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After studying this chapter, the reader should be able to:

  • 10.1 Define what substances are considered dietary supplements.

  • 10.2 Explain the limitations of dietary supplement regulation in the United States.

  • 10.3 Describe the product claims, efficacy, and safety of popular, commonly used dietary supplements for weight loss, health, and performance.

  • 10.4 Define the scope of practice for health professionals with regard to the recommendation and sale of dietary supplements.



  • anabolic steroids Synthetic drugs that mimic the effect of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone in the body; cause rapid strength gains but also carry significant toxic effects; expressly prohibited in sports competition.

  • botanical See herbal supplements.

  • contamination Inadvertent tainting of a supplement with trace amounts of another supplement without the knowledge of the manufacturer or consumer.

  • Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) Regulations that ensure that dietary supplements made in the United States and abroad are consistently produced and of acceptable quality by creating manufacturing standards for all companies that test, produce, package, label, and distribute supplements in the United States.

  • dietary supplement A product (other than tobacco) that functions to supplement the diet and contains one or more of the following ingredients: a vitamin, mineral, herb or other botanical, amino acid, dietary substance that increases total daily intake, metabolite, constituent, extract, or some combination of the preceding ingredients.

  • Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act (DSHEA) Federal regulation that oversees supplement production, marketing, and safety; treats supplements more like food than medicine with limited oversight and accountability.

  • diuretics Medications or substances that lead to increased water loss from the kidneys.

  • doping The act of ingesting a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in an effort to improve athletic performance.

  • ergogenic A substance that increases athletic performance.

  • health claim A statement that suggests that a supplement may help to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat, or cure a specific disease.

  • herbal supplements Plant-derived substances used for medicinal purposes.

  • hormones Chemicals released by the body that affect other parts of the body; many banned synthetic hormones mimic the muscle-building effects of natural hormones, such as growth hormone, erythropoietin-stimulating hormone, and gonadotropins, which trigger increased testosterone production.

  • inadvertent doping When an athlete tests positive for a banned substance due to accidental ingestion, often as a result of contamination of an allowed substance.

  • stimulant A substance that activates the central nervous system and sympathetic nervous system. It increases heart rate and cardiac output, as well as glucose availability, and may suppress appetite.


Eager to improve athletic performance, body composition, and overall health, many people turn to dietary supplements to gain an edge. Not infrequently, clients query fitness and other health professionals for information and advice about various products. All of these professionals must be well informed about dietary supplements and prepared to answer or refer these questions.

Anne Marie, a 37-year-old female, ...

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