FIFA warns of food supplement risk07 September 2012
FIFA – the world governing body of football – has raised serious concerns about players using food supplements to enhance their performances.
Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer said that data over the past ten years shows a 35% increase in the number of World Cup players using nutritional supplements. This figure increases to over 50% in the under-17 and under-20 levels.
According to Dvorak, players often do not seek medical advice before taking supplements which often have no scientific basis to health claims made. Players are also putting themselves at risk of falling foul of doping regulations.
"The marketing strategies of the producers of food supplements are influencing the behaviour of footballers and athletes in general,” said Dvorak.
"From different surveys we know that about 60% of U-16 athletes in the USA are using nutritional supplements daily and all of them believe they will increase their performance.
"This is definitely not based upon the scientific evidence or literature, which says the opposite. The same scientific studies also show that 70% of these young athletes do not seek adequate advice from a nutritional specialist physician ... For me as a sports physician this is not only surprising, it is alarming!"
Dvorak is concerned that not all supplements undergo rigorous quality control and could be contaminated with banned substances.
"It is well established and proven that many of the food supplements are contaminated by prohibited substances such as anabolic steroids and other substances," added Dvorak.
"This is, of course, very dangerous because if the athlete is subject to a doping control test and is regularly using that kind of contaminated supplement, he or she can test positive for doping.”
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