SALT LAKE CITY--(BW SportsWire)--Feb. 8, 2002--USANA Health Sciences vice president of research and development, Tim Wood, Ph.D., Friday called for an IOC-administered certification program for nutritional supplements.
According to Wood, supplement manufacturers would submit their products for testing and receive certification that the products were safe for athletes to use. A media briefing on the proposal is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 8, at the Utah Media Center, located in the ExpoMart, 230 West 200 South.
"We are proposing that the IOC use the scientific capabilities at its disposal to provide guidance for the athletes, rather than merely issuing threatening declarations to athletes that provide no practical solutions," said Wood. "That must change, and we can take the first steps toward improving that situation while we're all here in Salt Lake City."
Wood's proposal calls for manufacturers to work with IOC-sponsored anti-doping agencies to establish standards for the design and production of supplements suitable for Olympic-level athletes.
"Since these agencies are reportedly testing supplements now -- without publishing meaningful results -- clearly this testing could be used to certify products and manufacturers and to guide the athlete's choice," said Wood.
Currently, several IOC anti-doping agencies have condemned all supplements and warned athletes to take none. But for some athletes, that is not the answer.
Jason Parker, an Olympic hopeful on Canada's speedskating team, believes that athletes are responsible for learning about the supplements they take, but says that better information from the governing bodies would be very helpful. "That is one thing they haven't done for us: they haven't let us know what companies and products to avoid."
Dr. Denis Waitley, a former member of the USOC's sport medicine council, which at the time had oversight of the anti-doping work, said, "Not all supplements are created equal and there should be some way to distinguish from performance-enhancing supplements and basic personal nutritional supplementaion."
Waitley, who currently serves as a member of the board of directors of USANA Health Sciences, added, "An IOC-sanctioned certification process would serve Olympic athletes by exposing poor manufacturers and encouraging more manufacturers to follow existing pharmaceutical-grade good manufacturing practices (GMPs).
"It would also negate the fear that thousands of athletes live in today as they follow the advice of health experts."
Wood outlined his proposal in a letter sent to Dick Pound, chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and Jacques Rogge, the president of the IOC. A letter was also sent to U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, inviting him to help bring manufacturers together to discuss this issue with the IOC and other relevant athletic federations.
Senator Hatch was instrumental in the development and passing of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which guides the FDA's regulation of the nutrition industry. The proposal for the establishment of an IOC certification program will be presented to the media and the public in a briefing to be held at the Utah Media Center at 1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8.
USANA Health Sciences Inc. develops, manufactures and distributes nutritional products that are sold directly to preferred customers and distributors throughout the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. More information on USANA can be found at http://usanahealthsciences.com.