Differences in dietary supplements used by performance athletes and recreationally active individuals

Authors: George Jîtcă, Amelia Tero-Vescan*, Amalia Miklos, Camil-Eugen Vari, Bianca-Eugenia Ősz


Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Târgu Mureş, Romania


Background. Nutrition is a highly debated topic in athletes, as well as the use of dietary supplements (DS) to improve sport performance. However, a proper delimitation must be made between performance athletes (PA) and those interested in sports but who do not seek to achieve performance, recreationally active individuals (RAI), as the need for supplementing the daily diet with various proteins, carbohydrates, etc. is different.

Aims. The purpose of the study was to identify the preference for certain DS among PA members in sport clubs (active or retired athletes) and RAI.

Methods. Standardized questionnaires were distributed to 121 athletes (PA or RAI), 18-50 years old. Men (n=64) and women (n=57) answered an anonymous questionnaire containing 16 questions regarding the diets followed and the preference for certain DS.

Results. Among the study participants, only in the RAI group types of diet (ovo-lacto-vegetarian or strictly vegetarian) other than omnivore were found, PA having a mixed diet, according to their nutritional needs. Vitamins and minerals were the most commonly used DS in both categories, followed by carbohydrates. A preference for post-exercise and muscle recovery DS was identified in PA, and weight-loss DS were the most frequently used among RAI.

Conclusions. DS are used both by PA and RAI, but while PA use DS to increase their athletic performance, RAI use DS for aesthetic reasons, to improve their body image. If in the case of PA the use of DS is highly recommended for pharmacologic reasons, in the case of RAI, the use of DS is often influenced by mass-media and frequently these DS are not chosen correctly, according to the type of exercise.

Keywords: diet, dietary supplements, performance athletes, recreationally active individuals


Differences in dietary supplements used by performance athletes and recreationally active individuals