Supplement information for athletes is provided in an effort to help athletes make informed choices about dietary supplements and give them direction on safe and responsible supplement use. With the proper supplement information, athletes can avoid performance-enhancing drugs that can hide in supplement products.
Sport drug-testing programs hold athletes strictly liable for any prohibited substance that is found during a drug test. The athlete is responsible no matter how a banned substance makes its way into the body. Athletes must take great care to ensure that what they eat and ingest will not put them in jeopardy of a positive drug test. Dietary supplement information is especially important for athletes to consider.
Anti-doping agencies and sport leagues commonly provide supplement information to athletes that includes warnings. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) advisory to athletes reads, “Extreme caution is recommended regarding supplement use. The use of dietary supplements by athletes is a concern because in many countries the manufacturing and labeling of supplements may not follow strict rules, which may lead to a supplement containing an undeclared substance that is prohibited under anti-doping regulations. A significant number of positive tests have been attributed to the misuse of supplements and taking a poorly labeled dietary supplement is not an adequate defense in a doping hearing.”
The key to athletic success begins with dedication to proper training and nutrition. Most athletes can achieve the bulk of their nutritional needs by eating a healthy and varied diet. That said, athletes are constantly challenging their bodies and pushing themselves to the limit and that brings with it the consideration of dietary supplements to add hydration, support protein or carbohydrate levels, and maximize key nutrients. It is important for athletes to learn as much as possible about the supplements they’re interested in using. If an athlete elects to use a dietary supplement (as many do, studies show), safe and responsible consumption is vital.
If athletes elect to use supplements despite the inherent risks, we suggest considering products that have been tested and certified by an experienced third-party to mitigate the dangers. Testing and certification help to show the product in question does not contain hidden substances that could lead to a positive drug test. The BSCG Certified Drug Free® program, overseen by world-renowned sport drug-testing pioneer Dr. Don Catlin and his son, Oliver Catlin, is highly regarded in the industry. BSCG’s testing menu, which is focused on the WADA Prohibited List, is the most comprehensive in the industry, covering over 274 drugs banned in sport, more than any other such program. The WADA Prohibited List is used a model for most other sporting groups in defining their testing menus. As a result, BSCG Certified Drug Free® dietary supplements comply with all major sport drug-testing programs including the NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, NBA, PGA, LPGA, NCAA, NASCAR, ATP, WTA, CFL, UFC, CrossFit, and more. BSCG is proud to be the first and only supplement certification program to include testing for an additional 211 prescription, over-the-counter, and illicit drugs not banned in sport.
BSCG also offers a customized testing solution to athletes, teams, and leagues who want to ensure their regimen is free of drugs or contaminants prior to use. This is known as BSCG’s Athlete Assurance Program.
We encourage athletes to do their research on any dietary supplement they intend to use to ensure there is proper science behind the product claims. Examining supplement information can be challenging for athletes, but it is of utmost importance. Be particularly cautious when considering muscle-building, male performance, pre-workout, nootropics, or weight loss supplements, as these products have a greater risk of being contaminated with pharmaceutical drugs or powerful new designer drugs that could be banned in sport. Always consult your doctors or qualified nutritionists, dietitians, trainers, coaches or other trusted personnel before using supplements.
Some third-party dietary supplement certification providers specialize in athlete protection by evaluating supplements and testing them to verify banned substances are not present. These groups can also be good resources for athletes and support personnel to get additional guidance on supplement-related issues.
BSCG Certified Drug Free®, Cologne List, Informed Sport/Informed Choice, and NSF Certified for Sport® offer reputable supplement certification programs that test products for banned substances in sport and provide databases with products and lots that have been certified to be free of drugs. Please remember to verify that the lot on the package you intend to take has been certified. Certified supplements offer athletes significant protection against contamination with banned substances in sport but do not provide an absolute guarantee.
BSCG is always able to provide further guidance and information about supplements to athletes, and we respect athletes who do their due diligence and research supplements. Call us toll-free at 1-800-920-6605 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
Some sporting authorities suggest that athletes should take a hard line and not consume dietary supplements. But with studies showing dietary-supplement use growing, even among non-competitive adults,* such an approach is now seen by many as unrealistic. Such a policy also fails to acknowledge that many manufacturers of dietary supplements are responsible, honest, and legitimately concerned about making legitimate products.
We recommend that sporting organizations educate athletes about the risks of supplement use but also inform them about supplement certification programs like BSCG’s so athletes know how to find reputable certified supplements. Although we greatly appreciate endorsement of our program by sport leagues, we do not actually advocate that approach as it can create unnecessary conflicts of interest.
Our recommendation to sporting authorities, leagues and other groups is to recognize the protection programs like ours offer and include them in educational materials and supplement information for athletes, nutritionists, trainers, and coaches. A simple message such as the following, added to the traditional anti-doping stance, would offer a perspective athletes can use to protect themselves while reinforcing an appropriately cautionary position.
“If athletes elect to use supplements despite the inherent risks, please consider products that have been tested or certified to mitigate the risks. BSCG Certified Drug Free®, Cologne List, Informed Sport/Informed Choice, and NSF Certified for Sport® offer supplement certification programs that test products for banned substances in sport and include other quality control elements. ConsumerLabs.com and the USP Verified program also offer services focused on the integrity and quality of supplement products.”
*According to a 2013 study from the National Marketing Institute, supplement usage among U.S. adults increased from 62 percent in 2009 to 73 percent in 2013.
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Finished products are Certified Drug & Free® with annual label claim contaminant testing.
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