Dietary sport supplements have gained tremendous popularity in the last several decades and are now an established part of the landscape of modern sport.
However, some athletes who take supplements have no clear understanding of the potential effects. This includes the benefits and any potential risks associated with the product. Before deciding to use any supplement, the risks and rewards need to be weighed.
Most recently, the International Olympic Committee published a consensus statement on dietary supplements in The British Journal of Sports Medicine (1). Authored by leading researchers in the field of sports nutrition, the statement warned against taking these products without weighing the risks and benefits associated with their consumption. In some circumstances, products can be a waste of money while others may cause serious harm.
Approximately two-thirds of the adult Australian population uses some form of dietary supplement (2). In athletes, the level of prevalence is thought to be even higher (3). Surveys of athletes generally indicate that supplement use varies across different sports and activities, increases with level of performance and age and is higher in men than in women (3).
Rewards could include correction of nutrient deficiencies, achievement of nutritional goals, or performance enhancement. While risks could include inappropriate use of supplements, such as consuming too much or taking at an inappropriate time. A more ominous type of risk that is generally unbeknownst to the athlete is contamination and adulteration.
The biggest concern for athletes who compete under an anti-doping code (usually the World Anti-Doping Code, as published by WADA) is that supplements can contain prohibited substances that result in an anti-doping rule violation. This includes products containing ingredients on the Prohibited List (WADA.ama.org.).
Supplements that contain prohibited substances as an undeclared ingredient or contaminants continue to be a problem with some reports, estimating up to 15 percent of sports products sold worldwide containing undeclared ingredients (4).
The range of prohibited substances found as undeclared ingredients in supplements now includes products from many sections of WADA’s List of Prohibited Substances and Methods, including stimulants, anabolic agents, selective androgen receptor modulators, and diuretics (5). (A point to note here is that WADA, and country-based chapters, including ASADA in Australia, is the authority on keeping competitive sport clean and fair. They do not endorse or test any individual product or supplement.)
Athletes who use products that are Informed-Sport Certified ensure that the products are safe for sport and noncontaminated. Informed-Sport screens for more than 160 substances that have been banned in sport and may pose a threat in terms of product contamination. Isagenix has ensured all AMPED™ products carry this certification, as well as other products that are commonly used by athletes, including Ionix® Supreme, e+ energy shots and IsaLean™ PRO. For more information, see www.Informed-Sport.com for a full listing of the Isagenix products that are batch-tested for safety and purity.
Another way to ensure supplement security is to use products with an established track record for safety and efficacy. Supplements that directly and/or indirectly improve sports performance, with a strong evidence base that supports their use as safe, legal, and effective is a must. The IOC names ingredients including caffeine, creatine, nitrates, beta-alanine, vitamin D, vitamin C, carbohydrate, polyphenols, zinc, glutamine, omega-3 fatty acids and beta-glucans (1). Protein is the premier ingredient in sports supplements especially when combined with resistive exercise (6). All the above ingredients are found in Isagenix products, which reflects our commitment to science and safety.
- Maughan RJ, Burke LM, Dvorak J et al. IOC consensus statement: dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete. Br J Sports Med. 2018 Apr;52(7):439-455.
- NHMRC CAM001 April 2014
- Knapik JJ, Steelman RA, Hoedebecke SS et al. Prevalence of Dietary Supplement Use by Athletes: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. 2016 Jan;46(1):103-23.
- Geyer H, Parr MK, Koehler K et al. Nutritional supplements cross-contaminated and faked with doping substances. J Mass Spectrom. 2008 Jul;43(7):892-902.
- Martínez-Sanz JM, Sospedra I, Ortiz CM et al. Intended or Unintended Doping? A Review of the Presence of Doping Substances in Dietary Supplements Used in Sports. Nutrients. 2017 Oct 4;9(10).
- Hector AJ, Phillips SM. Protein Recommendations for Weight Loss in Elite Athletes: A Focus on Body Composition and Performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2018 Feb 19:1-8.