SUPPLEMENTS AND DRUGS IN SPORT -
WHAT ATHLETES REALLY USE?
Dikic, Nenad Radivojevic
Agency of Serbia
Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) categorized nutritional supplements
(NS) in four groups: group A - approved NS, group B - NS
under consideration, group C - no clear proof of beneficial
effects and group D - banned NS.
Objectives. The aim
of our study was to describe qualitatively and quantitatively NS and
medications used by elite athletes.
Methods. We analyzed data
collected from athletes (n = 618; age 24.2 ± 5.8 yrs; 72%
male) from national, international competitions and out-of-competition
done by ADAS from 2005 - 2008.
reported substances 68.5% were NS and 29.6% medications. NS have taken
by 58% (2.87 per athlete) and medications by 39% of athletes (1.87 per
athlete). Almost 18 % of all users reported use of 6 or more different
products and one athlete took 17 different products at the same time.
In group A of AIS classification was (59.6%) and from group
B, C and D, 4.6%, 35.1%, 0.8%, respectively. Majority of athletes who
reported use of medication used NSAID (n = 173, 71.8%; 27.9% of all
examined athletes). More than one NSAID was taken by 26% (45) users. In
addition, more frequent use of NS among younger athletes was observed
Our study confirmed overuse of supplements and drugs by elite athletes.
Fact that large number of athletes used supplements with no evident
performance or health benefits, demonstrated the need for specific
educational initiatives. Amount, quantity and combination of reported
products raised concern about risk of potential side events.