they are some kind of supplement and they are not. They are a class C drug and they haven’t got a clue what’s in them, where they are coming from, what goes in them.”
She believes the desire to emulate buff-bodied sportsmen, models and celebrities is major factor.
“Society is very aware of girls wanting to be like models, wanting to be stick thin and taking diet pills but we are not aware of the pressures put on young men to be like their role models, look a certain way, to have a certain image.
“They have got to have the six pack and the rippling muscles.”
http://news.sky.com/story/1101193/steroids-put-teenage-bodybuilders-at-riskSocial tagging: anabolic steroids > banned substances > body image > bodybuilding > steroids > supplements