Protecting the Right to Enjoy Doping-Free Sport

Supplements and the Risks


Risks of supplements

The Risk of Supplements

Studies which have analysed nutritional supplements, such as vitamin tablets and sports drinks, have shown that they sometimes contain banned substances not declared on the product’s label.

A study in 2008 by LGC found that 10 per cent of supplements and weight loss products purchased and tested in the UK were contaminated with steroids and/or stimulants at levels that could have resulted in positive findings for athletes. 

This emphasises the huge degree of risk surrounding supplement use in sport.

Risk Minimisation Programmes - Know the Facts

The Informed-Sport programme offers a risk minimisation scheme for supplements. This can help reduce the risk of contaminated supplements but it is no guarantee.

There are some important issues to note:

The Informed-Sport programme is not able to test for all substances on the Prohibited List. Athletes who take substances which have been tested for by Informed-Sport, still do so at their own risk.
Be wary of ordering supplements over the internet. These may present even greater risks as you can’t be sure where they come from.

You can find out more about UKAD's advice on Supplements in our Resources area.