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BJSM reviews: A–Z of supplements: dietary supplements, sports nutrition foods and ergogenic aids for health and performance Part 2
  1. L M Castell1,
  2. L M Burke2,
  3. S J Stear3
  1. 1
    University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2
    Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia
  3. 3
    English Institute of Sport, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to L M Castell, University of Oxford, Green Templeton College, Oxford OX2 6HG, UK; lindy.castell{at}

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R Budgett Olympic Medical Institute, Northwick Park Hospital, London

Position statements on supplements have been published over the past 20 years by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the British Olympic Association, UK Sport and others. The subject of supplements is of crucial importance and there is a vital need for reliable, balanced and unbiased information for athletes and their support staff. The use and potential for abuse of supplements by athletes have been of concern to all those involved in supporting athletes for many years.

Of primary concern is the health of the athlete. Performance issues are secondary and performance will only be helped if optimum health is maintained. The ergogenic effects of many supplements are controversial and good evidence for efficacy is rare.

Athletes are uniquely vulnerable to claims regarding dietary supplements, sports nutrition foods and ergogenic aids. They are concerned that their competitors will steal an advantage. The A–Z review will educate doctors and all support staff enabling them to counsel athletes from a position of knowledge and decide whether a particular athlete really needs a supplement. Is it effective? Is it safe? What are the risks of contamination? All those involved with athletes need to know the answers to these questions and when to seek expert advice from a qualified sports nutrition professional. By giving an overview of the evidence, presenting the views of experts in the field and providing practical advice, these review papers will enable support staff to protect the health of athletes and help them to optimise safely both health and performance. The series editors and the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) are to be congratulated for taking on this task.

Figure 1

Dr Richard Budgett

Amino acids, androstenedione, arginine, asparagine and aspartate

Introductory comments

Welcome to the first review of the BJSM A–Z of Nutritional Supplements. In this review we will be covering amino acids in general, followed by reviews from some …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • The authors cannot be held responsible for the failure of any specific dose to improve performance, etc.

  • Provenance and Peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

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