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Supplement group classification

Appendix:  AIS Supplement Group Classification System

In the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Sports Supplement Program, supplements are classified into four groups according to their effectiveness and safety. 

Group A

Supplements are supported for use in specific situations in sport and provided to AIS athletes for evidence-based uses.

These sports foods and supplements:

  1. provide a useful and timely source of energy or nutrients in the athlete's diet
  2. have been shown in scientific trials to benefit performance, when used according to a specific protocol in a specific situation in sport.

Group B

Supplements are deserving of further research and considered for provision to AIS athletes only under a research protocol or clinical monitoring activity.

These sports foods and supplements:

  1. have received some scientific attention, sometimes in populations other than athletes, or have preliminary data which suggest possible benefits to performance
  2. are of particular interest to athletes and coaches.

Group C

Supplements have little proof of beneficial effects and are not provided to AIS athletes.

This category includes the majority of supplements and sports products promoted to athletes. These supplements, despite enjoying a cyclical pattern of popularity and widespread use, have not been proven to provide a worthwhile enhancement of sports performance.

Although we can't categorically state that they don't "work", current scientific evidence shows that either the likelihood of benefits is very small or that any benefits that occur are too small to be useful. In fact, in some cases, these supplements have been shown to impair sports performance, with a clear mechanism to explain these results. We have named many of the products that belong in this category, but others that have not been named in our supplement system more than likely belong here.

Group D

Supplements should not be used by AIS athletes.

These supplements are banned or are at high risk of being contaminated with substances that could lead to a positive drug test.

For further information on the classification system visit

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