What are Supplements?
Supplements include products such as:
• Energy drinks
• Herbal and nutraceutical products e.g. echinacea
• Vitamins and Minerals e.g. calcium
• Probiotics e.g. acidophilus
• Fat burners
• Products that build muscle mass e.g. creatine
• Protein shakes and powders e.g. whey, rice protein
It is important to note that supplements are not limited only to these substances.
What are the Risks Associated with Supplement Use?
Unlike the pharmaceutical industry, the supplement industry is not subject to the same level of government regulation. Consequently supplements may:
• Intentionally contain prohibited substances.
• Unintentionally be contaminated with prohibited substances (e.g. from contaminated ingredients, cross-contamination during manufacturing); or be mislabelled.
• Not accurately list the ingredients (e.g., falsify, omit).
• Not accurately list the relative amounts of each ingredient per dose.
• Make false certification claims (e.g., WADA-approved).
• Make false health benefit claims and not list important cautionary information (e.g., side-effects to health).
What If an Athlete Tests Positive after Using a Supplement?
All athletes are reminded of the strict liability rule which states:
Athletes are responsible for any prohibited substances found in their sample, whether or not they intentionally or unintentionally used a prohibited substance or were negligent or otherwise at fault.
Athletes, who choose to consume dietary supplements, DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK. Unfortunately, a large number of athletes have tested positive for prohibited substances mainly because of the misuse of supplements. Athletes should be reminded that taking supplements may possibly result in an Adverse Analytical Finding (positive test), which could lead to an Anti-Doping Rule Violation, regardless of how the prohibited substance got into the athlete’s body.
Supplements are potentially dangerous. Athletes have a personal responsibility to evaluate all the risks associated with the consumption of supplements before using them and are responsible for any prohibited substances found in their sample.
Speak to your doctor or nutritionist about alternatives.