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13.2: IOC Statement on Supplements

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  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical and Scientific Commission has recognized the important role that sound nutrition practices play in protecting good health and promoting the optimum performance of athletes. As part of its commitment to supporting the health and performance of athletes, it convened a meeting of experts in the field of dietary supplements to assess the evidence relating to the place of dietary supplements in the preparations of elite athletes. Particular focus was placed on their effects on athletes’ health and performances, and the risk of contamination with substances that may be harmful to health or that may trigger an adverse analytical finding, leading to an anti-doping rule violation. The use of dietary supplements is widespread among elite athletes, as it is among the general population. The IOC concluded that:

    • Diet significantly influences athletic performance, but the use of supplements does not compensate for poor food choices and an inadequate diet.
    • Supplementation with essential nutrients may be beneficial if a specific nutrient deficiency is medically diagnosed and a food-based solution cannot be easily implemented.
    • A few supplements, from the many thousands of different products on the market, may provide performance or health-related benefits for some athletes in some types of sports, when optimum training, nutrition and recovery are already achieved.
    • Quality assurance in supplement manufacture, storage and distribution is sometimes not strictly enforced, leading to products that are of poor quality or contaminated.

    Here is the complete statement from the IOC Medical and Scientific Consensus Meeting on Supplements:

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