Creatine & Andro

Statement of the Problem

In the passed few years there has been an increase in the popularity of
performance-enhancing supplements that are used by athletes. Some of the most
popular of these supplements are creatine and androstenedione. They are used by
some very famous athletes in professional sports. There are many problems that
go along with using these supplements that are not only health-wise, but also the
message that is being sent to children involved in youth athletics. Athletes today
are not thinking of what kind effects will happen to them in the long run.
However, they are looking for easier ways of training and enhancing their
performance. They are under a great deal of pressure to succeed and win all the
time that it must be easier to find a short cut to being an elite athlete. In this paper
I will explore the risks with these supplements, some regulations that are placed on
athletes to, and if they truly work. Also I will give an overview of what both
creatine and androstenedione are.

Introduction

For as long as I can remember I have been involved in athletics of all kinds
and have always loved the atmosphere that sports provide. Being involved in both
high school basketball and golf and now finally playing golf for Xavier, I have
been subjected to rigorous training and conditioning. Never once did I have the
aid of any type of artificial supplement or performance-enhancing drug helping me
condition or build muscles faster. However, when I was in high school I was
aware of may guys who were taking these supplements such as creatine and
androstenedione and getting very muscular, extremely fast. “Creatine and
androstenedione” were common words used around the halls of my school.
Hearing these words made me curious about what exactly they were, what the
effects they had on athletes, and if they were illegal. I found it very interesting
that these supplements were somehow all over the news and that some really
famous athletes had used them. I wondered if they were safe to use and if they
had any side effects. In researching this topic of artificial supplements and
performance-enhancing drugs, I had many mixed feelings about how I felt about
their use by athletes. However, after my research was completed I have a firm
opinion that these supplements should be banned from athletics all together.

Research Questions

Many questions came up during my research of these
performance-enhancing supplements. Among one of my first questions was,
“What exactly are creatine and androstenedione?” This and many of the other
questions I had about the supplements were answered for me in a recent article
from People Weekly entitled “Hazard Alert.(muscle-building supplements taken by
athletes)” which was a interview of correspondent Jennifer Longley by Charles
Yesalis, a professor at Penn State who spent 19 years studying the use of
performance-enhancing drugs by athletes. According to this article:

Creatine is an amino acid in everyone’s body. It’s taken to significantly
enhance reserves in your muscle fuel tank, allowing you to work out
longer and more intensely. There’s no evidence to show that it’s
anabolic--that is, that it’s going to build muscle in and of itself. But it
could lead to modest muscle gain because it allows you to work out
harder. Androstenedione is a sex steroid hormone, which is converted in
your body to testosterone. The controversy is whether it is anabolic, and
whether it increases testosterone when taken in large quantities. It’s
legally classified as a food supplement. But I think that’s bunk. It’s a
drug. (Hazard Alert 143).
After fully understanding the meaning of these definitions and explanations I
became more curious. Grasping the whole concept of these supplements was hard
enough for the average person to handle and how scientific everything has truly
become. No longer are athletes alone in training, but now have the aid of these
supplements. It seems as almost an unfair advantage over other athletes who are
not using these artificial aids.
After thinking of these supplements as an unfair advantage I needed proof
that they did work. Longley had come to this conclusion, “There’s credible
evidence that creatine does work. . .The gains in energy and strength are small--but
significant enough to be very valuable to a competitive athlete. I’m skeptical
about androstenedione. I could make an argument that it does work, but I’ve heard
some anecdotal evidence that it does.”(Hazard Alert 143). Also in Longley’s
answer to if creatine works she rates creatine on a scale from 0 to 100 of
performance-enhancing abilities as about a 15 and anabolic steroids being 100. So
this shows