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Nutritional Supplements in Athletes – Yes or No?

Nutritional Supplementation for Athletes – Yes or No?
December 9th, 2010 | Author: Ken Adams, M.D.
Physicians trained in Western Medicine frequently run into the issue that the way that the textbooks they use in medical school state that our daily diet provides all the minerals and nutrients that we need to function properly and that only a small minority of individuals have any deficiencies that need to be treated with dietary supplementation. The medical literature is highly slanted in that direction and the funded research appears to back it up.
But if we as a nation are doing so well at eating what is right then why do so many of us have chronic pain? Why are so many people obese? Why is cancer on the rise and why are we all not healthier than we are?
The article referenced was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition and it was surprising to me that it was not more pro-supplement. But it brings to light something that I see quite often in the “research versus clinical medicine” conundrum. Many of my patients do benefit from being on supplements. If more doctors tested for Vitamin D deficiency they would find it. If more physicians would try new things like Dr. Maroon who is a board certified neurosurgeon and the team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, more athletes might find pain relief from chronic injuries. (He substituted high dose Omega 3′s for Advil and other NSAIDS and narcotics and a lot of patients never went back to NSAIDS and narcotics. THIS IS HUGE!!)
I will continue to give Omega 3′s for osteoarthritic athletes. I will give Vitamin D in excess of the RDA for my Vitamin D deficient athletes. I will continue supplementing alpha lipoic acid in athletes who have nerve injuries. Calcium, magnesium, B-6 and valerian root supplementation really does decrease muscle spasms after hard workouts. The list goes on and on because I see on an individual basis that patients improve. It is more than just placebo but at the same time I do acknowledge that the funded research is equivocal at the moment.…