What Do Athletes Need to Pay Attention to When They Take Dietary Supplements?

- Jul 30, 2018-



The International Olympic Committee (IOC) provides a reference information map for athletes and dietary supplement users to help determine whether or not to take or avoid dietary supplements.

The infographic developed by the IOC Medical and Scientific Committee guides users through flowcharts to ask questions to further determine whether a supplement should be taken.

Examples ask users about scientific evidence about supplements and the incidence of adverse reactions, drug interactions, and dosage requirements for supplements.

It will also check labels and manufacture credentials, because the information chart asks the user whether there is any prohibited substance on the label and the details of the manufacturer's quality assurance program.

Referring to the results of the May 2017 Committee meeting, lead author Dr. Ron Maughan explained that there was limited evidence of the efficacy of many supplements used by athletes.

"Even in the case of certain evidence, there are few studies from elite athletes, and few studies use experimental models like sports," said Dr. Maughan, an honorary professor at the University of St Andrews medical school and a member of the International Olympic Committee.


"The decision tree has been transformed into information map, which can help athletes and support personnel to complete the decision-making process."

IOC conference results

"Fortunately, the serious side effects of supplements are rare," Dr. Maughan said.

The supplement market, including herbal and plant medicine, is more familiar with products such as protein milkshakes, sports drinks and fortified foods, usually in the form of intensive nutrient separation or enrichment.

However, the market may be easily affected by products and drugs, which are usually imported from overseas, without the stringent quality control standards and regulations that are not expected by the consumer.

The news that the Irish food safety agency (FSAI) was interested in recovering a series of brand food supplements in March was reported to have the authority to suspect that some products were contaminated by illegal steroids and stimulants.

Regulatory tests found that the stimulant methylhexamine (MHA) was not declared to be a component of any of Falcon Labs'Oxyburnpro and Superclen products.

Unlisted active substance

In April, the Norway food safety agency and the Customs Service (Mattilsynet) claimed that of the 70 kinds of supplements purchased through foreign online stores, 27 had been found, anabolic steroids, high caffeine content and prescription drugs.


"Imports of products containing drugs and anabolic steroids are illegal and will be alerted by the Customs General Administration," said Merethe Steen, head of Mattilsynet.

"We have also found several examples. The active substances found in the analysis are not included in the list of product components. This is very dangerous because people do not know the danger they are facing. "

In a research paper based on an infographic, Dr. Maughan, along with other IOC members, commented on efforts to address these issues.

These include the use of third party audits, such as the certified global quality assurance program provided by the Informed-Sport, to identify "low risk" products that athletes may consider containing prohibited substances.

"There is no absolute guarantee that any product is completely safe, but these programs do help athletes manage risk," the paper said.

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