NADA India


Managing the Risk of Nutritional Supplements

The facts – what you need to know about supplements-

v  No supplement is 100% risk free.

v  Supplements may contain substances from WADA’s Prohibited list.

Principle of strict liability:

·       Athletes are solely accountable for prohibited substances in their system.

·       Responsibility remains regardless of how the substance entered their system or intent to cheat.


Risk of Supplements

Extreme caution is recommended regarding supplement use. A number of positive tests have been attributed to the misuse of supplements, poor labelling and supplement contamination. There is no 100% guarantee that a supplement is free from prohibited substances, but there are ways to significantly minimise the risk.

Risks of supplements include:

Fake or low-quality products which may contain prohibited substances and other substances that are harmful to health;

Manufacturing standards, which are often less strict when compared with medicines. These lower standards often lead to supplement contamination at production facilities;

False claims that a particular supplement is endorsed by Anti-Doping Organizations or that it is “safe for athletes”. Remember, Anti-Doping Organizations do not certify supplements – this is done by third-party testing agencies.

Mislabeling of supplements – ingredients listed in the wrong dosage, or not at all identified on the product label;

What You Should Do ?

·       All athletes should do a risk-benefit assessment if they are considering the use of supplements.

·       The first step of such an assessment is to consider whether a “food-first” approach meets the athlete’s needs.

·       Whenever possible, such an assessment should be done with the support of a certified nutritionist/dietician who is familiar with the anti-doping system.


How do Athletes Reduce the Risk of Taking Supplements ?

If, after careful consideration, an athlete chooses to use supplements, they must take the necessary steps to minimize the risks. This includes:

  • Select supplements only when a benefit is likely – this should be done with the assistance of a certified nutritionist/dietitian who can properly assess the athlete’s needs.
  • Remember, no supplement is 100% risk-free but athletes and Athlete Support Personnel can take certain steps to minimize these risks.