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Infographic: Helping athletes make decisions on dietary supplement use
  1. Ronald John Maughan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ronald John Maughan, School of Medicine, St Andrews University, St Andrews, KY16 9AJ, UK; ronmaughan{at}

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Many athletes will go to great lengths—indeed almost any length—in the pursuit of success in their chosen sport. This includes training to the limits of what is tolerable and sometimes even beyond that. It is not surprising therefore that the search for anything that might confer even the smallest advantage is pursued assiduously. Some of the options chosen are of dubious benefit and some might even be harmful to the athlete’s health, performance and long-term career.

Nutrition offers many opportunities for performance enhancement, and the influence of nutrition on athletic performance has been documented extensively.1 Potential benefits include an ability to sustain a higher training load without succumbing to illness or injury and an enhanced responsiveness to the training stimulus as well as direct effects on competition performance itself. Athletes are aware that the food choices they make can have profound effects on all of these aspects of their sporting life, but most …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.