Men in their quest for a muscular and lean body often choose supplements as a one stop shop. However, dependence and overuse on these products though legal could be a reflection of deeper problems to point where it could qualify as an eating disorder in its nascent state, according to research findings presented at the American psychological Association annual convention on Thursday.
The increased objectification by the media of men’s bodies could partially be to blame for this enhanced use of supplements, say the researchers. The focus of the study was on supplements enhancing performance or legal appearance including whey protein, L-cartinine, and creatine since they purport to provide the user with the exact type of body that they are striving for. This ‘exact’ body type is also often perceived to be balanced, muscular and low fat similar to the physiques sported by some of the celebrities.
Richard Achiro, from California School of Professional Psychology speaking to Fox News said that the marketing efforts tailored to addressing the insecurities that are associated with masculinity encourage positioning these products as a perfect ‘solution’ to fill the void experienced by many men in our society.
The men who participated in the study did look healthy and fit, but the deterioration of their body on account of use of supplements could signal emotional issues that are underlying.
Achiro added further that even when they are looking good externally, are they suffering from excessive diarrhea? Are their kidneys and liver beginning to give up from the need to get rid of the toxins?
The 195 persons who participated in the study were in the age group of 18 and 65 and the mean age was 33. In the past 30 days all these men had also consumed one legal supplement or the other and they had a workout regimen of at least twice a week. Researchers further took help from an online survey to collect information on use of supplements, body image, self esteem, conflict in gender roles, and eating habits.
The study noted that 29% men were concerned with the use of supplements while 40% had increased its use which according to researchers was an indication of the underlying emotional and psychological issues preventing individuals from staying away from what they knew was dangerous behavior.