A lot of athletes are becoming frightened that they are going to end up coming up positive in a drug test because they've takens a vitamin supplement or some other perfectly ethical dietary supplement that has been adulterated or contaminated with a steroid drug or other drug. This article mentions this and I just wanted to sort of clear up the kinds of products to be wary of.
We do not need to worry about the common multivitamin and mineral supplement that you'd purchase from a drug store or the grocery store, etc. Nor any of dozens of products available from the internet that are simple vitamin mineral supplements. The truth is that the products to beware of are products that are marketed specifically to athletes and especially bodybuilders. Even without looking at the ingredients list look at the marketing language. Remember..it's a vitamin. When a vitamin product makes miraculous sounding claims about how it will affect performance, muscle growth, or even how good you feel…be wary.
Look for products that contain a whole lot of added bells and whistles other than the common vitamins and minerals pay special attention when "proprietary blends" are present. When you see a lot of herbs you should be aware that any number of these herbs may be contaminated or adulterated. More ingredients is not necessarily better..just more crap to worry about where it came from and what may be in it.
The FDA has been cracking down on bodybuilding supplements which contain drugs and also many many sexual stimulant or erectile dysfuction products that are adulterated with undeclared drugs. They've given some red flags to look for and I think that the general advice is good and applies to any supplement, including vitamin supplements that an athlete may be concerned about because of possible drugs. Some of these will apply better to vitamin supplements and some will be more general.
Here are some general biggies:
- Ask yourself: Does it sound too good to be true? If it sounds too good to be true…you know the rest.
- Be cautious if the claims for the product seem exaggerated or unrealistic
- Watch out for extreme claims—for example, "quick and effective," "cure-all;" "can treat or cure diseases; or "totally safe"
- Be skeptical about anecdotal information from personal “testimonials” about incredible benefits or results obtained from using a product
Here are some specific warnings:
1. Consumers should avoid products marketed as supplements that claim to have effects similar to prescription drugs
2. Consumers should also be wary of products with labeling only in a foreign language or that are marketed through mass e-mails.
3. Be wary of products claiming to be alternatives to FDA-approved drugs or to have effects similar to prescription drugs.
4. Be wary of products claiming to be a legal alternative to anabolic steroids (this should be a no brainer)
5. Be wary of sexual enhancement products promising rapid effects such as working in minutes to hours, or long-lasting effects such as 24 hours to 72 hours.
6. Be wary of products that provide warnings about testing positive in performance enhancement drug tests! I am surprised at how many people fall for the mumbo-jumbo about "inadvertant" positives because of some mysterious chemical process or the similarities between their "legal" supplement and "illegal" drugs. If you come up positive for something the most likely explanation is that the supplement was adulterated with that substance or some cousin of it that is clearly illegal. Yes, it's the supplement companies fault.