(NaturalNews) Athletes should be cautious about the dietary supplements they take, as these may contain small amounts of banned substances, according to a recent study conducted by Loughborough University Professor of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, Ron Maughan.
Having repeatedly warned about the possibility of a link between failed doping tests and sports supplements, Dr. Maughan believes that these commercially available substances can turn honest athletes into unknowing cheats. "It is now well established that many dietary supplements contain compounds that can cause an athlete to fail a doping test. In some cases the presence of these compounds is not declared on the product label," the professor explained. The extent to which minute amounts of substances that are forbidden in the sports world should be relayed on the product package is still under debate. Some voices believe that trace amounts are not relevant enough to be mentioned, and, most of the time, they do not turn up on regular supplement analyses.
However, Professor Maughan is worried about the presence in everyday supplements of some steroid compounds normally banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Such a steroid is nandrolone, and Dr. Maughan put together a team to investigate the body's responses to trace amounts of a nandrolone precursor (19-norandrostenedione). The test subjects involved were given water and protein bars that had been contaminated with 19-norandrostenedione at a concentration level 1000 times lower than what is normally tested for during the manufacturing process of supplements.
Surprisingly, even at this apparently insignificant concentration, the tested athletes still registered a positive result in common doping tests. This means that the sports dietary supplement industry's standards are much less strict than the health standards of the sports community. This incongruity can only have a negative impact on individual athletes who had regularly used supplements until this day.
Raw whole plant foods considered superior to supplements
In addition, various recent nutrition studies have revealed that the body should derive all of its nutrient requirements from natural food sources. As such, the scientific community is generally in agreement that supplements should be avoided if possible, in favor of a healthy and balanced diet that includes many raw vegetables and fruits.
Professor Maughan believes that his findings expose "a serious dilemma for sports supplement manufacturers, athletes, and those responsible for the welfare of athletes." He also added that "The potential for such low levels of contamination in a sports supplement to result in adverse test results raises significant concerns for the manufacture of dietary supplements intended for consumption by athletes liable to regular doping tests."
Professor Maughan currently presides over the Sports Nutrition Group of the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission, and has expressed further interest in the science of anti-doping. He is presenting at two upcoming conferences on this matter.
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