Nutritional supplements cover a broad range of products including vitamins, minerals, herbs, meal supplements, sports nutrition products, natural food supplements, and other related products used to boost the nutritional content of the diet. The marketplace supplies thousands of supplements claiming to provide nutritional support for athletes. Some of these consist of high-protein products, such as amino acid supplements, while other products contain nutrients that support metabolism, energy, and athletic performance and recovery. Supplements can be found in pill, tablet, capsule, powder or liquid form, etc.
Many athletes fail tests because of the supplement products they use.
The risks with supplements are:
WADA, UK Anti-Doping or other anti-doping organizations do not endorse or approve supplement products, and any product claiming it is ‘safe for athletes to take’ should be used with extreme caution.
Many suggest that athlete should not take any supplements but due to additional energy requirements in the game, there may be circumstances where sports dieticians recommend supplements, or where athletes use supplements regardless of the risk.
Athletes should only use supplements which have been screened for prohibited substances by an independent company, such as Informed Sport Supplements.
Millions of people around the world, including athletes, look to supplements as a way to boost their sports performance. However, supplements pose a real risk for athletes with about half of all anti-doping rule violations (sport bans). Being aware of the risks is the first step to staying in the game.
All athletes should be aware of the three A’s for protecting a sporting career:
1 (Be) Aware
2 (Do your) Analysis
3 (Take steps to) Avoid
The supplement industry is poorly regulated, so the ingredient list doesn't always match the product contents. That makes it difficult for any athlete to know exactly what is going into their body. It is not uncommon for banned substances to be added deliberately during the manufacturing process, or added accidentally through contamination. It is for these reasons ASADA is unable to guarantee whether a specific supplement, or batch of a supplement, is safe to use.
Products containing a prohibited substance can result in bans of up to months-four years for athletes. The presence of a prohibited substance in a supplement may result in an anti-doping rule violation, whether its use was intentional or unintentional. Under the World Anti-Doping Code’s strict liability principle, athletes are ultimately responsible for any substance found in their body, regardless of how it got there. That means, even if the prohibited substance is not listed on the label of a supplement, if you consume it, you are still responsible. In addition to facing a possible ban from sport, there are some supplements on the market that contain prohibited stimulants which can pose serious health risks for athletes.
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