One in five Aussie sports supplements may be contaminated

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

One in five Aussie sports supplements may be contaminated

Related tags: Dietary supplement

A survey of untested sports supplements available in Australia found 19% were contamination with substances banned in sport.

The survey by by life science company LGC analysed 67 common supplement products available for purchase in Australia – finding that 13 contained one or more substances that are banned in sport. 

Furthermore, two supplements tested were found to present a ‘significant risk’ due to contamination with ingredients that could pose a risk to health and would ‘almost certainly’ result in an anti-doping violation.

“Contamination can be a challenging issue and it is clear that most Australian brands and manufactures are very focused on providing products with high quality assurance. But there are also rogue brands that are willing to cut corners, and in the worst incidences actually spike products,” ​said LGC director of business development, Terence O’Rorke.

According to LGC the supplements surveyed included pre-workout, post-workout, protein, fat-burning and multivitamin products and covered delivery formats including powders, drinks, tablets and edible bars.

Each of the selected 67 products were analysed to see whether they contained substances prohibited in sport – like anabolic agents, stimulants, and diuretics. They found that one in five contained a banned substance that was not declared on the ingredients list.

“The sports nutrition industry has made significant strides in recent years to enhance quality assurance, and we know this from the growth of Informed-Sport in this market-place,”​ O’Rorke said.

“But we also know there are some brands which do not yet engage in this type of testing, and for that reason present a risk to athletes that face anti-doping controls.”

Survey findings

According to the survey, weight management and pre-workout products were the two most affected categories while the most commonly observed banned substances were the stimulant 1,3-dimethylbutylamine – also known as AMP Citrate – DMBA and Pouchong tea.

The report noted that AMP Citrate has become increasingly used following a ban on methylhexaneamine in nutritional supplements.

O’Rorke noted there were 15 findings for stimulants and five for steroids, all of which suggested cross-contamination within the manufacturing process or natural occurrence from complex botanical materials.

While the report noted that the the majority of findings were at very low levels, it added that two products were identified with significantly elevated levels; one product identified containing the prohibited stimulant 1,3-dimethylbutylamine and the other the prohibited stimulant methylhexaneamine.

In total, the team identified two cases of contamination with methylhexaneamine –  which has been responsible for a large number of anti-doping violations in recent years, and would have “almost certainly would have resulted in an anti-doping violation,” ​said LCG.

The report also found that powders were the most commonly contaminated category with 69% of products tested having an indication for contamination. Meanwhile none of the bars, gels and liquids were found to contain any contaminants.

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