Sports Supplements: Pearls and Pitfalls

Prim Care. 2020 Mar;47(1):37-48. doi: 10.1016/j.pop.2019.10.002. Epub 2019 Oct 16.


Sports supplements can be generally divided into 3 categories: sports foods (foods/drinks containing macronutrients), medical supplements (vitamins/minerals used to treat deficiencies), and ergogenic supplements (used to benefit performance). Supplements are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. They may get to the market and be contaminated with substances banned in sport or dangerous to health; and the contents may not contain what is listed on the label. When choosing to use a supplement, the safest practice is to choose a certified brand, which tests and authenticates label verification, quality, and lack of contaminants and banned substances for sport.

Keywords: DHSEA act; Ergogenic supplements; Medical supplements; Sport foods; Sports supplement; Supplement resources.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes*
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Doping in Sports / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Drug Contamination
  • Energy Drinks / adverse effects
  • Government Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances* / adverse effects
  • Sports*
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Performance-Enhancing Substances