It’s a physique many try to achieve: big bulky muscles. But some are looking for a faster, yet doctors say far more dangerous way to get there.
“They think over the counter, it must be safe,” said Dr. Margaret Millar, a sports medicine specialist in Moline.
Designer steroids–man-made testosterone in a bottle–is appealing to all ages. “Statistics say it’s a huge problem in our high schools,” said Dr. Millar.
In a News 8 hidden camera investigation, we learn one Quad City supplement store is pushing the over-the-counter drugs to the young and inexperienced.
“This stuff works awesome,” the store manager told our undercover photographer. The “stuff” is a hot seller to those wanting to get ripped fast. But not everyone is aware of its heavy price.
“I think they want a free lunch and there is no such thing,” said Dr. Millar who has seen the nasty side affects in her patients. “Inability to reproduce, inability to have an erection,” she said. “It makes man boobs and it shrivels up their testicles, creates hair loss and they get acne.”
That laundry list of harmful reasons is why several Quad Cities supplement stores we called don’t sell synthetic steroids, Except one, which not only sells them, they brag about it.
In a radio ad currently airing on Quad City radio stations, Complete Nutrition in Davenport boasts about its man-made steroid called 5-Deca-Zol.
“With these results you won’t believe it’s legal,” the announcer says. “You won’t find this product online or any other retail stores.”
It’s a product, Complete Nutrition markets as a “hardcore supplement”. It was the first and only item pitched to our undercover weight-lifting rookie.
“This is like your hardest core thing, the 5-Deca-Zol,” the Complete Nutrition store manager told him. “It’ll make you throw around some weight you haven’t thrown around–especially if you haven’t done it before.”
“Is it safe?” our photographer asks. “Yeah,” replied the manager.
5-Deca-Zol is just one of many over-the-counter designer steroids that are legal to sell. But that may be changing as the FDA is now pouring more of its resources into banning the pills. In a 2009 health advisory, the FDA even warns consumers to stop using the body-building products. Some argue it’s only a matter of time before products like 5-Deca-Zol become illegal.
“I think it’ll probably not be on the market much longer,” said Dr. Millar.
A personal trainer tells News 8, “I think they’ll probably start pulling it,” said Kevin Hopper, Quad Cities Sports Performance. “It’s a product that’s a step ahead of the FDA right now, but that’s what all products are trying to do is stay one step ahead.”
Complete Nutrition declined our requests for an interview. But in a statement, a company spokesperson writes,
“The products you are referring to that are found in the store, when used according to label, are safe and effective. We incorporate quality, personalized healthy solutions at our stores with the support of trained consultants. We put a huge emphasis on training our staff to work closely with customers to educate them about everything they need to know about our products, and how to use them properly.”