Vital to Athletes; A Healthy Liver

A healthy liver is essential to optimum performance by athletes. Good liver function is required to burn fat, build muscle, and provide energy.

Whether your a professional or high school athlete, or you're a mom trying to fight that flab, we all need to focus on maintaining good liver function.

The liver clears the toxins and handles processing proteins and fats. A healthy liver burns fat and allows protein to build those muscles.

A weak liver, or a liver that is overwhelmed with toxins and stress will not be able to preform these task efficiently.

To achieve the amazing strength and powerful, muscular bodies that many athletes strive for, the liver is often forgotten and abused.

Due to the extreme steps that come with success, the liver is often exposed to extreme work.

Extremes in diet, overuse of "performance enhancing" drugs (whether prescription or OTC), and too many supplements can all overwhelm your liver.

A healthy diet, being mindful of the amount of pills your ingesting, and a few choice liver supplements can keep the body building muscle and burning fat efficiently, and keep that liver running smoothly for years to come.

Here are some steps that every athlete can take to keep the liver strong and functioning well:

Healthy Livers for Teen Athletes

Teen athletes and the abuse of over-the-counter drugs: Media coverage of elite athletes increasingly includes reports of the use of performance-enhancing drugs to perform better, increase muscle mass and fight fatigue.

Unfortunately, many teen athletes in high school and even middle school are taking these drugs, too.

The reasons they are doing this may be frustration over being at a plateau in training, peer pressure, and just plain old curiosity.

Many of them think that their coaches and parents will look the other way regarding the use of these products.

Performance-enhancing substances come in both prescription and over-the-counter versions, and can be very harmful to a growing teen's liver health. The following are among the most available (and abused):

  • Creatine-Creatine is most commonly used for improving exercise performance and increasing muscle mass in athletes and older adults. It is made by the body and can also be obtained from certain foods. Fish and meats provide good sources of creatine without impairing liver function.
  • Steroid Precursors-These are substances converted by the body to anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are used to build muscle and increase endurance. They are illegal without a prescription. However, one steroid precursor, DHEA, is still available in over-the-counter form. Potential side effects are the same as those of anabolic steroids.
  • Ephedra-This is also referred to as ma huang. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned ephedra from being sold in dietary supplements in 2004, the rule does not apply to traditional Chinese remedies. This means that ma huang tea or other herbal products that contain ma huang can still be purchased.

What should parents do to prevent their teenagers from abusing performance-enhancing drugs?

  1. Reassure your children that they have your love and support regardless of how they perform athletically. Children who feel overly-pressured to succeed by coaches and parents may be more tempted to use these drugs to boost performance.
  2. Discuss sports ethics with your children. Explain that the use of a drug to boost their performance is similar to cheating on a test.
  3. Explain the risk. You can click on any one of the drugs listed above to find out about the possible risk and side effects of each to your child.
  4. Try to monitor your child's purchasing of these types of products. Be aware that these may be purchased over the internet. Always check labels for ingredients, even if the products appear to be harmless.

As parents, you have the most influence over whether or not your children use drugs. Educate yourself and be aware of how these products affect your children so you can teach them that performance-enhancing drugs are not worth using.

There is information throughout about foods and high-quality supplements that can improve your child's, and your, health without harmful effects to their liver and their growing bodies.

I invite you to continue exploring, subscribe to the free quarterly newsletter, and keep in mind that new information is being added daily as the website continues to grow.

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