What's available and what's the benefit
Sales of protein powders and supplements are going through the roof in Ireland and internationally.
There are a wide variety of supplements on the market which includes commonly taken multivitamins and iron, probiotics, sports drinks and sports bars.
Sports supplements are widely available, without age restriction, in many high street shops and the internet.
Among the supplements on the market are:
* Protein supplements: They come in a variety of forms such as whey, caesin, egg and soy. They generally claim one or more of the following -- enhanced recovery, decreased fatigue and increased muscle mass. A 250g tub of whey protein can be bought on the internet for around €13. Protein smoothies can be bought for around ¿3.50, while more expensive protein powder formulations can cost nearly ¿70 for a large tub.
* Creatine: A compound derived from amino acids, and ingested from food sources like meat, fish and eggs. Creatine can be purchased as a powder, in capsule form or in liquid form. Provides a source of high energy. Performance benefits include increased sprint times and agility. Creatine capsules can be bought from around €25 for 120.
* Caffeine: Acts on the central nervous system to reduce fatigue and increase alertness. It can reduce perceived exertion or pain during exercise. 100 tablets cost about €5.40
Pat Henry, fitness expert and lecturer, said sales of protein powders and supplements are going through the roof.
"Young lads don't need that amount of supplements. They are definitely taking in too much protein," the expert said.
"They are taking overdoses and that is when the damage is done to their kidneys.
"I think protein powders taken in small quantities as recommended on the box is fine. But most people will not take the recommended dose," Mr Henry told the Herald.