"The amount, composition and timing of food intake can profoundly affect sports performance. Good nutritional practice will help athletes train hard, recover quickly, and adapt more effectively with less risk of illness and injury. The right diet will help athletes achieve an optimum body size and body composition to achieve greater success in their sport."
- IOC Sports Nutrition Consensus (2003)
For athletes and individuals looking to have improved performance and body composition, the number one priority should be eating better. The next step is to then supplement to address any deficiency of essential nutrients and/or target a specific physiological system. Just as important is ensuring that there is research demonstrating real benefit and safety of the supplement.
The FDA does not test the effectiveness, safety, or purity of supplements. There is no guarantee when it comes to accuracy of the ingredient list, accuracy of contents, and safety of contents. A 2001 study tested 634 products, 94 samples were positive for banned substances and 66 were questionable, roughly 25% of all samples. Meaning, chances are 1 in 4 supplements are questionable in nature for banned substances.
It is absolutely critical for athletes, especially collegiate athletes and those subject to drug testing to understand they may be unknowingly consuming a product that could result in them failing a drug test. Equally as important is each individual having a knowledge of what exactly they are putting into their body and potential interactions that may occur.
Below are a list of resources and strategies to help you become an informed consumer:
1. Check with www.wada-ama.org
2. Supplement/Food/Drug Interactions and be checked at nccam.nih.gov/health
3. When purchasing supplements, choose a larger company or look for certificates of Third Party Analysis.
4. Check www.consumerlab.com
for accuracy of label claims
5. Select products with few ingredients