chapter  8
12 Pages

Dietary Supplement (and Food) Safety for Athletes

The use of dietary supplements is widespread in all sports and at all levels of sport, reflecting the prevalence of use in the wider society. It is estimated that about half of the U.S. population uses dietary supplements (Bailey et al. 2011) and a similar prevalence is likely in many other countries. There are many reasons individuals choose to use supplements (Fennell 2004): maintenance of good health and prevention of illness are commonly cited reasons for use, even though health claims regulations in most countries prevent the promotion of supplements for these purposes. More specific uses of supplements include increased alertness, weight loss, alleviation of muscle and joint pain, etc. Some of these effects are attractive to athletes, but there is an additional focus on supplements that have the potential to improve performance, either during training or in competition. With such widespread use of supplements in the general population and with the specific focus of athletes on both physical and mental performance, it is perhaps not surprising that a high prevalence of supplement use is reported in most surveys of athletes (Maughan et al. 2007).