Young people today grow up with the notion that there is a drug to hasten recovery from practically every illness and that a healthy person can be even better off if he has something special in his diet or in his manner of living. The result of these beliefs and attitudes is a host of misconceptions about ways by which a healthy individual can be improved by a miracle drug, a special diet, a vitamin, a hormone, particular exercises, or some other procedure. There is no scientific basis for any such practices, although they are usually not actually hazardous. However, a number of drugs, including those allegedly capable of increasing performance, may indeed be harmful.
Some athletes and their coaches, in their eagerness to excel, are now using a variety of ergogenic aids in an attempt to increase work output and thus improve performance. Such attempts to enhance physical ability have involved the use of nutritional, physical, and pharmacological agents.
The subject of dietary measures to improve physical performance can be dealt with in a few words. There is no evidence to support claims that any special food, vitamin, or other nutritional supplements can improve athletic ability of an individual already receiving an adequate diet.
There also is no scientific evidence that the use of physical ergogenic aids (breathing oxygen, use of massage, ultraviolet light, mechanical devices, and so forth) will bring about better physical performance. Oxygen cannot be stored in the tissues, and so its inhalation before exercise has no effect on performance or rate of recovery.
- Copyright © 1973 by the American Academy of Pediatrics