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Dr. Michael Omidi On More Teens Turning to Protein

Dr. Michael Omidi looks at recent studies that imply that teenagers are taking more dietary supplements than ever before. Dr. Michael Omidi discusses the effects that this is having on teenagers, including how it may be leading to other dangerous behaviors just to bulk up.

Adolescence is a difficult age for any teenager that is going through it. Teens wish to be older, to already have a place to call their own, a new car, or wish that they were bigger and stronger. In this last instance many teens have resorted to taking dietary-supplements, specifically protein shakes, powders, and pills.

In a study conducted by University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, researchers led by Maria Eisenberg found that almost 35% of teens surveyed admitted to using protein supplements to help them build muscle and to bulk up. These findings stand in stark contrast to other studies that estimated the use of protein supplements to be prevalent in about 10% of male teenagers and 8% of teenage females.

The survey that was used for this study was part of the Eating and Activity in Teens study and it included a 235-question self-report survey and additional measurements of the male and female participants. Ultimately the study encompassed almost 2,800 students with a mean age of 14.4, was nearly evenly divided between males and females, and took into account issues of race, gender, socioeconomic status, and school level amongst other factors.

This news is unsettling as many of these children (and adults as well for that matter) do not understand the negative effects that too much protein can have on one’s diet. Just some of the negative side effects of taking too much protein include:

  • Stress on the Kidneys – High levels of protein in the diet can put undue stress on the kidneys as the protein molecule is larger and more difficult for the kidneys to excrete. Putting this much pressure on a pair of young kidneys can have significant effects not only in kidney function but also blood pressure.
  • Fat Not Muscle – When you eat excessive protein it does not just simply turn to muscle, in fact protein turns to fat when consumed beyond daily recommended requirements. Even when working out or exercising regularly, when going beyond the requirements of the body the protein will merely turn to fat.
  • Calcium Deficiency – Over time excess protein can lead to an increase of protein being excreted through the urine. Though this is primarily a concern among adult women, a decreasing amount of calcium can lead to osteoperosis down the road.

Knowing the necessary requirement of protein in the diet of you and/or your teenager is important to making sure you get enough but not too much. Here are average protein requirements from WebMD:

  • Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.
  • Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.
  • Adult men need about 56 grams a day.
  • Adult women need about 46 grams a day.

For more of the latest health information and news please visit my Dr. Michael Omidi website.


Cee, Jenna. “Can You Overdose on Protein?” LIVESTRONG.COM. DemandMedia, 26 Apr. 2011. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <>.

“Daily Protein Requirements: Are You Getting Enough?” WebMD. Ed. Kathleen M. Zelman. WebMD, 02 July 2012. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.

Petrochko, Cole. “Teens Turn to Protein Shakes to Pump Up.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 19 Nov. 2012. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <>.

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