Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Friday, August 26, 2011

What should I eat???

One of our primary responsibilities at the REC is to answer questions from athletes on dietary supplements. We are always warning them about the risks of supplement use and encouraging them to turn to food for their dietary needs and performance goals. In an effort to provide alternatives, we are working to increase our knowledge of sports nutrition by working with a great group of registered dietitians, Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA - http://www.sportsrd.org/).  
This group of registered dietitians is founded on the fundamental “food first” principle that “whole foods are the best fuel”. With all the questions we get asked about sports nutrition and our desire to offer athletes alternatives, who better to turn to than CPSDA? Below is a collection of blogs where you can go to get relevant and reliable information from experts on sports nutrition.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC
Sports Dietitian and Clinical Professor, Quinnipiac University Nutrition Consultant Certified Athletic Trainer Nutrition Expert for FoodNetwork.com

Dave Ellis, RD, CSCS
CPSDA President
Jamie Mascari, RD, LDN
Registered Dietician
Louisiana State University Athletics


Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD
Nutrition Communications and Sports Nutrition
Leslie P. Schilling, MA, RD, CSSD, LDN
Schilling Nutrition Therapy, LLC
Nancy Clark RD CSSD
Sports nutrition counselor

Sally Berry, MA, RD, CSSD
Team Dititian, Orlando Magic
The "Diet Diva" on The Daily Buzz TV show
Nutrition Consultant, UCF Athletics

Tara Gidus, MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N
Registerd Dietician
Bodyfuel inc.

Bob Seebohar, MS, RD, CSSD,CSCS
Registerd Dietician/Sport Dietitian

***This list will grow so please continue to check back. ***
What is a Registered Dietitian?
A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including:
  • Earned a bachelor's degree with course work approved by ADA's Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education. Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
  • Completed an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
Approximately 50 percent of RDs hold advanced degrees. Some RDs also hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support and diabetes education.
Registered dietitians who are members of the American Dietetic Association are not only food and nutrition experts—they are leaders in the field of dietetics. Every one of ADA's wide array of member benefits is designed to advance their knowledge and skills and enhance their networking opportunities.  (http://www.eatright.org/students/education/)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Risky Supplements

The REC warns against the use of any dietary supplement because of the under-regulation of the industry and the possible dangers (both to your health and your sport). We encourage you to be extra cautious of products falling into these categories:

Pre-workout – “Get amazing PUMPS with EXPLOSIVE energy!”
Products claiming to be pre-workouts often contain stimulants including, but not limited to, synephrine, octopamine, 1,3-dimethylamylamine, and caffeine. Many of these substances are banned by sport organizations. Also, stimulants can increase heart rate and body temperature as well as keep the exerciser working out longer, which can prove dangerous especially in hot humid conditions.

Pre-workout products also tout the benefits of L-arginine or arginine-alpha-ketoglutarate (AAKG). L-Arginine converts to Nitric Oxide which causes the blood vessels to dilate allowing more blood flow to tissue. However, manufacturers often twist its capabilities, claiming that it will increase muscle protein synthesis and increase HGH levels. In studies, NO has failed to increase athletic skill or ability in healthy athletes. (while it does provide benefits in some medical cases such as burn victims). Read more.

Weight loss - “Melt away the fat without hitting the gym! Lose 10lbs in one week!”
Many of the most ridiculous claims come from products in the weight loss category. Often promising to help you lose weight with virtually no work on your part, these products tend to contain many of the same stimulants (that are banned) as pre-workout products. It isn’t advised by most experts to lose more than1-2lbs per week. If a supplement claims it can result in quicker, easier weight loss steer clear.

The FDA has found unlisted prescription drugs, such as sibutramine, in weight loss supplements. Sibutramine was actually pulled from the market itself as it caused heart problems and strokes. Contamination with this drug along with others like fenoproporex (not approved for use in the US), fluoxetine, and bumetanide can lead to many dangerous health situations. Some side effects and interactions of these drugs include: insomnia, heart palpitations, headaches, anxiety, panic attacks, nausea, muscle pain or weakness, hearing loss, and many more. Read FDA information on weight loss supplements here.

Male enhancement - “Get bigger, Last longer, and Increase your sex drive!”
Products in this category usually claim to increase testosterone levels, size, libido and sexual performance. They often mention ingredients such as Tribulus, Yohimbine, Longjack, Horny Goat Weed, and many others. It is common to see these products pulled from the market because they contain undeclared prescription drugs or analogues of these drugs (Viagra – Sildenafil citrate). There are many possible adverse reactions associated with taking un-prescribed sildenafil such as: heart attack, seizure, irregular heartbeat, vision changes, loss of hearing, or shock. With any product claiming to increase testosterone levels, you run a risk of a positive test as elevated levels could result in one.

Muscle building - “Gain 25lbs of Muscle in a MONTH!”
Gaining muscle is not a matter of snapping your fingers. It takes hard work, dedication and most importantly, time. You will hear of celebrities who put on 25lbs of muscle over the course of 6 months, and they have personal trainers and dietitians on their side! If it were easy to gain that much muscle in a month for a role, one would think they would be the first to dive in. If a product claims to help you gain muscle that quickly be concerned with not only what is listed in the product but what isn’t. Many of these muscle builders contain ingredients that are chemically similar to steroids or that are prohormones, which are banned by sports organizations and definitely hazardous to your health. Side effects of steroid use include: heart attack, liver disease, testicular shrinkage, acne, and many more. For your health (and eligibility), it is best to avoid these products completely.

The bottom line? If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

NCAA Medical Exceptions

The NCAA recognizes that in some cases there is a legitimate medical need for a banned substance to be used. Because of this, the NCAA has a Medical Exceptions Procedure for student-athletes. Below are some highlights of the exceptions procedures. You can access detailed information on medical exceptions here.

Medical Marijuana: The NCAA does not currently allow a medical exception for banned substances in the class of Street Drugs. Medical Marijuana is not eligible for a medical exception and any drug-test involving the use of marijuana for medical reasons may be addressed during the appeal process.

ADHD Medications: Stimulant ADHD medications like Ritalin and Adderall are banned by the NCAA. Student-athletes can request a medical exception but must include documentation of their diagnosis as well as their treatment. This information must be on file in the event of a positive drug-test. Please login to the REC and visit the Drug Program Information page for specific guidelines related to the documentation of ADHD treatment with banned stimulant medications.

Male-pattern baldness: Finasteride (Propecia) is banned by the NCAA under the class of masking agents. The student-athlete must exhaust all other options and document this effort.

Hypogonadism (or testosterone deficiency): Testosterone medication often used for this condition is banned by the NCAA. Student-athletes must request approval for use of this medication prior to participation.

Asthma: Common asthma medications, such as albuterol, are banned by the NCAA. However, they are permitted by inhalation with a prescription. You must have documentation on file to submit in the event of a positive drug-test.

When do I request a medical exception? For medications in the anabolic agent or peptide hormone drug class, you (through your athletic director) MUST request a medical exception prior to participation. For all other medications, documentation and medical exception paperwork must be on file. In the event of a positive drug test, you can then submit this documentation to the NCAA requesting a medical exception.

Please know that a prescription does not guarantee a medical exception will be granted. Report all medications to the training staff and take the steps necessary to request a medical exception in the event of a positive test (i.e., have the paperwork, diagnosis, etc. on file).

The NCAA does not grant medical exceptions for the use of over-the-counter drugs or dietary supplements under any circumstances.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pre-season update #1 – NCAA Banned Substances

Student –athletes are heading back to campus and fall sports are getting underway. This is a busy time of year for us as questions come in regarding supplements, medications, banned substances, and drug-testing. Here are some quick points on what you should know and what is new:


Click here to be taken to the NCAA banned drug classes. Please remember that the NCAA does not have a list of specific banned substances, but instead has a list of drug classes that are banned. Any substance that falls in these classes or that is related to these classes is banned.

Take ALL your medications, prescription and over-the-counter, to your athletic trainer or other medical staff, whether you think they could be banned or not.

Report all dietary supplements to your athletic trainer or medical staff to avoid any possible drug interaction.

Ask the REC before use of any dietary supplement product.

What’s new?

Synthetic cannabinoids ARE considered banned under the Street drugs class. This includes compounds listed in products such as K2 and Spice.

Beta-2 agonists (commonly prescribed for asthma) are banned by the NCAA unless they are taken by inhalation and you have a prescription. The medical exception process must be followed for these medications.

We have seen an increase of prescription drug abuse. Recently, Oklahoma linebacker Austin Box had five prescription painkillers and an anti-anxiety drug in his system when he died. The cause of death for 21-year-old Aaron Douglas, a recruit at Alabama, was ruled a "multiple drug toxicity" of methadone, diazepam and carisoprodol.

Remember that some prescription medications, such as pain killers, whether banned or not can prove to be deadly when abused. Do NOT use a prescription that has not been prescribed to you specifically by a doctor.