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Supplements are no substitute for a balanced, healthy diet and most players will gain little from their use if they have not already optimised their hydration, diet, training and recovery practices. Players contemplating using supplements should be aware of the risks and be able to make well informed decisions.

Players and support staff should consider the following points before using supplements:

1.      Players of all ages and levels will benefit more from good hydration, a balanced diet, well organised training and a healthy lifestyle. Supplements should only be used to complement those, and should not be used to replace deficiencies in those areas. 

2.      Players and support staff should only seek and accept advice on the use of supplements from suitably qualified experts, which includes dietitians, and preferably sports dietitians. While there is solid evidence to support the effectiveness of some supplements, there are many for which there is no evidence that they actually work. The NRL also encourages players or support staff to reference the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Sports Supplement website when making any decisions in relation to supplements.

3.      There can be no guarantee that a supplement does not contain other substances that are either prohibited by WADA, unsafe, or unhealthy. Previous studies have revealed that up to 15% of nutritional supplements were contaminated with anabolic-androgenic steroids (mainly prohormones), and that trace amounts of potentially hazardous contaminants were found in 37 of the 40 herbal dietary supplement products tested. Supplements should only be sourced from reputable Australian brands – sourcing substances from overseas is risky given production and labelling standards vary. 


Risks Behind Sports Supplements video -


Sports Dietitians Australia -

Informed Sport -

Australian Sports Commission -

Last updated 12 May 2016

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.