Journal Title (Medline/Pubmed accepted abbreviation): Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab
Page Numbers: 377-384
doi (if applicable):
Background:Nutritional supplements are used in the general population to overcome nutritional deficiencies and augment overall quality of health and physical performance. However, excessive intake of supplements may cause adverse events, and professional guidance on use of such products is recommended.
Hypothesis/Purpose: To assess the patterns of nutritional supplement use, perceptions of benefit, and knowledge of regulatory guidance among recreational athletes.
Subjects:Three hundred and twenty-nine recreational athletes (mean age, 30.6 ± 12.1 y) from 11 selected gyms in Athens participated in this study.
Experimental design: Observational
Treatments and protocol:
In gym centers, 1,100 individuals were asked to answer a validated, self-administered questionnaire with 36 closed-ended questions addressing 3 areas: lifestyle, social, and demographic, and exercise practices adopted; nutritional supplement use; and sources of information on nutritional supplements and relevant legislation. Questionnaires were returned to gym centers (29.9% return rate).
The current study showed limited use of nutritional supplements compared with previous reports, although it confirms previous findings that men are more likely to use nutritional supplements and that a usage frequency >3 times/week is common. Moreover, the consumption pattern of nutritional supplements is similar between professional athletes, an urban population, and recreational athletes, despite the differences in energy requirements and muscle damage between these groups. Although users in this study checked the labels of the products they used, they were not aware of relevant legislation and available facilities for testing of these products, which is similar to professional athletes. Educational efforts are needed in this area to provide accurate knowledge on nutritional requirements and benefits of supplements in exercising individuals.