USADA names NSF best sports certification for athletes’ supplement needs

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images
Getty Images
The United States Anti Doping Agency has named NSF Certified for Sport as the dietary supplement certification that best meets the needs of athletes, the organization announced recently.

The issue of doping has been a concern in professional and amateur national and international sports organizations for years. Athletes have often blamed tainted or misbranded dietary supplements for their having failed doping tests.

Supplements continue to use supplements

Many athletes believe they need dietary supplements to perform at their best, but according to USADA, this trust in supplements is sometimes undeserved. Dietary supplements are regulated in a post-market fashion, which means that no regulatory body approves the accuracy of the label or the safety of the contents before they are sold to consumers.

USADA said this creates a situation in which without assurances to the contrary, any supplement an athlete chooses could contain dangerous, illegal or banned ingredients. There are often no warning signs that a product is unsafe, and many athletes have suffered health problems or positive drug tests and sanctions from using products that are incorrectly labeled or contaminated with dangerous ingredients, such as anabolic steroids, pharmaceuticals, or research drugs masquerading as legally marketed dietary supplements. Sometimes, risky or dangerous ingredients are disguised on labels under confusing names.

NSF is one of several third parties that offer a certification on supplements so that they be assured to be free of substances on the World Anti doping Agency list, a list which USADA affirms.  The list now contains more than 200 banned substances.

GMP provision put NSF over the top, exec says

But David Trosin, global business development director and general manager of the dietary supplement program at NSF said the NSF Certified for Sport program offers additional advantages that were attractive to USADA​.

Trosin said NSF takes a look at the totality of how the supplement in manufactured. Only after the organization is assured the product is manufactured in a GMP compliant fashion and in a GMP audited facility does it then go on to test for banned ingredients.

“They evaluated us against our peers,”​ Trosin said. “NSF has some elements that others don’t in terms of a GMP audited environment.  Only after that happens does it move into the banned substances testing.  I think that’s the reason they said athletes should choose NSF and only NSF for their supplements.”

USADA said using an NSF Certified for Sport product significantly reduces, but does not necessarily eliminate, the chance of testing positive and being sanctioned. Under the rules, if an athlete tests positive and establishes the source as a contaminated NSF Certified for Sport product, the athlete could get a much-reduced sanction, but there likely would still be a consequence.

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