Supplements: Under Regulated and Maybe Dangerous to Your Health

This week, 19 members of a high school football team in Oregon suffered damage to their muscles following a fall sports camp.  Five athletes were sent home from the emergency room, and the remaining 11 were admitted for IV fluids to prevent dehydration and potential kidney failure.  Three were sent to surgery for compartment syndrome to relieve pressure caused from soreness and swelling in their arm muscles.  All had elevated creatine kinase, an enzyme released by muscles when injured.  Certainly that is not the successful preseason start any coach wants for their team!    

What causes elevated creatine kinase?  Extreme exercise, certain medications and food supplements are all triggers.   The sports camp this football team attended, like most, resulted in a rapid spike in activity levels combined with warm summer temperatures.  One has to assume adequate fluid was provided.  However, teens are notorious for not drinking adequate fluids, on a schedule during workouts, and what about the power mixes?  Blood tests will hopefully demonstrate what role these protein supplements played.  While everyone prays for a speedy recovery for this team, we need to use it as a teachable moment. 

  • Conditioning is important all summer long, well before sports camps and the first day of practice.  Conditioning allows the body to adapt to physical stress, safely. 
  • Drink on a schedule.
    • 2 cups fluid 2 hours prior to your workout
    • 1-2 cups fluid 15 minutes prior to your workout
    • 6-12 ounces fluid every 15-20 minutes during
    • 2 cups fluid per pound lost following
  •  Supplements are poorly regulated!  Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) the dietary supplement manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed.  The FDA is responsible for taking action against unsafe supplement products after it reaches the market.  In general, the makers of supplements do not need to register their products with the FDA or get approval before producing or selling dietary supplements. 

There is no substitute for proper, progressive training and nourishing your body with real, whole foods!

For more information see:

Categories: Sports Nutrition

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2 replies

  1. I’m confused and admit didn’t read the links. Was this due to supplements? Any idea what supplements this team was taking? Scary enough with adults and multiple (under regulated) supplements, teens makes me even more nervous.


  2. Lauren,

    Here is the preliminary report from the county health examiner:

    Click to access OPHD_Football_Prelim_Report.pdf

    It basically recommends adequate hydration and to use caution, rest breaks when using repetitive exercise in compartmented muscle groups.


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