DG Sports Medicine says  dietary supplements useless


by Dilanthi Jayamanne

Susanthika drank mother’s milk until she turned five years and ate enough vegetables and fruits to win Olympic Silver.

Director General of the Institute of Sports Medicine Prof. Arjuna de Silva yesterday said that sportsmen taking dietary supplements were unnecessarily accused of using performance enhancing drugs.

Addressing the press, at the Institute, Prof de Silva said that the use of such milk products had dribbled down to schoolchildren doing sports. Even school rugby players allegedly spent large amounts of money to purchase dietary milk supplements.

A worried Director General said that he had called on young and up and coming sportsmen to put a halt to the use of supplements with claims to increase strength and energy.

Citing an example, he said that it had not been the intake of these nutrition milk supplements that helped Susanthika Jayasinghe to win the Silver medal. She had consumed her mother’s milk till the age of five and had eaten a staple diet of vegetables and fruit found in villages. Her capability was also in her genes, he said.

However a majority of sportsmen drank an assortment of milk powders which promised them the world.

The Director General ISM appealed to popular sports figures to refrain from appearing for advertisements promoting such milk products. They should act with more responsibility and ethically when using their positions to promote such products. It brainwashed people into believing that the products could do the same for them as well, he added.

The issue surrounding milk imports arose following the revelation that milk powder was contaminated with the toxic agricultural chemical dicyandiamide (DCD). Several milk foods imported from New Zealand and Australia were withdrawn from the local market.

Early this week the Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (PHD CMC) and the Health Ministry carried out inspections in the city for dietary milk supplements which contained whey protein contaminated with bacteria causing botulism. Several samples were taken for testing at the Medical Research Institute (MRI) for poisonous bacterium ‘Clostridium botulinum.’

Maternal Health and Family Planning and WHO Representative, Dr. Anoma Jayathilake, stressed the need for breast feeding. There was nothing that could supplement mother’s milk till the child was about two years, she said. No amount of powdered milk food or dietary supplement could be a substitute for a mother’s milk which initially assists the growth of every child in the country, she added.

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