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An International Study on Dietary Supplementation Use in Dancers

Derrick Brown, Matthew Wyon
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 29 Number 4: Page 229 (December 2014)

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Abstract: Little is known of the prevalence and motives of dietary supplement use amongst dancers from different cultures. Investigating supplement use, presumed effects, and other factors may be crucial for improving educational and nutritional advice provided for this cohort. Therefore, this study investigated the use of dietary supplements in 334 dancers from 53 countries, who completed a digitally based 35-question survey detailing demographic information and the use of dietary supplementation. Supplement use was prevalent amongst this international cohort, with 48% reporting regular supplement use. Major motives for supplement use were to improve health, boost immunity, and reduce fatigue. 45% believed that dancing increased the need for supplementation, whilst 30% recognized that there were risks associated with nutritional supplementation. The most frequently consumed supplements were vitamin C (60%), multivitamins (67%), and caffeine (72%). A smaller group of participants declared the use of whey protein (21%) or creatine (14%). Supplements were mainly obtained from pharmacies, supermarkets, and health-food stores. Dancers recognized their lack of knowledge in dietary supplement use and relied on peer recommendations instead of sound evidence-based advice from acknowledged nutrition or health care professionals. This study demonstrates that dietary supplement use is internationally prevalent amongst dancers. Continued efforts are warranted with regard to information dissemination.

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