Saturday, September 15, 2001 - Nutrition
Adivsory note regarding the use of dietary supplements


This Advisory Note is part of an ongoing series to inform Canadian athletes, coaches, medical and paramedical staff and sport governing bodies on the use of non-pharmaceutical products including herbal preparations, nutritional products and other dietary supplements.

The CCES is very concerned about the number of athletes who are prepared to take dietary supplements with little knowledge of what real (as opposed to claimed) benefits they provide and whether or not they contain banned substances.

The Canadian Policy on Doping in Sport defines doping to include the presence in the body of Banned Substances as determined by a Positive Test Result. Athletes are responsible for all substances found in their bodies even if consumed unintentionally or unknowingly. A Doping Infraction will be declared even if the banned substance enters an athlete's body through use of dietary supplements.

THE CONTENTS AND LABELLING OF DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS ARE UNREGULATED
Dietary supplements can contain banned substances. Regulation of dietary supplements in Canada and elsewhere is limited. It does not guarantee the content and accurate labelling of dietary supplements. The contents of particular products may change from batch to batch. Labels do not always indicate all of the ingredients. Nor do they always do so in a way that identifies banned substances. It is not possible for the CCES or any other organization to guarantee that all the ingredients have been listed on the packaging and/or whether the composition may vary during production from batch to batch, without notice. Athletes use dietary supplements at their own risk of testing positive and committing a doping infraction.

The connection between dietary supplements and positive test results for banned substances such as ephedra and nandrolone has been widely reported for a number of years. The CCES has issued four previous Advisory Notes concerning the risks of dietary substances. High-profile international athletes in a number of sports have tested positive because they have used dietary supplements. Athletes (and their coaches, trainers and doctors) can no longer credibly claim ignorance of the risks of positive test results due to use of dietary supplements.

THERE IS LITTLE SCIENTIFIC PROOF THAT DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS IMPROVE ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

Very few claims of enhanced performance through supplement use are backed up by valid research, while some supplements can actually have adverse effects.

Good marketing is not a guarantee of a good product. Remember that a primary motivation for most people wishing to sell dietary supplements is to make a profit.

Appropriate training and diet are the key ingredients to maximizing performance.

THE WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY (WADA) HAS WARNED AGAINST THE USE OF DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS

The WADA recently warned against the use of so-called žnutritional substances such as dietary supplements:

NUTRITIONAL SUBSTANCES
Nutritional Supplements are being increasingly used worldwide in the sports community.

In sports subjected to drug testing, the ingestion of these supplements pose a special risk because they may contain or be contaminated with substances that are specifically banned by most sporting bodies, including the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code.

As long as the production and sale of such supplements cannot be impeded and as long as their purity cannot be guaranteed, as is the case with prescriptive drugs, the risk of testing positive in a doping test must be borne by the consumer.

Therefore, e.g., a positive doping test for nandrolone can result from the ingestion of its precursors. Although this may be an explanation, it cannot stand as a defensive excuse for the offence, which is one of strict liability.

Please remember that athletes always bear the ultimate responsibility for the products they ingest. Should you require further information related to this Advisory Note, please contact the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport at:

Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport
300-2197 Riverside Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 7X3

www.cces.ca
CCES/September 13, 2001


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