Welcome to the Booster Club

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:14 AM ET

CAFFEINE:

WHAT IT DOES: Increases your heart rate and breathing, creating a sense of being more alert.

WHERE IT'S FOUND: Coffee, energy drinks, caffeine pills, chocolate and soft drinks. Highly caffeinated Red Bull became legal to see in Canada in June. A can of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine, 20-40 mg less than a typical cup of coffee.

WHAT IT COSTS: Energy drinks can run a few bucks each. And coffee prices can vary widely.

NEGATIVES: Can cause nervousness. The effects are short term, leading to a crash, like coming off a sugar high. Because caffeine is a diuretic, it leads to dehydration.

ANABOLIC STEROIDS

WHAT IT DOES: Manufactured or synthesized derivatives of the male hormone, testosterone, they help muscles recover faster and become larger by nature.

WHERE IT'S FOUND: Legally, available only be prescription. Illegally, through dealers in pill or liquid form. Police say the street stuff can be laced with other substances, including glass cleaner. Human growth hormone is available if you have the right connection.

WHAT IT COSTS: Pills start at $1 each and the sky's the limit.

NEGATIVES: Liver damage. Heart disease. Teens who haven't fully grown risk stunting their growth. Other potential problems include tendon and ligament damage, muscle tears, acne, violent mood swings, breast enlargement for boys and facial hair for women.

CREATINE:

WHAT IT DOES: By pulling fluid into the muscle cells, it helps heal muscles and increase their size.

WHERE IT'S FOUND: Available at health food stores, supplement shops and even grocery stores.

WHAT IT COSTS: Tubs of the powder start at about $30.

NEGATIVES: The recommended dosage is five grams per day, but there's no guarantee that anybody, especially teens, will not use more. Too much can put a strain on kidneys and the liver. Also could produce headaches, dehydration and increased blood pressure. Body mass increase is due, in part, to water retention.

PROTEIN POWDERS:

WHAT IT DOES: Derived from sources such as milk, egg and soy, the theory behind protein powders is increased intake -- with reduced fat -- will help muscles regenerate faster and bigger.

WHERE IT'S FOUND: Health food stores, supplement shops, grocery stores and drug stores.

WHAT IT COSTS: Thirty bucks and up for tubs.

NEGATIVES: Detractors say your wallet is the biggest loser. The reality is most people get enough protein in their daily diet. Fish, eggs, chicken and beef have loads of protein. Too much protein can cause the kidneys to work too hard.

EPHEDRINE:

WHAT IT DOES: Derived from the ephedra plant, it was first used for asthma medications and decongestants. A stimulant, it increases heart rates and depresses appetite. Used as an energy boost before workouts. Used to lose body fat.

WHERE IT'S FOUND: Pills are limited to 8 mg and can be found at health food and supplement shops. Ephedrine can be found in cold medications, antihistamines and supplements.

WHAT IT COSTS: A bottle of 8 mg pills could run you about $30.

NEGATIVES: Side effects could include increased blood pressure, strokes, seizures, heart attacks, insomnia, tremors and headaches.


Videos

Photos