Where is Report Post on mobile? We've made a slight change, see here
Have your say on the future of the 'Save Draft' feature in this poll
MODs please see this information notice in the mod's forum. Thanks!
How to add spoiler tags, edit posts, add images etc. How to - a user's guide to the new version of Boards

Food Supplements

  • 04-04-2003 8:21am
    Closed Accounts Posts: 15 ✭✭✭ Dan Kavanagh


    Some interesting stuff in the last few days about food supplements.

    A couple of facts to ponder:

    Food supplement industry valued about 360m Sterling PA in the UK.

    In tests carried out by the International Olympic Council, about 20% shown to contain banned substances, whose identity were not revealed on the ingredients on the label.

    Dr. Conal O'Brien of the Irish Sports Council has said there are 3 reasons not to use Food Supplements

    - some are tainted (see above)

    - impact on health not known

    - they don't work.

    Those taking food supplements are leaving themselves open to inadvertantly being tested positive for a banned substance with a resulting long ban from the sport along with the shame and damage to credibility this entails.

    What does anyone else think?


  • Dan,

    I find it apalling that the supplement industry is not held liable for including banned substances or their precursors in thier products. I believe that there are honest athletes who have inadvertantly ingested banned substances in this manner.

    I am quite sure also that there are dishonest athletes who claim that this is the way that they got caught. It is hard to differentiate between the two.

    Not only that but I feel that there is organised cheating going on and very little done to catch those involved. I do not trust the test procedures and feel that the real abusers are still active with some sort of immunity from detection or the ensuing penalties.


  • Ed,

    I agree with you fully. Another thing that should be of concern is, not only the 'legality' issue but also, whether the taking of supplements is harmful either in the short or long term to the health of the athletes. I read a piece in Athletics Weekly which states that the Food Supplement industry (in the UK) is not the same way as the Pharmacy industry is. Therefore, athletes have no way of knowing what they're putting into their bodies (as the labels are not telling the whole story in a lot of cases), whether it has been tested and found safe by an independent regulatory body etc. I think I recall our former Minister for Sport, Jim McDaid - a medical doctor - also expressing concern at the potential damage that supplements could cause to one's health.


  • Dan,

    All things in moderation, I suppose. Some vitamins can be lethal in large doses, and of course we are all aware of the effects of alcohol. Certainly the dietary supplements industry should be as strictly regulated as foods or medicine.


  • Ed,

    Basically, what I'm talking about are the products that are sold through ads in magazines that are very expensive and for which all sorts of claims are made. What concerns me is that athletes are taking these products in the general belief that they need them - and they're legal - to improve their performance without knowing the full facts about what they contain etc. I know some of these products are already being used by the very young - not necessarily in our sport solely. Basically I am not a doctor and my concerns about their safety arises from published comments from some doctors. (Incidentally in my first post I referred to Dr. O Brien as Conal rather than Conor - his correct name. My apologies)


  • This post has been deleted.

  • Advertisement

  • I remember some folks claiming that steroids didn't improve performance. I think this is a case of wishful thinking by the well intentioned.

    I believe that the correct tack is to acknowledge that certain substances can enhance performance. Along with that acknowledgement, we need to drive home the life threateing impact of substance abuse in addition to the social humiliation of being branded a performance enhancing drug user. In my respects, there is more societal shame associated with steroids then heroin, cocaine, crystal meth etc!


  • This post has been deleted.

  • Think of the impact on Michelle Smith de Bruin - yes I think there is a societal stigma. Additionally think of the monetray damage that case did to her income potential.


  • This post has been deleted.

  • Innocent until proven guilty..... which applies to Lance Armstrong and any other athlete who hasn't tested positive. Until 90% on the cycling circle are caught, I won't accept that 90% are users.... call me naive!!

    If I was still competing though, I'd be avoiding supplements like the plague. At some point the food supplement defence starts getting old. Am I off base here?


  • Advertisement

  • Martin,

    I agree with you in the innocent until proven guilty argument, but it seems that certain athletes are protected.

    I wouldn't like to put numbers down but it stands to reason that there are those with the support to beat tests, and there are those who probably wouldn't get caught if they pissed pure dianabol.

  • This post has been deleted.

  • Ok, first off, there is a doping control procedure for a reason. It is far from perfect in many respects if only because there is a lack of confidence but it is what we have. Criticism of the doping procedures is certainly on-topic, but criticism of the improvement of athletes with no evidence is just pointless and undeserved.
    Sport first needs to admit that doping is rampent before it can do anything about it and things like Sydney 2000 where the female athelete in one of the middle distance races got away because of some paperwork have to be stopped.

    That's rubbish. If the test has not been carried out correctly, then the decision should favour the athlete. As above, innocent until proven guilty. Even if the athlete was guilty, an improperly carried out test can never be upheld, which would lead to a ban being revoked, which in turns leads to the loss of confidence in the testing process ...

  • Anybody read this article on the Independent site?(Free registration required)

    Thoughts, comments?


  • Interesting, as in my understanding Nandrolone is supposed to be detectable for long periods of time and isn't easily flushed out.

    I have no confidence in the tests and even less in those who are in charge of the process.

    I also feel that the supplement industry should be regulated so that accidental ingestion of banned substances is impossible.

  • How easy is it to mask Nandrolone? Any micro-biologists out there?

    Why the limited confidence in the tests Ed?


  • In my day things were a bit more out in the open and athletes would freely exchange information on the drugs, their effects, when to get of them prior to tests etc. Now athletes are far more secretive, and even some who are long retired and freely admitted to using drugs at the time, now deny using them at all, or are rather quiet about the subject.

    It is like drunk driving. Now nobody will admit to ever having done so!

    There seem to be athletes who exhibit all of the hallmarks of heavy drug use yet either are not tested or their tests are found to be negative. It also seems that the clean, lower echelon elite athlete is tested that the IAAF can be seen to be testing. There are too many rumours of sink tests and like...

    And it always seems that the athletes from countries who are to host the Games have a get out of jail free card.

    Just have a look at the website of the company that is doing the Irish testing. What other countries are in their client list? They seem to only have one client from what I saw last time I looked. Seems a bit strange to me!

  • Website for the IDTM: