Sports Nutrition Supplement Use: Comparison between a USA and a Palestinian community

Massad, Susan J.
Hamdan, Motasem
Agha, Hazem
Amr, Amira
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This study was undertaken to examine nutritional supplement consumption and to compare results between study participants from fitness centers in Eastern Massachusetts, USA, and in the West Bank, Palestine. Participants (n=355) completed surveys detailing their exercise habits, nutritional supplement use, reasons for use, and any experienced side effects. Whey protein, vitamins and minerals, branched chain amino acids, and creatine were most commonly consumed. Independent samples t-tests revealed significantly higher supplement use in male participants and in those who believed supplement use improved exercise performance.Independent samples t-tests didn’t reveal significant differences in total supplement use by location (West Bank or USA), level of education, or whether they’d taken a nutrition course. There were significant differences between location and frequency of use of whey protein, branched-chain amino acids, multivitamin/minerals and weight loss products. West Bank participants used more whey protein and BCAA than USA participants. Participants from the West Bank were less likely to use multivitamin/mineral supplements and weight loss products than USA participants. Most commonly reported side effects were headaches, palpitations, and diarrhea. Nutritionists, trainers, coaches, and health educators may use this data to educate their clients about risks associated with consumption of supplements that are largely unregulated.