Supplement use in the United States is almost a $20 billion dollar industry.
Due in large part to the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (a federal law) the industry is largely unregulated. Any product classified as a nutritional supplement may be brought to market without FDA approval or even registration (unlike prescription or over-the-counter pharmeceuticals). Supplement companies do not need to provide any evidence of efficacy, safety or purity of their products.
There are thousands of products and thousands of ingredients in these products that are touted to improve / cure / treat / prevent any number of problems of concern to athletes
Most surveys indicate that about 20-30% of all high school students and 40-50% of high school athletes use nutritional sports supplements. This does not include the nearly ubiquitous use of standard multivitamins ("Flintstones" or "Centrum") and sports drinks ("Gatorade", "Powerade").
Many companies have very aggressive marketing, geared towards the natural insecurities of adolescents, to drive sales.
While most products available are at least safe, there are some, such as ephedra and steroid precursors ("Andro") which are likely to be unsafe, especially in adolescents.
Most other products have little or no evidence that they are effective in adolescent athletes. Much evidence that is available uses adults as subjects, may use individuals who already have nutritional deficiencies or the studies may be funded by the companies selling the products (an inherent conflict of interest).
Most importantly - the point I would like to get across - For most high school aged athletes, most nutritional supplements are an expensive waste of money that would be better spent on eating a proper diet and paying for better athletic training support (equipment, coaches, personal trainers, athletic trainers).
Seminar for adolescent baseball and softball players, their families and coaches
Building D, Department of Orthopaedics at Lac de Ville
Wednesday, April 4th from 7-9 PM