Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dietary Supplement Q & A: What is considered a supplement?

If someone asked you, “Do you take supplements?” what would you say? What do you think of when you hear the term supplement? Do you think of those containers you see at the gym that are called things like Serious Mass, NO-Xplode, and Creatine? What about your multivitamin? The GU gel you take during training runs? How about the 5 hour energy shots you take before a game?

The answer to this question isn’t an easy one. After reading research on supplement usage rates, I was finding a wide range of answers and a wide range of products mentioned. A lack of understanding of the term “supplement” makes research on usage rates difficult. It is also challenging as we try to educate student-athletes on risks of supplement use, to both their eligibility and their health. To help you navigate through the murkiness, here are some definitions.

Dietary Supplement - As defined by the FDA , a dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that contains a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet. The "dietary ingredients" in these products may include: vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and metabolites. Dietary supplements can also be extracts or concentrates, and may be found in many forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids, or powders. They can also be in other forms, such as a bar, but if they are, information on their label must not represent the product as a conventional food or a sole item of a meal or diet.

Nutritional Supplement – Any product intended to supplement the food diet. This can include multivitamins, protein powders, sports drinks and gels, etc. Anything that is not a traditional food can fall into the nutritional supplement category.

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