May 6, 2017
The IOC Medical and Scientific Commission has recognised 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 expert group concluded, after three days of intensive discussions, that:
Athletes contemplating the use of supplements and sports foods should consider their efficacy, their cost, the risk to health and performance, and the possibility that undeclared contaminants present in some supplements may cause an adverse analytical finding.
The protection of athletes’ health and an awareness of the potential for harm must be paramount, and expert professional advice should be sought before embarking on supplement use.