(HealthDay News) — Health food store employees frequently recommend creatine and testosterone boosters to under-age, male high school athletes, according to a study published online Jan. 2 in Pediatrics.

Maguire Herriman, from the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Lake Success, N.Y., and colleagues had research personnel posing as 15-year-old high school athletes seeking to increase muscle strength contact 244 health food stores in the United States via telephone. If the sales attendant’s initial recommendations did not include creatine or testosterone boosters, researchers asked about those supplements specifically, as well as the ability of a 15-year-old to purchase those products.

The researchers found that 67.2 percent of sales attendants recommended creatine, with 38.5 percent recommending creatine without prompting. A testosterone booster was recommended by 9.8 percent of sales attendants. Just under three-quarters (74.2 percent) of sales attendants stated a 15-year-old could purchase creatine, while 41.4 percent stated a 15-year-old could purchase a testosterone booster.

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“In response to these findings, pediatricians should inform their teenage patients, especially athletes, about safe, healthy methods to improve athletic performance and discourage them from using creatine or testosterone boosters,” the authors write.

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