How do you know whether or not it’s OK to take vitamins, steroids, supplements?
As always, check with your healthcare provider before taking any vitamins, steroids, or other supplements, especially if you are taking prescription medications and/or have any health issues.
Many people think it is fine to take a daily multivitamin, but it’s not a good idea to take more than what your healthcare provider recommends or what’s stated on the label. Even if you’re taking a multivitamin it’s important to still eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein. Your body tends to absorb nutrients better from food than pills. Your provider might also recommend specific vitamins based on your particular body and health needs. Some people recommend taking multivitamins with food to help your body absorb them. Check out these vitamin tips.
You may have seen steroids mentioned in the press or heard your friends talking about them. Athletes have been using them to enhance their performance. But, what are they anyway? Steroids are artificial (synthetic) substances related to the male sex hormones such as testosterone. They are taken by mouth (orally) or injected (into your muscles). They can promote skeletal muscle growth (anabolic effects) and the development of male sexual characteristics (androgenic effects). According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, steroids “can be legally prescribed to treat conditions resulting from steroid hormone deficiency, such as delayed puberty, as well as diseases that result in loss of lean muscle mass, such as cancer and AIDS”.
Many people use steroids on their own to beef up their muscles. The danger is steroid use can often cause serious health problems. Some of the potential side effects include:
- Liver damage
- Jaundice (yellowish pigmentation of skin, tissues, and body fluids)
- Fluid retention (swelling)
- High blood pressure
- Increases in LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
- Decreases in HDL (“good” cholesterol)
- Renal (kidney) failure
- Severe acne
- Shrinking of the testicles
- Reduced sperm count and infertility
- Development of breasts (in men)
- Increased risk for prostate cancer
Want to learn more about nutritional supplements? Check out these resources from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.