A lot of top athletes can spend their entire lives working towards a sporting goal, whether it’s a World Cup, Olympics or national championship. What can be devastating is when all of that work is undone if they make the wrong choice about a supplement.
Last year, a survey of untested sports supplements available in Australia (and New Zealand) revealed that 19 percent were contaminated with substances banned in sport. Research found as many as one in five supplements surveyed were tainted with banned substances that could register a positive doping test. For athletes, this could mean a ban of up to four years from all sport.
Of the most concern is pre-workout, post-workout, protein and fat-burning supplements.
There is no way for an athlete to be certain that any supplement is safe to use and, as Drug Free Sport NZ (DFSNZ) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) do not endorse any supplements, the advice for athletes is to be very careful with everything they put into their body.
The latest supplement warning is around an ingredient called Higenamine, a prohibited substance banned in and out of competition. The ingredient has been found in a number of supplements, and can be called one of 20 different names on the label.
If you are considering taking a supplement, please check the risk factor by using the supplement check on the DFSNZ website.