Australia has seen a substantial spike in the sales of dietary supplements and workout enhancers over the past ten years. An intensifying love affair with gym culture, combined with a lack of substance awareness by our youth, has created a dangerous underworld similar to that of recreational drug use.
Driven by an army of media, pseudo-scientists and marketers, many of Australia's youth have turned to internet shopping to fulfill their desires of weight loss, muscle gain and ultimate health. But with little to no regulations on protein powders and dietary supplements in Australia and the US, are we doing more harm than good?
According to personal trainer and health expert, Nicola Cole, many pre-workout supplements contain ingredients with effects similar to that of the party drug speed.
"The idea of pre-workout supplements is to increase your heart rate and get the most out of your workout. When purchased online these products have been known to cause serious damage along with a dangerously a high heart rate, dizziness, nausea and vomiting," said Mrs Cole.
In Australia and the US, supplements are not regulated, therefore manufacturers do not need to prove the effectiveness of their products prior to distribution. In fact, manufacturers of protein powders are not required by law to inform their consumers of the potential side effects caused by their ingredients.
Last year the NSW Food Authority led an investigation into sports foods that consequently resulted in the banning of the ingredient 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA), found in most protein powders.
In a recent study of workout supplements bought online from overseas traders, six out of ten tested positive for additives including pesticides, heavy metals, and prescription medications.
While supplements if taken accurately and in moderation can often be helpful to your body, it is always best to seek professional advice and purchase your supplements from a reputable health food store. If you experience a side effect from a supplement contact your physician immediately.