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Master Your Dietary Supplements Like a Golf Professional

April 6, 2023

Look for Third Party Certification for Banned Substances


As we watch the excitement of the Masters unfold avid golf fans might be curious about the dietary supplements golf professionals use for fuel as they duel for the green jacket. Dietary supplements don’t come without risks and there have been many examples of athletes who have inadvertently tested positive for banned substances from contaminated supplements. A 2022 study found that, “almost 28% of the studied dietary supplements pose a potential risk of unintentional doping.” Here is what PGA Tour players, and you, should know about dietary supplements for golf and how to avoid the risks by looking for third party certified supplements.

Dietary supplements for golf are a unique blend. PGA Tour players and recreational players are not your typical gym rats. They aren’t looking for extreme muscle bulk, tingling pumps, mind blowing stimulation from pre-workouts, or other outlandish effects.

Ok so a bulked up Bryson DeChambeau shocked the world with gravity defying drives on the way to his U.S. Open win years ago, but he did that with protein shakes and peanut butter sandwiches not with PEDs. Besides, his physique is certainly not typical on Tour, or at your country club for that matter.

PGA Tour players are looking for easy on course fuel, recovery, focus, sleep and general wellness. You know just like the rest of us. A recent survey showed that 63% of respondents used sports nutrition for general health while only 39% used them for sports performance. Here are some of the supplements golfers might turn to.

Protein shakes, stick packs, gels, and other ready to consume supplements are easy fuel. These can provide the energy and general nutrition golfers need to maintain performance during a long round.

Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) have long been touted for their recovery effects and are also suggested to help improve focus. Amino Vital is a leading BCAA brand that was featured on PGA Tour towels for years. Amino Vital participates in third party certification by Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG) with the Certified Drug Free program testing every lot for more than 500 drugs.

Caffeine has long been used by average folks like us to jumpstart the day and energize our daily lives. This is no different in golf as caffeine can provide that extra kick to finish 18 holes strong. Too much on the other hand can cause the shakes. If those come on top of the yips you got real problems.

CBD is now quite common with a number of top golfers using CBD and representing some of the leading brands. CBD products come with a number of suggested benefits like improved recovery and sleep or reducing anxiety. That might help when you’re getting set to hit over the creek on the tough par 3 12th at Augusta. CBD products carry an extra risk of potential drug testing positives or unwanted psychoactive effects that could come from too much residual THC, one of the risks the BSCG Certified CBD third party certification program protects against along with screening for banned substances.

Creatine is one of the most researched supplements on the market with a number of possible benefits that may help golfers. The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) highlights a number of benefits in their Creatine white paper. “In addition to athletic and exercise improvement, research has shown that creatine supplementation may enhance post-exercise recovery, injury prevention, thermoregulation, rehabilitation, and concussion and/or spinal cord neuroprotection.”

Buff Chick Creatine, TRU Creatine, One Sol Creatine, and Peak Performance Nutrition Creatine the One are all BSCG Certified Drug Free product options.

Herbal supplements are also of potential interest to golfers. Rhodiola rosea for example is suggested to help with fatigue and enhance oxygen carrying capacity. Other herbs like Ashwagandha may have a variety of benefits including reduced stress and fatigue, improved cognition and endurance, and even impacts on muscle strength. A global leader in ashwagandha, KSM-66, participates in the BSCG Certified Drug Free program for ingredients as does Nektium’s Rhodiolife®.

While supplements may provide an array of benefits they can also come with hidden surprises, and golfers don’t like hidden surprises. Especially when they come in the form of banned substances.

Unfortunately, banned substances may be lurking in any dietary supplement lot. They can contaminant even the most benign dietary supplement. Protein powders, multi vitamins, and even salt pills have been contaminated and caused athletes to test positive.

Banned substance contamination can come from tainted raw materials, cross contamination during the production process, or environmental sources like treated wastewater that contains remnants of pharmaceuticals and may be used to irrigate fields of herbal supplement ingredients. The possibilities for contamination are endless.

Thankfully there is a solution. Third Party Certification.

Several groups offer third party certification for banned substances to protect athletes, PGA Tour players, and you from potential drug contamination in dietary supplements. BSCG Certified Drug Free, LGC’s Informed Sport and Choice, and NSF Certified for Sport are international leaders in dietary supplement certification for banned substances. The BSCG Certified CBD program offers banned substance protection for CBD products.

But not all programs are created equal. One of the primary differences is in the frequency of testing.

The BSCG Certified Drug Free program and the Informed Sport program both require every lot to be tested in order for a product to be certified. So if the seal is on the package the protection should apply. The Informed Choice program conducts monthly blind testing. The NSF Certified for Sport program does not require every lot to be tested and the frequency of testing is not outlined on their site. All they say on the site is, “Lots tested will be listed online at nsfsport.com and in the Certified for Sport® app.” Not much transparency for a third party certification provider.

The BSCG Certified CBD program screens every lot of a CBD product for 505+ banned substances, as well as verifying CBD and THC levels with cannabinoid testing, and checking for harmful level of heavy metals, pesticides, and microbiological agents every ten lots. The Certified CBD program was the first third party certification for CBD products to include banned substance protection. Premium quality CBD brands like PureSport, FourFive, Love Hemp, Purity Hemp, Kannaway, Biosportart, Active Relief Naturals, and Joy Sports have Certified CBD products available in the UK, U.S., Japan, and other regions.

With any third party certification for banned substances always verify that a lot has been tested in program databases. If a lot has not been tested the banned substance protection doesn’t apply.

That goes for PGA Tour players or any other consumer who wants drug free supplements or CBD products.

The testing menu is another key element of third party certification for banned substances, and in this case golfers like high numbers as the more substances the better the protection. BSCG is an industry leader testing for more than 507 drugs, with 298 that are banned in sport, and is the only group to add protection against 209 other drugs not banned in sport like pain killers, opioids, muscle relaxers, PDE-5 inhibitors and more. NSF Certified for Sport tests for 290 banned substances in sport, while LGC screens for 250.

The Rules of Golf are clear and they don’t allow shenanigans. One mistake on a scorecard, moving a ball, or an innocent shoe wedge, ehm, could get you a one stroke penalty or even disqualified. One mistake with a dietary supplement could cost a PGA Tour player, or other drug tested professional, a lot more.

While you may not be able to master Augusta like the pros, you can master your supplement routine like they do by looking for third party certification for banned substances and lots that have been tested for banned substances.

When it comes to banned substance certification BSCG is the gold standard.



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