Factors like poor body image and low-self esteem are forcing a large number of men to consume bodybuilding supplements available over-the-counter. Researchers are saying that this habit constitutes an emerging eating disorder.

Whey protein, L-cartinine and creatine are some of the supplements men use for improving their physique and athletic performance. They are available in the majority of vitamin shops and grocery stores. Also, they can be purchased from online stores too. The above mentioned supplements enjoy immense popularity among gym members; they sue them for building lean tissue mass and increasing energy.

Now, a research team at the Alliant Internal University in Los Angeles is saying that overuse of these products is increasing and the effects can be truly dangerous.

Richard Achiro, a representative of the university’s California School of Professional Psychology, informed that men are currently using bodybuilding supplements in an extremely risky manner, which can not only harm their physical health but can also be dangerous for their emotional wellbeing and relationships. Achiro added that overuse of these supplements is a variance or expression of eating disorder in men.

Unlike bulimia or anorexia in women, which occur from their desire of becoming thin, men are developing this new eating disorder because of their desire to have a physique which is both muscular and lean and consumption of supplements for achieving that goal.

According to Achiro, overuse of products that has not been approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), can make users suffer form side effects like kidney disease, renal failure and diarrhea.

He said that body dissatisfaction is not the only factor driving men to overuse supplements. The habit is resulting from a combination of factors including gender role conflict and low self-esteem.

Must Read: Bodybuilding supplements overuse leads to eating disorder in men

During the study that involved around 200 men who consumed bodybuilding supplements for one month, Achiro and his colleagues found that 29% showed concern about using those products. Eight percent said that they were asked by their doctors to stop or cut back, and 40% admitted that their use has increased with time.

Achiro said that he along with Peter Theodore, his co-researcher, has shown statistically that excessive use of bodybuilding supplements is a kind of eating disorder.

The research was presented at the American Psychological Association convention held in Toronto on Thursday.