Athletic performance can be substantially enhanced with supplements and functional food which are considered by scientists as efficient, safe and legal, such as protein, carbohydrate and protein-carbohydrate supplements, isotonic sports drinks, carbohydrate-protein bars, carbohydrate bars, creatine and caffeine.
The study is aimed at an analysis and evaluation of the prevalence of using effective ergogenic aids (creatine, caffeine, isotonic drinks, carbohydrates, and proteins) in a group of Polish professional athletes.
Material and methods:
The research was conducted on 600 athletes (216 women, 384 men) practicing various sports disciplines; the younger group (18-23 years old) consisted of 307 people, while the older one (24-35 years old) was comprised of 293 subjects. A questionnaire was used with questions concerning the frequency and types of consumed supplements.
Nearly half of the athletes (48,2%) admitted to taking supplementation, of which 36.7% consumed the supplements occasionally and 11.5% continually. The majority of the group (75.4%) claimed to be consuming isotonic drinks, which were the most commonly chosen nutritional aid enhancing physical performance, most frequently supplementing the diet in a continuous manner (41.2%). The least frequently used supplement was creatine, chosen by only one in three interviewees (34,5%). The ergogenic aids were used more often by men than women (50.5% vs. 44.1%), and so were nutrients based on proteins (51.8% vs. 32.0%), carbohydrates (60.7% vs. 46.8%), protein-carbohydrates (45.6% vs. 32.9%), as well as creatine (39.8% vs. 25.0%). The studies showed the inessential difference in the frequency of taking supplementation based on the interviewees' age (0.4%).
Competitors who use supplements over those who choose not to, seems to reflect the continuous lack of the athletes' sufficient awareness of the effectiveness, safety, and health benefits of dietary supplementation that enhances physical performance.
supplements, dietary supplementation, sport, performance-enhancing substances, athletes.