UKA recognises that some athletes choose to use supplements but believes it is important that athletes are aware of the key facts and associated risks of supplement use to allow them to make well-informed decisions. This statement sets out UKA’s supplements position and provides clear advice to athletes, and those who support them, on how to reduce the real risk of inadvertent findings posed by supplement use.
UKA places great value on the importance of good nutrition and believes that athletes should aim to satisfy their nutritional needs from a balanced diet of whole foods and good hydration.
Athletes are fully responsible for what they ingest. Due to lack of adequate regulation of the supplement industry there is no guarantee that any supplement is safe. Possible contamination and/or inaccurate labelling means that athletes must remain vigilant to ensure they remain compliant with Anti-Doping rules. Irrespective of how a prohibited substance enters an athlete’s body (even unknowingly or unintentionally), the presence of the prohibited substance is a rule violation and disciplinary proceedings will follow any finding. UKA’s recommendation therefore is for athletes to follow this clear, 3-point approach to reduce their exposure to the risks associated with supplements:
- STEP 1 – Assess and understand your nutritional needs and use a balanced diet to satisfy these. Where possible, seek the advice of a qualified nutritionist (a register of Performance Nutritionists can be found at www.senr.org.uk). With good nutrition and hydration you may find there is no benefit of supplements. However if, having reviewed your diet, you decide that supplementation is of benefit to your diet, carefully research these supplements to see if there is any independent, scientific evidence to support their claimed benefits.
- STEP 2 – Understand that strict liability makes you solely responsible for what you ingest and the presence of a prohibited substance in your sample, regardless of how it got there or whether or not it was taken intentionally, can not only be harmful for your health but is a rule violation which will likely lead to a ban from athletics for a period of time.
- STEP 3 – Having completed Steps 1 and 2, if you believe that supplement use would provide a real benefit to you and you understand the risks associated with supplement use and the consequences of ingesting a prohibited substance, then UKA recommends that you only use specific batches of products which have been tested as part of the Informed-Sport www.informed-sport.com programme. Informed-Sport batch-testing reduces the risk of a product containing a prohibited substance however there is no 100% guarantee that any product is safe; you would still be liable if a finding resulted from the use of an Informed-Sport tested product. When searching on the Informed-Sport website ensure that you search both the product and the specific batch you are intending to use, and keep a record of your search. Informed-Sport is UK-based; athletes living abroad should either refer to a similar local scheme such as the NSF Certified for Sports Program in North America www.nsfsport.com, or source Informed-Sport tested products whilst back in the UK.
If you are tested and have used a supplement in the previous 7 days you must record this on the Doping Control Form (DCF).
Nutrition advice sources: