Under the World Anti-Doping Code, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issues an annual List of Prohibited Substances and Methods, known as the Prohibited List, which is one of five International Standards. WADA reviews scientific and medical research, while also consulting with others in the anti-doping community, to make annual updates to the Prohibited List.
Given that they are both used for health purposes, it would be easy to assume that medications and supplements are regulated the same way and produced to the same standards, but unfortunately this is not the case. Unlike medications, supplements are regulated post-market, which means that no regulatory body evaluates the contents or safety of supplements before they are sold to consumers.
When companies label food or supplements as “all natural,” they may be hoping that you will assume their products are safer and better than other products. However, in the context of foods or supplements, it is very difficult to know what is meant by “all-natural.”
Among athletes and consumers alike, there is often a misconception that dietary supplements are safe because they go through a robust vetting process like medicines and medical devices. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
For athletes, the field of regenerative medicine has been of particular interest in recent years because it has been promoted as a way to recover from sports injuries faster, often through the use of biological substances like platelet rich plasma (PRP).
Following his retirement, USADA’s longtime Chief Science Officer Larry Bowers continues to be recognized for his critical contributions to anti-doping science.
Examples of manufacturers that have marketed seemingly low-risk vitamin and electrolyte supplements that contained dangerous and prohibited anabolic agents.