Sports supplements are commonly used by athletes in the hope of maximising the benefits of participating in sport. Understandably sports people can be confused about the issues around sports supplements. It is important to remember that there are risks associated with supplement use.
Sport Ireland recommends against the use of sports supplements for the following reasons:
- We believe that a correct dietary and nutritional regime will provide all the potential benefits of sports supplements.
- We believe that, given the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) principle of strict liability, elite athletes are opening up the possibility of inadvertent positive tests by taking supplements.
- We believe it is inappropriate for any junior athlete or player to be taking supplements that could have an impact on their physical development.
There are no guarantees that any dietary supplements are safe. Before taking any dietary supplements please assess the following
The Need: seek nutrition advice from a professional sports dietician
The Risk: If you choose to take a supplement you should assess the associated risks and make an informed decision. Please see risk minimisation guidelines below
The Consequences: consuming a contaminated product may may result in a 4 year ban from sport
The issue of contaminated products has been acknowledged in the new 2015 Wada Code. If an athlete can establish no significant fault or negligence then the sanction can range from a reprimand to a maximum of 2 years.
Before taking any dietary supplements please ensure you have evidence of the following
Managing the Risks of Supplements
- You MUST undertake thorough internet research of any supplement products before it is consumed.
- This search should include the name of the product and the ingredients/substances listed.
- Information revealed as a result should be further investigated and we advise athletes to keep evidence of their research.
- Screen shots should be taken and the results saved in a folder. All saved information should be backed up.
- Informed sport is a risk minimisation tool that can be used to access supplements that have been batch tested.
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