How well do you know your supplement?
Only 35 per cent of Australian professional footballers were
able to identify the benefits of a supplement they were taking, and
48 per cent admitted to never reading the labels.
University of Queensland School of Human
Movement and Nutrition Sciences researcher Vince
Kelly surveyed 570 athletes for his
study about legal supplement beta alanine.
"The athletes surveyed consisted of 303 from the Australian Football League, 180
from the National Rugby
League and 87 from Super Rugby," Mr Kelly said.
"It's practically unheard of to gain participation by that many
professional footballers in Australia.
"What we found was that only 11 per cent completed their own
research on beta alanine and 48 per cent said they never read the
labels prior to ingestion.
"The majority of respondents were not using beta alanine in
accordance with recommendations," Mr Kelly said.
The study, conducted in 2010 and 2011 pre-dated sports doping
allegations levelled at specific AFL and NRL clubs.
Beta alanine is purported to improve high intensity and
intermittent exercise by preventing acidic accumulation and
Significant proportions of the athletes wrongly associated the
supplement with gains in cardiovascular endurance (20 per cent) and
increased strength and muscle mass (16 per cent).
Many grossly underestimated the time required for beta alanine
to take effect, with almost half of the NRL players surveyed
believing it worked in less than 30 minutes, rather than two
"The reason why supplement companies love beta alanine is
because it gives the consumer an instant physical sensation, one of
pins and needles," Mr Kelly said.
"That reinforces the idea that it must work somehow.
"Often you'll hear athletes say things like 'Give me some. I
need the tingles' even though it takes a prolonged time to make
changes at a cellular level."
In contrast to past studies on consumption of another popular
supplement, creatine, where 75 per cent of consumers ingested too
much, the UQ study showed less than 20 per cent of athletes were
taking beta alanine frequently enough or in large enough quantities
to comply with recommendations.
Mr Kelly said the study, published in the
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, provided insights
into group mentality and areas of opportunity for safer and more
Fellow UQ collaborators on the study were Dr Michael
Christopher Brennan and Associate
Professor David Jenkins, along with Gary Slater of the
University of the Sunshine Coast.
Media: Mr Vince Kelly, firstname.lastname@example.org
or UQ Communications Robert Burgin, email@example.com
, +617 3346 3035, +61 0448 410