Most dietary supplement products are marketed for adults 18 and older and typically carry a warning on the label against use by those under 18. Moreover, there has been little to no reliable research done on the use of dietary supplements—especially those marketed for bodybuilding and performance enhancement—by people under the age of 18. As such, the National Federation of State High School Associations Sports Medicine Advisory Committee strongly opposes the use of dietary supplements by high school athletes to gain a competitive advantage.
Whether you’re a teen athlete, parent, coach, or healthcare provider, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Teens: Achieving your athletic goals takes hard work, practice, and putting the right “fuel” in your body. Taking shortcuts with dietary supplements potentially can have a negative effect on your health and future athletic ambitions. Watch the video below to learn about one athlete’s experience with dietary supplements.
Parents and coaches: Talk often with your athletes about dietary supplements, and encourage them to eat whole foods to fuel their bodies. Visit HPRC’s “Fueling your adolescent athlete,” which has helpful suggestions for hydrating and for eating between workouts.
Healthcare providers: Use the OPSS Guidelines to ask about supplement use as part of taking a comprehensive dietary supplement history. Counsel athletes and their parents about the risks involved with using dietary supplements and other performance-enhancing substances. Promote proper nutrition, training, and rest to improve performance.
Remember, teens (and adults) can get all the nutrients their bodies need by eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Teens and adults don’t need supplements unless a doctor determines it’s needed to treat deficiency of a particular nutrient.
Updated 11 September 2017