Do endurance athletes need supplements?
Companies selling supplements are everywhere on TV and the internet. Their advertisements often quote research results that claim to prove the effectiveness of their product. Unfortunately, a lot of the research is funded by the same company who makes the supplement and no other independent research is available. When a supplement is endorsed by a famous athlete, then the research findings are rarely questioned.
Just as some rather famous athletes have been discovered to be less than honest with their use of performance enhancing products, companies often stretch their claims about performance enhancement far beyond the scope of their research study design.
Technology and information sprawl is the new norm, however, and it has its good points. Now sophisticated computerized models for statistics are enabling medical experts to pool existing data from past research trials and do meta-analyses of hundreds of previously published studies. As a result of this type of analysis, nutrition experts are able to determine what supplements really work versus what is pure marketing hype.
Although one in four Americans regularly uses supplements, most endurance athletes are at low risk for developing a severe clinical deficiency from a lack of nutrients. The real issue is probably one of optimal performance and recovery. Could you benefit from antioxidant supplements? Perhaps.
Here are some questions to ask. The answers may help you decide.