This study examined the traditional (single and multivitamin/mineral supplements) and nontraditional supplement (herbals, botanicals, and other biologic and nutrient supplements) use by female athletes. Frequency, reasons for use, and sources of supplement information were assessed with a self-report questionnaire. Participants were 162 collegiate female varsity athletes. More than half of all athletes used some type of supplement at least once a month (65.4%). Thirty-six percent (n = 58) of the sample used a multivitamin and mineral with iron. Twelve percent (n = 19) reported amino acid/protein supplement use and 17% (n = 29) used an herbal/botanical supplement. The most frequently cited reason for supplement use was “good health” (60.1%). A major source of information on supplements reported was family (53%). With the general rise in supplement use, nutrition education on the use of traditional and non-traditional supplements is warranted.
N. Herbold is with the Dept of Nutrition at Simmons College, Boston, MA 02115. B. Visconti is with University Food Services, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912. S. Frates is with the Dept of Adolescent Medicine, Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA 02115. L. Bandini is with the Dept of Health Science, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215.