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IOC Medical and Scientific Commission reviews its position on the use of dietary supplements by elite athletes
  1. Ronald John Maughan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ronald John Maughan, St Andrews University, St Andrews KY16 91B, UK; ronmaughan{at}

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Success in sport is determined by genetic endowment and by the modulation of that innate talent by an appropriate training programme. When athletes train to the limits of what is possible, they inevitably look for other factors that may help them to gain an advantage over the opposition. Of these, nutrition is often seen as an ‘easy’ option, and it is undoubtedly true that the food choices that an athlete makes will have profound effects on the ability to sustain consistent and intensive training and to amplify the training response. Although some of the details are unclear and are the subject of debate, there is little doubt that good nutrition strategies can also optimise performance in competition.1

At the highest level of sport, competitors will all be genetically gifted, will have trained intensively and will have exploited all obvious performance-enhancement strategies. In the search for further gains, the use of dietary supplements is an attractive opportunity. Athletes may feel that …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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