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Supplement use was surveyed in a convenience sample of persons who exercised regularly at a Long Island, NY gym. Participants, age at least 18 y, completed anonymous questionnaires. A majority (84.7%) took supplements. Many consumed multivitamin/minerals (MVM; 45%), protein shakes/bars (PRO; 42.3%), vitamin C (34.7%), and vitamin E (VE; 23.4%) at least 5 times per wk. Other dietary supplements were used less frequently or by fewer participants. Ephedra was consumed by 28% at least once per wk. Choices and reasons for dietary supplement use varied with age of the participant. More of the oldest consumed MVM or VE, while those 45 y or younger chose PRO. Those younger than 30 consumed creatine more frequently. The oldest participants took supplements to prevent future illness, while others took supplements to build muscle. The reason for committing to an exercise program influenced supplement use. Bodybuilders more frequently consumed PRO, creatine, and ephedra compared to those exercising for health reasons.
The authors are with the Nutrition Department at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, Brookville, NY 11548.