'there are times when using supplementation is needed'

British dieticians issue safe sports supplement guide

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

BDA: '[The guidance] will enable us to exercise our duty of care to protect athletes, coaches and practitioners as well as promote clean sport.' ©iStock
BDA: '[The guidance] will enable us to exercise our duty of care to protect athletes, coaches and practitioners as well as promote clean sport.' ©iStock

Related tags Nutrition

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has produced a guide to help athletes “from the elite to the exercising public” buy and use sports nutrition products.

The guidance​comes as the group that includes sports nutritionists among its fold, recognises that more and more athletes are adding supplementation to their regular diet to aid their sporting performance.

It is produced under the BDA’s Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr) in conjunction with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and endorsed by the UK Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA), the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and LGC-owned product certifier, Informed-Sport.

“While food is always a nutritionist first port of call when looking to improve an athletes diet, there are times when using supplementation is needed, whether that be to correct a nutrient deficiency, for practical reasons, or because it would be difficult to get that nutrient in sufficient quantities in food,”​ said Kevin Currell, SENr deputy chair.

“For SENr to take the lead on ensuring best practice in supplement use in sport is welcome. It will enable us to exercise our duty of care to protect athletes, coaches and practitioners as well as promote clean sport.”

Supplement decision-making flowchart

UKAD’s head of education and athlete support Amanda Batt said: “Together, the SENr and UKAD can help both current and future practitioners to effectively support athletes in their decision making and in managing the risks related to supplement use. Our combined efforts, and those of registered practitioners, will provide athletes with the best possible chance to compete, and win, clean.”

The guidance quoted figures showing food supplement contamination sits between 10-25% of products.

Guidance highlights

  • When used effectively and safely, some supplements may contribute towards improvements in health and/or performance for some athletes. This may be by supporting adaptation to training, supporting immune function or injury prevention / management, or by having a direct performance enhancing effect. However, due to the nature of the supplement industry, there are potential risks, which may lead to an anti-doping violation, such as inconsistencies in production standards and sourcing of ingredients. Furthermore, many products available for everyday purchase contain prohibited substances.”
  • “Utilise relevant biomarkers where possible to assess the need of supplements, and monitor effectiveness and safety of strategies.”
    mixed supplements multi
  • “When supplements are utilised, interventions should be monitored to assess the effectiveness. This can be achieved by assessing relevant health or performance biomarkers along with athlete feedback.”
  • "To reduce the risk of inadvertent doping, supplement testing schemes such as Informed-Sport have been developed to batch-test products for prohibited substances, in accordance with the WADA Prohibited List (http://list.wada-ama.org/). All products used by athletes should be batch-tested…”
  • “SENr practitioners can provide advice to enable an athlete to make an informed decision in the area of nutritional supplements and food intake.”



A new NutraIngredients and European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) congress held in Frankfurt on November 28 the day before Health Ingredients Europe​ ​will place your business front and centre of the playing field be it in supplements, herbals, powders, mixes, drinks, bars or gels.

More information here​.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Mobility Market: Discover New Trends & Innovation

Mobility Market: Discover New Trends & Innovation

Content provided by vaneeghen | 06-Sep-2023 | White Paper

The demand for joint health products is on the rise, branching out beyond age-related issues into active nutrition and prevention; driving new opportunities...

Explosive Power and Pump with GlycerBlast™

Explosive Power and Pump with GlycerBlast™

Content provided by INNOBIO Corporation Limited | 22-Aug-2023 | White Paper

GlycerBlast™ creates an intense muscle pump and blood flow through hydration, while boosting athletic endurance and performance. INNOBIO's GlycerBlast™...

Related suppliers

1 comment

False Safety

Posted by Peter Jutzi,

Please note, there is no batch-testing whatsoever in the world, which inkcludes full testing on WADA doping substances. All programs available test only for about 10-15 substances of anabolics and stimulants each. No reference about the rationale on the choice of substances is available. Do not take this as a waiver for indiscriminant use of supplements. It does not say much, the real safety is in the professionalism and seriousity of a manufacturer.

Report abuse

Follow us


View more