Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do muscle-building supplements work?"
I started working out and want some fast results. I know that there are a lot of different supplements you can take to build your muscles. Are these steroids or designer steroids? Are they safe to take if I'm only 21, male?
Health and nutrition supplements are a very interesting part of the American health system, one that brings in billions of dollars to companies annually. Companies are especially interested in these products because there is very little government oversight. For example, when drug companies market medications, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requirements that demand that the company prove that the medications not only are safe, but that they work. This is obviously a very expensive process. But supplements can avoid all of this: they require only marginal safety data and absolutely no proof that they work. That is why so many of these supplements use testimonials to demonstrate that they work: there IS no solid proof. That being said, your body needs protein to build muscle. Some proteins supplements therefore at least have a scientific basis for working. Creatine is another supplement that attempts to mimic what the body uses and creates naturally. There is some evidence that supplementation with this product can increase muscle mass. Both protein and creatine supplements can be dangerous, however, and it is important to speak to your doctor or a sports medicine physician before starting any supplement for a specific goal.
Need more info?See a dietitian today
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.