December 2019

Banned Substances Still Contaminating Sports Supplements

Two professional athletes (NHL and NFL) were recently suspended for testing positive for banned substances. In both cases, these substances were undeclared ingredients in supplements they were taking, highlighting how risky these products really are. Continue to discourage your patients from taking these products.

Muscle building and performance enhancing supplements are two of the most commonly tainted supplement classes. Ostarinehigenamine1,3-DMAA and many other ingredients banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and major sports organizations are commonly found in these products. Sometimes these ingredients are listed on the product label, but often times not. In many cases, products vary by batch. This is a major issue for athletes who consistently take the same supplement, assuming it to be safe, only to find out later that a newer batch contains a banned substance.

Make sure your patients understand that products flagged as tainted by the FDA might still be available online and in some stores. While it’s possible to send products out for testing, these tests can take weeks, be very expensive, and might not catch everything. In fact, one of the recently suspended athletes actually claims he had his supplements independently tested, but the tests didn’t flag the banned substance - maybe because the supplements varied by batch, or because the lab wasn’t able to test for all relevant substances. Knowing all of this, if your patients still insist on taking a sports supplement, tell them to stick with products that are NSF Certified for Sport. These products are rigorously tested for any banned substances.

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