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Athletes should be vigilant in using supplements

There is an array of supplements available for athletes to purchase that have no prohibited substances listed as ingredients. Despite this, there have been several cases whereby supplement products have been contaminated with prohibited substances as defined by the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) Prohibited List.

All athletes are advised to be vigilant in using any supplement. No guarantee can be given that any particular supplement is free from Prohibited Substances.

Diet, lifestyle and training should all be optimised before athletes consider supplements, and they should always consult a qualified sports nutrition professional and seek advice.

An important principle of the Code is that of strict liability, which states that athletes are ultimately responsible for any Prohibited Substances found in their system or for the use of any Prohibited Method. Before taking supplements, athletes must therefore assess the risk and understand their personal responsibility.

Supplements may claim to be drug free or safe for drug-tested athletes. It is not possible to guarantee that specific supplements will be free of prohibited substances, however – and athletes can only reduce the risk of inadvertent doping by making informed decisions.

In the UK, LGC has taken the initiative to create a scheme to support athletes in assessing the risk. The Informed-Sport programme is designed to evaluate supplement manufacturers for their process integrity and screening of supplements and raw ingredients for the presence of substances that are on the WADA Prohibited List. For further information, see the Informed-Sport site.

UK Anti-Doping believes this risk minimisation service to be a positive step and welcomes the approach being taken by industry and the LGC Informed-Sport programme.

However, we wish to remind athletes that strict liability will still apply and the appropriate sanctions imposed on any athlete returning an adverse analytical finding from any supplement product, as with all other cases of doping.

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