Nutritional supplements are they worth the price

Whether you are a high school athlete hoping to play in college or just trying to get back into shape, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a safe and reliable nutritional supplement that could help you on your way?

Whether you are a high school athlete hoping to play in college or just trying to get back into shape, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a safe and reliable nutritional supplement that could help you on your way? With scientific proof and when used properly, some nutritional supplements can be beneficial; however, there are potential dangers and pitfalls.

Research the Source
 Roughly 25% of nutritional supplements on the market today contain a banned or illegal substance. This is a highly unregulated market, and the nutrition label may not be all-inclusive. Excessive intake of certain substances can lead to very serious health consequences, not to mention potential loss of a scholarship for a college-aged athlete if s/he has a positive drug test. Companies producing nutritional supplements are not required to test products for purity. Some companies voluntarily run their products through a “certificate of analysis” process via a 3rd party, and then the products tested are either deemed safe and legal or inappropriate for individuals to consume. Choosing a product from a company that voluntarily goes through this testing would be the best bet. Be even more prudent when purchasing supplements online; and make sure the product is safely packaged and sealed before beginning use.

Research the Product
Numerous nutritional supplements are available with little-to-no research to back their “claims”. Supplements are frequently expensive, and do you really want to spend $70 on a 2-week supply of a product that has no true benefit? Look for products that have legitimate research supporting the manufacturer’s claims. Additionally, check the dose in the product. While the company may be making a valid claim regarding a supplement’s effectiveness, the dose may not be adequate to provide measurable results. This research can get very confusing. At the National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance at Sanford, our registered dietitian can work with you to evaluate the efficacy of nutritional supplements that you currently take or are considering adding to your regimen.

For more information, contact Lisa Esposito, MS, RD, CSSD, LN Sports Dietitian/Research Associate III, National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance at Sanford (605) 328-4750 or e-mail: lisa.esposito@sanfordhealth.org.

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