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Tian HH, Ong WS, Tan CL
Correspondence: Dr Tian Ho Heng, email@example.com
Introduction Nutritional supplements used by athletes can be classified as sports food, dietary supplements and ergogenic aids. The aim of this study was to examine the use of such supplements among university athletes in Singapore.
Methods 82 athletes from 16 sport disciplines completed a questionnaire which sought information on demographical parameters, type of supplements, frequency of use, motivations, knowledge, expenditure and side effects.
Results The prevalence of supplement use was 76.8 percent and 20 different products were used. Each individual consumed a mean and standard deviation of 3.18 ± 1.7 products over a 12-month period. The mean number of products consumed daily was 2.1 ± 1.2. Popular products included sports drinks, vitamin C, multivitamins and traditional/herbal preparations such as essence of chicken, bird’s nest and ginseng. Before using a product, 65.9 percent sought information, usually from the media, the Internet, coaches and fellow athletes. However, many did not know where to obtain reliable information and 86.4 percent were also unaware that supplementation can have adverse effects.
Conclusion Although there is a high prevalence of supplement use in our study population, many do not have accurate information about these products. Hence, there is an urgent need to provide athletes with education and access to scientific and unbiased information.
Keywords: dietary supplements, ergogenic aids, nutritional supplements, sports food
Singapore Med J 2009; 50(2): 165-172