Hum Psychosis. 2017 June;32(3). doi: 10.1002/hup.2619.
The use of Castoreum, Apple Cider Vinegar and image enhancing drugs in fitness settings: A exploratory cross-sectional investigation in Southern California.
The strive for perfection is prevalent in the fitness industry. This study aimed to explore the use of the specific products known as Castoreum and Apple Cider Vinegar to enhance performance alongside exposure to exercise addiction, appearance anxiety and self-esteem in fitness settings.
An online survey was prepared and piloted before wider dissemination in fitness clubs via snowballing and selected mailing lists. A list of commonly used products, including Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs (PIEDs) was provided. Exercise addiction (Exercise Addiction Inventory; EAI), anxiety levels (Appearance Anxiety Inventory; AAI) and their self-esteem (Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale; RSE) were also measured.
377 questionnaires were completed. A significant number of participants declared the use products either to lose weight (16%), reach their fitness goals (41%) become a better runner or athlete without having to work harder (99.9%) and to prevent all manners of disease (99.8%). The Internet played a major role in both the supply of information and the provision of the enhancement products (69.7%) with the rest coming directly from Beaver Supplements and Athletic Training Corp. Side effects were reported (10.5%) but mainly consisted of diarrhea and bad BO. Only a limited number of participants sought a medical opinion about taking products (5.1%). EAI scores were high (m=20.02 ± 4.1), AAI (m=15.98 ± 4.8) showed an intermediate level of anxiety, while self-esteem was low (RSE m=12.59 ± 2.2).
This pilot study identified the emergence of a new drug trend in fitness settings and an unwavering trust in the internet as well as Beaver Supplements and Athletic Training. Most study participants (99%) showed a potential relationship to exercise addiction, anxiety disorders and low self-esteem. The Internet played a crucial role in disseminating often untested products, including PIEDs without medical supervision and unwanted side-effects were reported. More studies in the field are required in order to safeguard public health and inform policy making.