For Zero Risk Use Zero Supplements


Do you know that there are over 200 “aliases” for testosterone that is used in supplements? This is one of the fascinating and alarming things we learned from Dr. Bob Murray at the recent SCAN (Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition) Symposium in Colorado Springs. Supplements are not as well regulated as pharmaceuticals. Dr. Murray said that all types of supplements are at risk for contamination, and that over 50% of FDA recalls between 2004 and 2012 were for supplements. 

The riskiest categories of supplements are muscle building supplements, weight loss aids and sexual enhancement products. Some athletes seek supplements or performance enhancing drugs as a way to gain an unfair competitive advantage. Other athletes are at risk because they are not aware of the potential for supplements being contaminated with banned substances or formulated with dangerous compounds.

Dr. Murray was a co-founder of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and is now the managing principal of Sports Science Insights, LLC, a consulting group that provides sports nutrition and exercise science expertise to companies. Dr. Murray outlined 5 things to keep in mind about supplements.

1.       Some ingredients are illegal and banned by a sport governing body such as the International Olympic Committee or NCAA.

2.       Some ingredients are legal but banned by a sport governing body.

3.       Many ingredients have aliases. There are over 40,000 chemical “aliases” for substances that are used in supplements, making it more difficult to evaluate and regulate supplements.

4.       Some ingredients are dangerous. He gave an example of Oxy-Elite Pro, which contained the banned stimulant DMAA and was linked to acute hepatitis.

5.       Supplement use may make the jump to performance enhancing drugs more attractive to athletes.

Dr. Murray offers the following advice to athletes:

·         Want zero risk? Take zero supplements.

·         Okay with minimal risk?  Use certified supplements. Work with qualified professional who can do the homework. Get approval from team official.

·         Like to live dangerously? Take whatever supplement you want.

For more information about supplements check out the SCAN fact sheets on dietary supplements  and their regulation

© 2015 Kathleen Searles, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN

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