Nutrition Business Journal

NCAA sports new requirement for supplement and banned substance education

Coaches and trainers soon to be required to educate college athletes on which supplements may contain banned substances.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has released a new rule requiring Division I schools to assign a staff member to be responsible for knowing about dietary supplements and banned substances. The requirement, which goes into effect on August 1, 2011, says schools must educate coaches and other staff members in contact with student athletes and advise them on which supplements contain ingredients on the banned substances list.

Professional sports organizations have similar programs and often have a nutritionist on staff who can educate the players. New supplements are run past trainers for a cross-check with the banned substances list.

The rule is a step forward in keeping young athletes from accidentally making themselves ineligible because a banned substance happened to be in a supplement they were taking. It comes at a good time because use of sports nutrition supplements among young athletes is on the rise, as sports nutrition is no longer just a niche market targeted at hardcore gym rats.

Nutrition Business Journal estimates that the sports nutrition supplement market grew nearly 10 percent in 2010 to total more than $3 billion in U.S. consumer sales. Hardcore protein drinks such as Muscle Milk, grabbed more mass market shelf space, significantly helped to drive this growth. CytoSport, the maker of Muscle Milk, grew sales 20 percent to $200 million in 2010, according to NBJ.

NBJ bottom line: high school sports would benefit from similar rule

A disconnect often exists between what U.S. regulators and what sports organizations allow as “legal” dietary supplements, and it’s easy for young athletes to be caught in the middle. The ingredient DHEA is a good example of a product available on the consumer market, yet banned by the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA). Information needs to be readily available to athletes that provides clear-cut boundaries between what is available and what is illegal.

As more sports supplements trickle down into the high school level, state high school sports associations would benefit from imposing similar requirements. High school athletes competing for recognition and recruitment from Division I schools can be susceptible to fringe products with banned ingredients and overblown claims. Pre-workout products such as Jack3d and others containing WADA-banned drug MHA, are growing in popularity among these young athletes. Along with safety concerns, high school stars may lose that synthetic edge once they reach the Division I level and have to drop the banned products.

NBJ covers the Sports Nutrition & Weight Loss market in depth in its February 2011 issue, as well as in our Sports Nutrition & Weight Loss Webinar. To order online or become a subscriber, please visit the NBJ subscription page.

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