Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Recognizing Risky Supplements

Millions of people around the world rely on dietary supplements because they believe they are not capable of consuming enough nutrients through a proper diet. Athletes in particular believe the claims made by supplement companies; that their products will increase muscle, speed recovery, and help athletic performance. Americans, including athletes, spent 23.7 billion dollars in 2009 on scientifically unproven dietary supplements.

Every day, the Resource Exchange Center is asked about a new product or a new company. Athletes are presented with a multitude of information about supplements, from the manufacturer, online, at a gym, or through friends and family.

How do you decide which ones to try? While the REC does not recommend the use of any supplement because there is no guarantee that they are safe or effective, we want to give you some RED FLAG indicators to watch out for when you are considering the use of a product.

RED FLAG 1: Natural testosterone booster that increases testosterone levels.

• Legal steroid
• Alternative steroid
• Test Booster

REC Stance: Elevated testosterone levels can be the cause of a failed drug test. We most often see this statement made with products that contain tribulus. Tribulus has not been scientifically proven to have the capability to increase testosterone levels.

RED FLAG 2: Natural estrogen reduction. (aromatase inhibitor, estrogen blocker, anti-estrogens)

REC Stance: Anti-Estrogens can cause a positive drug test. Anti-Estrogens are often times used by anabolic steroid users to offset the adverse reaction know as Gynecomastia (man boobs).

RED FLAG 3: Your friend recommends a product, or you buy a product before researching it, but you can’t seem to find this particular product on the manufacturer’s website or the website at all.

REC Stance: We often get asked about products that companies no longer list on their websites or claim they do not produce. We see this when a company has been asked to pull their product from the market “voluntarily” by the FDA because of post market analysis. The product may also have been pulled by the company but distributors failed to pull it from their shelves. Lastly, your product is produced outside the US or is being sold illegally through third party shippers.

RED FLAG 4: You can’t find Supplement Facts and label information on the manufacturer’s website.

REC Stance: What are they trying to hide? If the manufacturer doesn’t want to list the label information on their website, they may have reasons to keep this information hidden or difficult to find.

RED FLAG 5: You see these listed ingredients or anything that resembles them:
7-Keto (DHEA)
ma haung
Colostrum (bovine)
Anything that is the purposeful misspelling of any of the above or any steroid, plus many more.

REC Stance: These are all ingredients that can be found in many nutritional supplements. Many sport governing bodies ban all of these substances including the NCAA, MLB, NFL, PGA TOUR, etc…and you will fail a drug test if you consume a product containing one. A number of health risks can be associated with many of these substances as they are related to anabolic steroids.

RED FLAG 6: You see any of these endings or prefixes:

REC Stance: If a product starts or ends with any of the above, you have a chance of testing positive on a drug test. You will want to avoid any products with ingredients containing these.

RED FLAG 7: If the product has been recalled by the FDA in the past or present including:
Products recalled on BodyBuilding.com
Weight loss supplements
Ephedra products

REC Stance:
It was recalled because it posed a threat to the general public. The majority of these products can cause a positive drug test and adverse reactions.

Common Myths about Dietary Supplements

If a substance is natural, it must be safe. NOT TRUE
If a substance is natural, it must be healthy and beneficial. NOT TRUE
More is better. ALMOST NEVER TRUE
Athletes are deficient in important compounds. ALMOST NEVER TRUE

Remember: Athletes should consume a diet that includes a variety of foods to optimize vitamin and mineral intakes rather than dietary supplements. (The American College of Sports Medicine’s stance on dietary supplements)


  1. Superdrol should never be used by athletes or anyone for that matter unless you are willing to deal with the consequences of steroids.

  2. Luis - I recommend that you visit our website and learn more about nutrition and healthy ways to stay above the curve. You have to remember that the body does age and we can't perform at the same level we once did when younger. A supplement is a supplement, multivitamins are still supplements.