Using nutritional supplements wisely


Encourage teens to think critically about any supplement that is recommended to them, whether by a friend, a coach, a health food store employee, or a training magazine or website. It’s their bodies and their athletic performance that are at stake, and often their wallets as well. The supplement industry makes millions of dollars a year promoting unproven products. Teens don’t have to add to those profits at the expense of their health.

Before taking any nutrition supplement, your teen should consider the following:


What effect is the product supposed to have? Who is making the claim? Does the product really have that effect? What evidence is there? Do the claims come from testimonials, or from scientific studies? Do the results of the study apply to athletes like your teen? Does the product have an actual effect on athletic performance, or are the effects only measurable in the lab? Was the product tested at the dose that is recommended on the label?


Has anyone evaluated the safety of the product? Does it have side effects? What are they? Has the product been studied over the long term, or only for short periods (weeks or months)? Has it been banned by any athletic organization or government body?

Product quality

Do you know what you’re getting? Is the package properly labelled and sealed? Are the manufacturer and the retailer trustworthy, and can you contact them? Does the package contain the dose that it claims? Where did it come from? Can you trust the source?


How much does the product cost? Is it worth taking? Could you get the same results from a properly balanced diet and training program?

Teens should also discuss any supplements they are considering with their coach or trainer. A sport nutritionist can help your teen with information on how to plan a training diet and evaluate dietary supplements.

Your teens’ first priority needs to be their health, now and in the long term.



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