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Risks of Supplement Use

According to WADA, there are several risks associated with supplement use, including:

WADA advises athletes to be cautious when considering supplement use and to consult with a qualified healthcare provider or sports dietician before taking any supplements. Athletes should also only use supplements that have been certified by third-party organizations, such as Informed Sport or NSF International, to minimize the risk of contamination. Finally, athletes should be aware that supplements are not a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet and that most athletes can meet their nutritional needs through food alone.

  • Contamination: Supplements can be contaminated with prohibited substances, even if they are not listed on the label. This can result in a positive doping test and sanctions for the athlete.

  • Mislabeling: Supplements may be mislabeled or contain inaccurate information about their contents. This can lead to unintended ingestion of prohibited substances or exposure to dangerous levels of certain nutrients.

  • Adverse health effects: Some supplements may have adverse health effects, especially if taken in high doses or in combination with other substances. For example, high doses of vitamin A can be toxic, and creatine supplementation may cause kidney damage in some individuals.

  • Financial cost: Supplements can be expensive, and athletes may be spending money on products that are ineffective or even harmful.

  • Lack of regulation: The supplement industry is not as closely regulated as the pharmaceutical industry, which means that there may be little oversight of the safety and efficacy of supplements.

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