A minefield for athletes
Sports supplementation is an ever growing industry and as athletes we are enticed by very clever marketing strategies and testimonials. Internationally athletes using sports supplementation is estimated to be as high as 89% with the majority of consumers being elite athletes and older athletes. Unfortunately the manufacturing and marketing of supplements is not regulated leaving athletes vulnerable to false advertising and misleading claims.
Almost every athlete wants the extra edge to improve performance and are motivated to use supplementation to enhance performance and recovery, increase energy, prevent illness and boost immunity, maintain health, lose body fat and gain lean muscle mass. Athletes are quick to purchase supplements yet often don’t take the time to find out what they really need to help them with their goals taking advice from friends, family, the internet and retailers rather than professionals.
Many athletes may not be aware of what is really in their supplementation, where it comes from and how it will affect their body. A supplement should be assessed thoroughly for both overt and hidden ingredients which may be toxic or if used inappropriately may be problematic and or contraindicated with other nutrients or medications the athlete may be using.
Supplementation may be beneficial for the athlete and help with performance, recovery, energy, body composition and immunity. However if you are looking to optimise your goals a thorough baseline study, nutritional assessment, systems analysis and training schedule should be analysed prior to purchase of a supplement.
REF: Nutrition and Athletic Performance, Position of Dietitians of Canada, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine, 2016,