Dietary Supplement Usage, Associated Knowledge and Attitudes of Sri Lankan National-Level Athletes: A Cross Sectional Study

Main Article Content

Suraweera Aracchilage Nimesha Rashani
Shehani Pigera
Punchividanelage Nilu Jayashika Fernando
Madunil Anuk Niriella
Seevali Jayantha Jayawickreme
Arjuna Priyadarsin De Silva


Anti Doping, Practices, Multivitamin


Purpose: This study aimed to identify dietary supplement prevalence, reasons to use, supplement types, personal beliefs, knowledge and practices of athletes related to supplement use and doping in sports.

Methods: Data was collected from 386 athletes (Male; 66.8%, Female; 33.2%, Mean age ±SD; 26.22±4.9), represented national pools of 12 sport types.

Results: 354 (91.5%) of athletes used supplements including multivitamin (57%), electrolyte (49.7%), protein (43.5%), calcium (19.7%) and creatine (17.4%). Gender, social status, education and profession were not found to be determinants of supplement use, but sport type did (p < 0.05). Rugby and weightlifting players showed significant protein, multivitamin and creatine use per day (p < 0.05). Many athletes consumed supplements to boost their performance (41.8%) and strength (54. 5%). The majority (60.5%) claimed about self-decided supplementation plan. Male athletes had more dope-positive attitudes than females (P<0.05). Athletes who attended anti-doping educational workshops/were exposed to international competitions were more concerned about supplement content (p <0.05). A considerable number of multivitamin (51.8%), creatine (37.3%) and protein (14.8%) users consumed them without any scientific basis.

Conclusions: Dietary supplements appear to be widely consumed by Sri Lankan national-level athletes, whereas a considerable proportion does not follow proper nutritional assessment before use.

Abstract 96 | PDF Downloads 57


1. Baltazar-Martins G, de Souza DB, Aguilar-Navarro M, Muñoz-Guerra J, del Mar Plata M, Del Coso J. Prevalence and patterns of dietary supplement use in elite Spanish athletes. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2019;16(1):1-9. doi:10.1186/s12970-019-0296-5.
2. U.S.Food & Drug Administration.Dietary Supplement Products & Ingredients. May 17,2021.
3. Balaravi B, Chin M, Karppaya H, Chai W, Quah L, Ramadas A. Knowledge and Attitude Related to Nutritional Supplements and Risk of Doping among National Elite Athletes in Malaysia. Malays J Nutr.2017;23(3). doi:10.1080/02640410701607395.
4. Maughan RJ, Depiesse F, Geyer H. The use of dietary supplements by athletes. J Sports Sci. 2 007;25(S1):S103-S113. doi:10.1080/02640410701607395.
5. Aljaloud SO, Ibrahim SA. Use of dietary supplements among professional athletes in Saudi Arabia. J Nutr Metab. 2013;2013. doi:10.1155/2013/245349.
6. Wiens K, Erdman KA, Stadnyk M, Parnell JA. Dietary supplement usage, motivation, and education in young Canadian athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2014;24(6):613-622.doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2013-0087.
7. Kim J, Lee N, Kim E-J, Ki S-k, Yoon J, Lee M-s. Anti-doping education and dietary supplementation practice in Korean elite university athletes. Nutr Res Pract. 2011;5(4):349.doi.10.1123/ijsnem.2013-0087.
8. Muwonge H, Zavuga R, Kabenge PA, Makubuya T. Nutritional supplement practices of professional Ugandan athletes: a cross-sectional study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14(1):1-10. doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0198-3.
9. Omeragić E, Đeđibegović J, Sober M, et al. Use of dietary supplements among elite athletes. SportLogia. 2015;11(1). doi: 10.5550/sgia. 151101.en.005O.
10. Molinero O, Márquez S. Use of nutritional supplements in sports: risks, knowledge, and behavioural-related factors. Nutr Hosp.2009;24(2):128-134.
11. Mooney R, Simonato P, Ruparelia R, Roman‐Urrestarazu A, Martinotti G, Corazza O. The use of supplements and performance and image enhancing drugs in fitness settings: A exploratory cross‐sectional investigation in the United Kingdom. Human psychopharmacology. 2017;32(3):e2619.doi:10.1002/hup.2619
12. Grand view research.Dietary Supplements Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Ingredient (Vitamins, Proteins & Amino Acids), By Form, By Application, By End User, By Distribution Channel, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028. market.published Feb,2021. Accessed May 18, 2021.
13. de Silva A, Samarasinghe Y, Senanayake D, Lanerolle P. Dietary supplement intake in national-level Sri Lankan athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2010;20(1):15-20. doi.10.1123/ijsnem.20.1.15
14. Morente-Sánchez J, Zabala M. Doping in sport: a review of elite athletes’ attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge. Sports Med. 2013;43(6):395-411. doi:10.1007/s40279-013-0037-x
15. Braun H, Koehler K, Geyer H, Kleinert J, Mester J, Schänzer W. Dietary supplement use among elite young German athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2009;19(1):97-109.doi:10.1123/ijsnem.19.1.97
16. Sobal J, Marquart LF. Vitamin/mineral supplement use among high school athletes. Adolescence. 1994;29(116):835.
17. Tian H, Ong W, Tan C. Nutritional supplement use among university athletes in Singapore. Singapore Med J. 2009;50(2):165.
18. Amit N. Banned substances in school rugby is a menace.Sunday Times print edition. July 03, 2011. Accessed May 18, 2021.
19. Madhushani, A. A. L. "“Let’s preserve the spirit of sport”: Preventive approaches of using performance enhancing drugs among national level athletes in Sri Lanka. Paper presented at: 20th Excellence in Services International Conference; September 7-8,2017;(Italy), June 28, 2021.
20. Nieper A. Nutritional supplement practices in UK junior national track and field athletes. Br J Sports Med. 2005;39(9):645-649.doi:10.1136/bjsm.2004.015842.
21. Supplements.Australian Instituteof Sports. Accessed Feb 13,2020.
22. DesJardins M. Supplement use in the adolescent athlete. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2002;1(6):369-373.doi:10.1249/00149619-200212000-00011.
23. Sousa M, Fernandes MJ, Carvalho P, Soares J, Moreira P, Teixeira VH. Nutritional supplements use in high-performance athletes is related with lower nutritional inadequacy from food. J Sport Health Sci. 2016;5(3):368-374. June 29,2021.
24. Giannopoulou I, Noutsos K, Apostolidis N, Bayios I, Nassis GP. Performance level affects the dietary supplement intake of both individual and team sports athletes. J Sports Sci Med. 2013;12(1):190. June 29,2021.
25. Sas-Nowosielski K, Swiatkowska L. Goal orientations and attitudes toward doping. Int J Sports Med. 2008;29(07): 607-612.doi: 10.1055/s-2007-965817.