WASHINGTON, D.C., June 18, 2002 - The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), one of the dietary supplement industry’s leading trade associations, today submitted written testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Foreign Commerce and Tourism at a hearing on the illegal use of steroids.
John Cardellina, Ph.D., vice president, botanical science and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition, provided the following written statement:
"Thank you for allowing us to submit our comments for the record with regard to the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Foreign Commerce and Tourism’s hearing dealing with the illegal use of steroids. CRN shares the committee’s concerns over this serious issue.
Likewise, CRN would like to clarify the distinction between illegal, injectable steroid hormones and legal dietary supplements containing steroid hormone precursors. Such legitimate dietary supplements are not manufactured from the same compounds nor do they contain the same serving sizes as the substances and products that are the focus of your inquiry-illegal steroid hormones. Indeed, dietary supplements are vigorously regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as by government agencies in each of the 50 states.
CRN does recognize that there are two tangible concerns about legal dietary supplements containing steroid hormone precursors:
- the potential impact of steroid hormone precursors on young athletes still in the process of sexual maturation; and
- the possibility that the use of such products might result in positive tests for substances banned by some athletic governing bodies.
In consideration of these issues and in recognition that sports nutrition supplements are currently the largest growing segment of the dietary supplement industry, CRN joined the Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, in organizing and hosting a Conference on Performance-Enhancing Products, January 8-9, 2002, in order to discuss the latest science regarding these products and the issues of athletic oversight organizations.
CRN is developing guidelines for the use of sports supplements by athletes of all ages, with emphasis on the use of such products by young athletes. The current draft language includes the following statements regarding steroid hormone precursors:
Individuals younger than 18 years should not use steroid hormone precursors… Because of incomplete sexual maturation, young persons may be more susceptible than adults to adverse effects of steroid hormone precursors such as "andro" (androstenedione), "19-nor" (19-norandrostenedione) and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone).
CRN is also developing advice for the various "gatekeepers" for young athletes- manufacturers/marketers, parents, coaches, trainers, and health care professionals-to assist them in their roles of counseling and monitoring the purchase and use of such products.
In addition to complying with all legal requirements, CRN’s members adhere to a strict code of ethics, comply with dosage limits and manufacture dietary supplements to high quality standards under good manufacturing practices.
CRN has advocated on behalf of dietary supplements for the last 29 years. We have been the primary association behind the passage of all major dietary supplement legislation since 1976, including the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. We have worked closely and effectively with the Food and Drug Administration, Congress and other government organizations over the years. CRN supports the authority of, and encourages action by, the FDA to remove from the marketplace any product found to be misbranded, adulterated or contaminated, including dietary supplements found to contain illegal steroids.
Consumers use dietary supplements for a variety of reasons-to complement a specific restricted diet, offset deficiencies in normal diet, aid in disease prevention, and for general health maintenance. Our members are dedicated to providing safe and beneficial products to consumers. This hearing is reviewing the availability and use of illegal steroids, and CRN affirms that a distinction needs to be made between these unacceptable entities and legal dietary supplements.