Managing supplement risks

There are no guarantees that any supplement product is free from banned substances.

Athletes must be fully aware of the risks to their career if they chose to use a supplement product.

The facts - what you need to know about supplements

  • No guarantees can be given that any supplement product is free from banned substances.
  • All athletes must undertake thorough internet research prior to using any supplement product. This is a WADA Code requirement.
  • Not knowing is not an excuse. If you test positive, it will be for you to prove how the banned substance entered your system.
  • The Code makes a provision for contaminated products (supplements), so make sure you can prove that you have taken all steps to manage the risks associated with supplement use.

What that means for you

Many athletes fail tests because of the supplement products they use.

The risks with supplements are:

  • Supplements can contain banned substances
  • Supplements can be contaminated with banned substances during the manufacturing process
  • Supplements may contain ingredients listed differently to how they appear on the Prohibited List
  • Be wary of fake supplement products, especially when buying over the internet

WADA, UK Anti-Doping or other anti-doping organisations do not endorse or approve supplement products, and any product claiming it is ‘safe for athletes to take’ should be used with extreme caution.

What you should do

  1. Assess the need: seek advice from a qualified medical professional to determine whether you need to use a supplement.
  2. Assess the risks: only use batch-tested supplement products to minimise your risks of contamination.
  3. Assess the consequences: to your career prior to using any supplement product. You could receive a four-year ban.
  4. Use batch-tested products: If you still chose to use a supplement product, you need to use a batch-tested product. Make sure you check the actual batch numbers prior to use.

Where to go for further advice