There was a time not too long ago when I felt my energy was waning and I thought a good workout supplement would do the trick.

So I asked the trainer with whom I was working with at the time what he recommended. I told him I wanted to see results in as short a period of time as possible.

Creatine was what he proposed.

So I bought a vial of the liquid form, but after about a month of using it, noticed not so much definition but more water retention.

There had also been a couple of other things I’d tried…like a supplement my wife takes to help her with her lupus.

I gave that one a shot for about 3 weeks but realized I developed acne on my back and a hairpin trigger of a temper.

Screw that one!

There were other one-shots deals I may have given a chance, but all in all decided to ditch them in favor of just simply working out and letting my body call the shots at its own pace.

However, while that may work for me, there are plenty others who’ll try anything that comes down the pike. I see it all the time with the "meatheads" in the gym, lugging gallon jugs of some suspicious liquids resembling urine.

The latest supplement is put out by a company in New York called Craze.

A supplement sold as an all-natural weight loss pill by Lakewood-based Gaspari Nutrition contains a methamphetamine-like chemical, U.S. researchers have found.
The company’s supplement, called Detonate, raises significant health and regulatory concerns, the researchers said.

The chemical also was found in the popular and controversial sports supplement, Craze, a pre-workout powder made by New York-based Driven Sports and marketed as containing only natural ingredients.

Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the analysis being published this week in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Drug Testing and Analysis said, “these are basically brand-new drugs that are being designed in clandestine laboratories where there’s absolutely no guarantee of quality control.”

“It has never been studied in the human body,” Cohen warned. “Yes, it might make you feel better or have you more pumped up in your workout, but the risks you might be putting your body under of heart attack and stroke are completely unknown.”

The company sells dozens of weight training and nutritional supplements. It is led by Rich Gaspari, a body-builder who finished runner-up three times in the 1980s in the Mr. Olympia contest.

Craze, which is marketed as giving “unrelenting energy and focus” in workouts, was named 2012’s “New Supplement of the Year” by A USA Today investigation published in July reported on other tests detecting amphetamine-like compounds in Craze.

While and several online retailers have stopped selling Craze in the wake of USA Today’s investigation, the product has continued to be sold elsewhere online and in GNC stores. In recent weeks, Driven Sports’ website, which offers Craze for sale, has said the product is out of stock. Detonate is sold by a variety of online retailers.

Because of the government shutdown, officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which oversees dietary supplements, could not be reached, nor could the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Cohen said researchers informed the FDA in May about finding the new chemical compound in Craze. The team found the compound — N,alpha-diethylphenylethylamine — has a structure similar to methamphetamine, a powerful, highly addictive, illegal stimulant drug. They believe the new compound is likely less potent than methamphetamine but greater than ephedrine.

Cohen said, “there are suggestions about how it’s tweaked that it should not be as addictive as meth,” But because it hasn’t been studied, he said, its dangers aren’t known. The team said it began testing Craze in response to several failed urine drug tests by athletes who said they had taken Craze.

Driven Sports has issued repeated statements in recent months that Craze does not contain any amphetamine-like compounds, including posting test results on its website that it says prove the product is clean. In July, a USA Today investigation revealed that a top Driven Sports official — Matt Cahill — is a convicted felon who has a history of selling risky dietary supplements, including products with ingredients linked to severe liver injury and at least one death. Cahill is currently facing federal charges in California involving his introduction of another supplement, Rebound XT, to the market in 2008 that contained an estrogen-reducing drug, and this spring a grand jury was also investigating, USA Today has reported.

That’s generally why I look to avoid supplements with wacked out names. Then again, I look to avoid a good many supplements - period, outside of L-Arginine and Omega 3 capsules; and something else – good old fashioned water!

Do you take supplements to work out, and if so, which ones?