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Nutritional Supplements Use in Physically Active Italian Adults: What Do They Use and How Are They Influenced?

Roberto Cannataro, Virginia Lemon, Maria Cristina Caroleo, Erika Cione and Stella Lucia Volpe, Italy

Nutritional Supplements (NS) are widely used by the athletic community either elite or amatorial despite the lack of evidence to support claims related to performance enhancement. The objectives of this study was aimed to determine: i) the most common sources of NS information; ii) the prevalence of the different types of NS used by individuals that are regularly physically active; iii) and if sex influence the use of supplements. We thought to use a thematic forum to gathering data from Italian amatorial athletes over the age of 18. The results pointed out that forty-one different supplements were used by amatorial athletes. The most commonly reported source of NS information was the internet (reported by 42% of participants). Of the participants, 92.2% were male and only the 7.8% were female. Because the widespread popularity of NS among Italian male amatorial athletes, further research should be conducted on possible benefits or detriments posed by NS use, especially when multiple NS are taken concurrently. Besides that, education programs should also be implemented to encourage athletes to seek out information on NS from physicians, nutritionists or dietitians rather than other sources. This should result in athletes being more likely to only take NS that would most benefit their health and to help dispel faulty advertising claims.

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