Supplements in the news…again

Supplements, long the doping scourge of athletes looking for that extra edge, have made the headlines again. This time it is a product called "Craze" that has come under fire from the medical and scientific communities and the anti-doping movement.

Craze is reported to contain amphetamine-like compounds that stimulate the central nervous system. In short, it is a powerful stimulant. Its use by humans has not been studied and its health consequences are unknown. Who would sell such a product? Who would buy such a product? Before it was recently pulled, Driven Sports was manufacturing it and the product was being sold by Walmart and GNC, among others.

Herein lies the problem with many supplements: they are NOT properly regulated.  They are manufactured under very loose to non-existent manufacturing requirements and they are often marketed with little or no concern for what the marketer claims the product can do. People looking to make a fast buck are preying on everyone from the high-performance athlete looking for something to get them to the next level, to the unsuspecting gym-goer looking to put on some extra muscle and drop some extra fat.

Think you can trust the product label and promotional hype? Think again. What the label says is in the product is not always the case and the promotional claims surrounding the product are rarely evidence-based.

Still, athletes continue to roll the dice with supplements. They rely on word of mouth or internet claims of product benefits and they risk incurring an anti-doping violation in the process. Even unsuspecting gym-goers risk their health by relying on the ill-informed supplement advice of the person using the squat machine next to them.

Is there anything the consumer can do? First, they can visit the CCES website at www.cces.ca and read our numerous advisory notes on the dangers of supplements. Then, if they still feel they must use supplements, they can reduce the risk of testing positive by only using supplements that are certified by NSF Certified for Sport®. However, this is not a 100% guarantee – such a guarantee does not exist. Remember, athletes always bear the ultimate responsibility for what turns up in their bodies!

When it comes to supplements, the old adage, "If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true" has never been more applicable.

Tags: 
Doping