Potential harmful effects of dietary supplements in sports medicine

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The purpose of this article is to collect the most recent data regarding the safety of well-known or emerging dietary supplements used by athletes.

Recent findings

From January 2014 to April 2016, about 30 articles have been published in the field. New data show that 90% of sports supplements contain trace of estrogenic endocrine disruptors, with 25% of them having a higher estrogenic activity than acceptable. About 50% of the supplements are contaminated by melamine, a source of nonprotein nitrogen. Additional data accumulate toward the safety of nitrate ingestion. In the last 2 years, the safety of emerging supplements such as higenamine, potentially interesting to lose weight, creatine nitrate and guanidinoacetic acid has been evaluated but still needs further investigation.

Summary

The consumption of over-the-counter supplements is very popular in athletes. Although most supplements may be considered as safe when taking at the recommended doses, athletes should be aware of the potential risks linked to the consumption of supplements. In addition to the risks linked to overdosage and cross-effects when combining different supplements at the same time, inadvertent or deliberate contamination with stimulants, estrogenic compounds, diuretics or anabolic agents may occur.

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