New Supplements Warning to UK Athletes

Athletes are advised to seek nutritional advice

Athletes who take dietary supplements run the risk of failing a drugs test according to a report published today by UK Sport. This is one of a number of conclusions published in the ‘Nandrolone Progress Report’, written by a panel of experts and presented to UK Sport.

The report draws on research conducted over the last two years which has confirmed earlier findings of banned substances not listed on the labels of some supplements. For example, 94 out of 634 samples from non-hormonal dietary supplements tested last year in Cologne were found to contain prohibited anabolic-androgenic steroids not listed on the label. In addition, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Social Security and Public Welfare carried out similar tests on 54 supplements. It found that 22% contain banned substances.

In all cases, athletes taking the contaminated supplements would provide a positive sample if tested for drugs under International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules.

UK Sport’s report states that:

“Competitors are again strongly advised that using dietary supplements carries the potential risk of unknowingly ingesting a banned substance. We therefore recommend UK Sport to encourage more manufacturers and suppliers of sports supplements to strive to eliminate problem substances, and to label their products clearly to enable sport participants to avoid substances banned by the IOC.”

UK Sport has traditionally taken a strong line on the use of supplements and, according to Chief Executive Richard Callicott, this situation seems unlikely to change in the foreseeable future:

“With the potential risks of contamination or poor labelling associated with supplements highlighted in this report, UK Sport feels it is right to advise athletes to be extremely cautious about the use of any supplements. Athletes taking supplements are doing so at their own risk and personal responsibility. I am delighted to see that this message seems to be getting through, as the number of nandrolone findings in relation to total drug tests has fallen significantly since the peak in 1999.

“To improve the situation even further, we are keen to work with the supplement manufacturers to ensure that appropriate standards of labelling are met and the problems of cross-contamination overcome.”

Michele Verroken, Director of Drug-Free Sport at UK Sport, added:

“Athletes should look at suitable alternatives to taking supplements, the main one of course being to eat a balanced and healthy diet. We also encourage all sports to enlist the help of qualified nutritional experts to discuss with athletes what they should be eating and drinking to perform at the optimum level in their given discipline.”

The report goes on to examine other issues that have arisen regarding nandrolone. These include the recent changes to the IOC/WADA banned substance list which specified for the first time the level of nandrolone in a sample which would lead to a penalty for a doping violation.

* The Nandrolone Review Group was established by UK Sport in August 1999, in response to the increase in the number of athletes testing positive for nandrolone. The Group, chaired by Professor Vivien James, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Pathology at the University of London, published its first report in January 2000.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.