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Contaminated Supplements, which cycling ones?(17 posts)

Contaminated Supplements, which cycling ones?tao
Nov 20, 2002 2:23 PM
Ok, I'm inclined to believe that some athletes have unknowingly ingested steroid precursors through otherwise legal supplements. But how come every time someone tests positive they carry on about the injustice, threaten legal action, but never, to my knowledge anyway, do they name the offending product? Especially in the case when they, Scott Moninger being the most recent, cite specific lab evidence such as 28mg contamination per 500mg capsule. I can't really believe it's for fear of a lawsuit, if you have the proof and the product has ruined your career there's nothing slanderous about saying what you know. Anybody know of products to stay away from?
Unless you're racing in UCI events or major racestriple shot espresso
Nov 20, 2002 3:04 PM
I wouldn't worry about it much. I've been racing for a long time and the only people that I've ever heard of getting drug tested are Pros, 1s and 2s on occasion.

The rest of us are on the honor system.

If you really want to stay away from that kind of stuff and you are worried about cross contamination the only thing you can do is go with a company that makes all their own stuff and does not make anything that's prohibited. EAS is about the only people I know that stays away from the hormonal stuff.

28 mgs is a full 5%of the pills, that's some significant contamination but still well below the recommended dose of 200 to 400 milligrams a day.
The "benefits" of an unregulated industryKerry
Nov 20, 2002 4:43 PM
In the US, the supplements industry spent millions to get congress to prevent the FDA from regulating them in any way. Now, the only time FDA can intervene is if there's a health hazard. In the mean time, there's no independent testing, no assurance of concentration, no purity requirements, and very few limits on the claims that can be made. IOW, you're on your own with this stuff. Knock yourself out.
The "benefits" of an unregulated industryAaronL
Nov 21, 2002 9:52 AM
You may want to look at the FACTS before you shoot your mouth off about this issue.
Safety and efficacy of dietary supplements unregulatedDale Brigham
Nov 21, 2002 12:02 PM
Here's an important FACT. Dietary supplements do not have to be proven to be either safe or effective to be sold in the U.S. Does allowing potentially unsafe and ineffective dietary supplements (a status that the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a supplement trade association, seeks to maintain) serve the health of the U.S. public? I believe it does not.

Kerry's rightpeloton
Nov 21, 2002 12:41 PM
The supplement industry does not have to prove that a supplement is safe before it brings it to market. The FDA must prove that it isn't safe, or that claims made by the manufacturer are false before they can do anything. A drug must be PROVEN safe, and the claims proven true before it can be brought to the market on the other hand. The supplement industry is completely unregulated when bringing a product to market and making claims. This is due to an Act of Congress, a bill passed in 1994.

We do have problems with purity, false claims, and safety in the supplement industry. A large portion of supplements on the shelf are contaminated, and this has been shown in independent testing. Nanladrone, a non-orally active steriod is a common contaminate. Look at the problems we had a few years ago with L-Tryptophan. This supplement was marketed as a sleep aid. People literally died from taking it due to contamination. If the FDA had greater regulatory authority on this industry, we wouldn't have this problem. The govt. of Australia recently declared supplements from the US potential doping agents, and reccomended athletes don't use them due to the lack of regulation and contamination issues. Some unreputable supplement manufacturers have even been reported to add known banned substances to boost the performance of their products.

Supplements in the US is like buying prescription drugs in Mexico. You don't really know if you are getting what is on the label. You are on your own because the FDA doesn't have the authority to protect you.
Kerry's rightAaronL
Nov 21, 2002 2:29 PM
Tell me, where are your stats for the claim "A large portion of supplements on the shelf are contaminated, and this has been shown in independent testing."? I work in the industry and this is news to me. Either back it up, or shut up.

The L-Tryptophan issue from many years ago was because of a SINGLE contaminated shipment of raw material from one supplier. It had NOTHING to do whith L-T being safe, in general. Gee, because of a single mishap now the entire industry is bogus? Should we apply that logic to every industry that makes a mistake? What, you think the companies that sent this out did it on purpose? Can you PROVE that?

Tell me Mr expert, what proven negative health effects can you tell me about regarding food supplements other than the L-Tryptophan and the ABUSE and OVERUSE of ephedra-containing products? I would love to hear them.

I'm sorry that you think the industry is unregualted, but it is regulated. The problem lies in the fact that the FDA/FTC is overwhelmed with being able to enforce the rules. Sure, there are companies out there that lie, cheat and steal to make a buck, but there are also many (and that's the vast majority) of companies that do their best to be honest and produce quality products.

I don't like to see the claims made by some companies, but if you followed the industry, you would see that the lawbreakers do get caught and punished. Remember the "Body Solutions and "Longitude" ads from last year? Notice they are no longer around? Why? I"ll let you figure it out.

Gee, you think the supplement industry is the only one that isn't "regulated"? Look at bicycles, how many recalls do we see on stems, bars, shocks? Every ride a Synchros stem? Hmmm, shouldn't they be forced to "prove" that they are safe before going to the market? So, don't point fingers and hammer the entire industry becuase of what you may percieve of being unregulated.

BTW, you could learn a lot from the CRN site. Sure, it's an industry group, but I challenge you to find any information on it that is in error. You may find that the supplement industry is not the bunch of hucksters that jerks like you make it out to be.
Here are some more examplespeloton
Nov 21, 2002 6:09 PM

There was a bobsledder in the last Olympics that was busted for nanladrone from Pro Nitro protein supplements. Can't recall his name right now, but an independent lab did the testing. It was all over the news for a couple days.

Scott Montiger just got busted for nanladrone from a contaminated amino acid. Lab tested that it came from the supplement, and it could end his career.

I personally know two national team athletes who were busted in house for nanladrone tested back to protein suplements that they were taking. I won't share their names here. I'm in the field of athletics (physiologist) so I do hear and see what happens.

Supplement contamination DOES happen. In the case of L-Tryptophan people died. Tell me about how the supplement industry is held to the same standards as the drug or food industry. I don't see it, but we still take the supplements into our bodies? Don't we? Why are supplements held to different standards than any other industry that invovles things we take into our bodies?
Money maybe?

There are countless other athletes who get busted for the nanladrone (deca-durabolin), and it makes me wonder. This particular anabolic is plain grade B stuff. Can be dectected in tests for up to two years, and it doesn't work as well as other stuff out there. You would have to be a fool to take it. Unless maybe you didn't know you were taking it, like say from a contaminated SUPPLEMENT. It does happen. The Australian govt. didn't issue that warning because they had nothing better to do.

You admit in your reply that the FDA is too overwelmed by the testing and cost considerations of examining every supplement on the market for safety and truth in claims made for the industry to have any effective regulation. The market can make a lot of claims, and no one is realistically going to take them to task for it.

You also point out two supplements that made wild claims, so you admit it happens. There are lots of others out there. How about andro. More likely it turns into estrogen in the body when you look at the physiology of how it is metabolized. What do you think extra estrogen does for a young man? And if it does work like it says, then you would just have a steroid precursor in the system. This would bring all the health risks on that any other anabolic steroid brings. There is either a case of ANOTHER health threat, and maybe false claims.

One more supplement that caused health problems- Look at Kava. Just came out recently the danger of the liver and kidney damage that it can cause. There's two just off the top of my head.

You work in the industry, and you have to admit bias. You admit the FDA is too overwelmed to effectively regulate. You also admit a lot of wild claims get made. There are also many cases of athletes being busted, and tracing substances back to contamination from supplements. It does happen, and to say that there is no comtamination is a damn lie.

Now there are some reputable companies out there, but not every company holds their standards with the best health interests of their consumers in mind. I don't condemn the whole industry- there are some good products. I ask though- Why is the industry so resistant to having some real testing, and not the FDA with hands tied like now? Answer me why some testing to ensure safety and claims to protect people's health prior to putting something on the shelf would be a bad thing. We do it with medicine and food. Why not? If I can get a credible answer from someone in the supplement industry to why safety testing would be bad, than I will shut my mouth. Until then, it's buyer beware and I think people should be aware of that.
Unless you can show me regulation that proves safety of the products, and the claims they make then maybe you should put up or shut up. People's health is at stake here, and the supplement industry should be held to the
cut-off, darn...peloton
Nov 21, 2002 6:16 PM
the same standards as anything else we consume.

Tell me why the supplement industry shouldn't be held to the same standards as the medical industry in terms of proving safety, purity, and claims made? Why?
Moninger and the IOC study on supplementspeloton
Nov 21, 2002 6:38 PM
This is from It speaks for itself.
Moninger set to become another tainted supplement victim

By Jeff Jones

US cyclist Scott Moninger (Mercury) is expected to be declared positive by the US Anti-Doping Association after traces of the drug 19-norandrosterone (nandrolone) were found in his system at the Saturn Classic in August, 2002. Moninger himself confirmed this via a widely circulated email prior to the expected USADA announcement (see below).

Like many cyclists, Moninger believes that the drug found its way into his system via a contaminated food supplement. As this excuse is so widely used by athletes to explain nandrolone positives, anti-drug agencies such as the USADA no longer accept it, even if it can be proved that the supplement is contaminated.

Moninger explains that he did have the supplement tested: "The lab results confirmed what I had suspected. Each 500mg capsule of the legal amino acid supplement (L-Tyrosine) was contaminated with an average of 28mg of 19-norandrosterone. This is more than a slight contamination but rather a gross one."

As a first offender, Moninger now faces a ban of up to two years, which for the 36 year old could mean the end of his career. With his lawyer, he intends to "fight it with everything we have" and perhaps come away with a six month sentence. In addition, "...we plan to take legal action against the manufacturer, the supplier, and the retailer of this contaminated product."

The lack of regulation in the sports supplement industry means that manufacturers can practically get away with selling tainted products, as the emphasis is "Buyer Beware". A study conducted by the Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee in April on 634 sports supplements revealed that an incredible 94 samples (14.8%) contained unlisted substances that would lead to a positive doping test.

"Out of these 94 samples, 23 contained precursors (building blocks) of both nandrolone and testosterone, 64 contained precursors of testosterone alone and 7 contained precursors of nandrolone alone," the report said.

In terms of a country based analysis, the USA came fourth on the list with 18.8% 'positives' behind the Netherlands (25.8%), Austria (22.7%), and the UK (18.9%). In effect, this means that an athlete buying a random sports supplement from one of these countries has between a 1 in 5 and 1 in 4 chance of ingesting a banned substance. The full list is as follows:

Country No. tested No.'positive' % 'positive'
Netherlands 31 8 25.80%
Austria 22 5 22.70%
UK 37 7 18.90%
USA 240 45 18.80%
Italy 35 5 14.30%
Spain 29 4 13.80%
Germany 129 15 11.60%
Belgium 30 2 6.70%
France 30 2 6.70%
Norway 30 1 3.30%
Switzerland 13 - -
Sweden 6 - -
Hungary 2 - -
Total 634 94 14.80%

Source: IOC

"At the athlete's risk"

The USADA's Rich Wanninger told Cyclingnews that they issue a warning to all athletes who take dietary supplements. "Many dietary supplements, which are sold over the counter or through the Internet, contain doping substances that are prohibited by the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code and the anti-doping rules of the International Federations and United States NGBs. These prohibited substances include steroid precursors like DHEA, androstenedione, androstenediol, norandrostenedione and norandrostenediol and stimulants like ephedrine (ephedra), pseudoephedrine, Ma Huang and Guarana."

"While prohibited substances sh
continued from previous postpeloton
Nov 21, 2002 6:42 PM
"While prohibited substances should be identified on the labels of dietary supplement products, that is not always the case. Because government regulation of dietary supplements is lax and manufacturing processes in the industry are uneven, some dietary supplements have been found to contain prohibited substances, which are not disclosed. Studies have shown that even minute traces of contamination of a dietary supplement with a prohibited substance like norandrostenedione can result in a positive doping test. Because anti-doping rules make the presence of a prohibited substance in an athlete's urine a doping offense regardless of how the substance got there, any athlete who takes a dietary supplement does so at his or her own risk."

Many athletes have asked for a list of contaminated products to be made available, so that they can be avoided. In response to this, Wanninger said that, "There is no list of tainted or non-tainted dietary supplements. Due to the manufacturing regulations, the same product made a two separate time could be different; one having contaminated substances, and the other clean."

Given the number of 'tainted supplement' cases over the years, it seems that the best way to avoid testing positive by such a means is to not take sports supplements. The industry may then take notice and impose tighter controls on the manufacturers.
continued from previous postAaronL
Nov 22, 2002 9:14 AM

You are one of the reasons why there is so much negative press on supplements, you write about things that are simply untrue. You still never showed me your PROOF about how the majority of supplements are tainted. So, unless you have proof, you are the problem, not the solution.

Second, my challenge to you was to prove to me that supplements have caused health problems, all you could do is come up with several positive drug tests for athletes, sorry, that's not what I asked for. Not to mention the fact that athletes cheat, and when they get caught they always blame a "supplement. Sure, in some cases it may be true, but in most, it's not.

You also claim the industry is fighting testing and standards of their products? Where is this information coming from? It's really just the opposite. The industry is trying to prove that what you buy is safe. USP offers their seal of approval for supplements that pass their standards. Many brands are offering this, as well as independent testing to verify purity of the products.

Now, you argue that why isn't there some form of testing, like drugs, to prove safety and efficacy? Well, for most supplements like vitamins and minerals, there are already thousands upon thousands of studies to build upon. We already have a good idea of efficacy, safey of vitamins and minerals (if I make a vitamin C product do i REALLY need to prove that it's an antioxidant when there are about 5000 studies that already exist proving this fact?) Purity and providing a product that is free from contaminants is a function of the maker. As I've said already, there are measures in place to monitor the factories. Do we need more and better? You bet.

What I'm trying to get at here is that drugs must have testing because of their very nature. They can have very powerful effects on the body. Supplements, are not even in the same leauge my friend.

That being said, the new can of worms are the pro-hormone supplements that are very popular. THis is an issue that is really new to both the makers and the feds. Should these be considered "supplements" if they have such a powerful effect on the body? My opinion is no, they need to be regulated. However, at this time, they slip into the loophole and can be sold over the counter. I don't like it any more than you do, but it's not the desire of the entire industry as you claim it is. You are mistaken that the industry is fighting the regulation of these, because there are many manufacturers (mine included)that want to see products like these classified differently as vitamins, minerals.... IOW, if it's a direct ergogenic aid, then it should have stricter regulations than food supplements.

Now, you see we are not the differnt in what we want. I just want to point out to you that there are a lot of honest, smart, hardworking people in this industry that provide safe, effective products to consumers. Don't put us all in the same boat as those that lie and cheat.

Best of luck to you
Re-read my postspeloton
Nov 22, 2002 11:28 AM
First- I DID show proof. Unless the study done by the Medical Commision of the International Oylmpic Committee is not good enought for you. Their testing showed contamination of close to 100 of the 500odd tests. And this was only contamination that would cause a postiive drug test for a banned substance, and not other substances that could have raised the contamination level that just aren't banned in sport. There were 45 products from the US alone that failed by this criteria! Re-read the study for yourself on the IOC website, or in my post above. That is proof, and the antedotal stories of athletes I told were just other examples. Contamination is a fact. Re-read the study for yourself.

Second- Health risks. You dismissed the horrible incident involving L-Typtophan that killed a few years ago, and you acknoledged that ephedra containing products have caused heart problems. These are well documented. I pointed out the recent studies on Kava pointing to liver and kidney damage. I pointed out how some pro-hormone substances could have many health risks. I'm sure I could point out a few more too if I were in the isle of a health products store right now. I've studied how this stuff gets metabolized. I'm not impressed with some of the things that we sell over the counter with no restrictions. Ephadra (and it's related products) and pro-hormone products are huge sellers in the industry. They could be classfied as drugs, and perhaps should be.

You have to acknoledge with these facts that there are problems with purity and contamination. There are also products on the shelf with dubious effects on one'sn health. Not all, that sure, but quite a few.

This simple fact that we have a study done by the IOC pointing to such massive levels of contamination here in the US shows us that we need better control of these supplements. The fact that we have some products pulled from the shelf (think Yellow Jackets, or some other ephadra based stuff) for health risks shows they weren't safe to begin with. The FDA could have saved some lives in the case of L-Typtophan or ephara related deaths if purity and safety had been better regulated. The industry hasn't been able to do it themselves. We wouldn't tolerate contamination in 20% of our asprin. Why should we with supplements that make claims of ergogenic effects?

If you have an answer for my question of why we hold supplements (something we consume) to lower standards than food or drugs (other things we consume)? I would love to hear the answer, but I think I already know it- money. You think that there wasn't petitioning by the industry back in 94 to Congress to get the FDA handcuffed?

Now there are some good companies out there that do a good job policing themselves. Too many others though taint the whole industry. I tell the athlets I work with to stay away from any supplement because we can't be sure of purity- and studies show this. If there were better regulation, then maybe those who are at risk for drug tests could feel better about the supplement industry. The less reputable companies out there that deliever unsafe products, and contaminated ones gives the whole industry a black eye.

I agree- I don't think we are all that different in what we want here, and I don't think all the supplement companies are bad. The stats don't lie though, and there are problems. I would like to see them cleaned up, and I think stricter control by the FDA is the way to go. I don't think all the companies will clean themselves up on their own volalition. Look at the products out there we discussed that are dangerous, and the IOC study pointing out high levels of contamination. It makes the whole industry look bad.
If I were you I would be for stricter regulations as a good producer of products. It would really make a lot of people feel safer, and believe in the integrity of everything on the shelf a lot more.
Re-read my postsAaronL
Nov 22, 2002 2:57 PM
You showed proof? I'm well aware of the IOC report but I don't see where it proves your original statement about how the majority of supplements are tainted. In fact, the US product had an 18% rate, far from majority. You said "A large portion of supplements on the shelf are contaminated, and this has been shown in independent testing." Is 18% a large portion? Not to mention the fact that we do not know what they chose for a sample group. Did they go after ergogenic aids, or did they include basic vitamin and mineral supplements. What I'm getting at is the "fly by night" supplemet companies tend to concentrate on sports supps and they are the most suspect in the industry. Proven older brands are more conservative in their product lines and have too much to lose by getting "fast and loose." So, if I wanted to skew the results and paint a poor picture of the entire industry I would pick products with the most outlandish claims, obscure ingredients and no history. I'm not saying that they shouldn't do this, but I'm saying that I can make the bike industry look bad by only picking huffys to test for performance.

So, let's say they did do this and we both agree that there are crooks and cheats out there, you can be assured you're going to get some hits with the products.

Of course the IOC is going to make a blanket statement to suspect all supplements. What if they said "go ahead and take them, but be careful"? The first athlete that turns positive will point the finger straight at the IOC and blame them. To me, this study points out nothing more than what I've told you before, better enforcement of the existing producers. Let me ask you this. If the IOC is altrustic in its ways, why does it not print the list of those products tested that were not positive? To only show the bad and not the good only shows to me that there is an agenda. Unless I missed the good list.

You keep screaming about kava. The issue with kava, like ephedra, is abuse. Kava has been consumed for centuries, only it hasn't been available in a concentrated form like it is today. So, as usual, there are idiots out there that abuse the stuff. Now, we need to regulate it. Is the industry to blame for those people that abuse it? What about alcohol, is Coors to blame for alcoholics?

Speaking of more regulations and government control. Hmmm, the meat packing industry and the airlines both have quite a bit of "control" but it doesn't keep them from killing a few hundred people every year. You seem to think that more "control" will eradicte problems, this is not the case.

Go ahead and tell your athletes not to take supplements because of your "fears." That's real smart. Totally ignore a proven way to support hard trainig. Maybe they'll be smart enough to get a new coach. Don't make the effort to do one bit of research on which companies have a track record. Just label them all as "bad." Yeah, that's being very scientific.

Oh, and thank you for the advice on how to run our business. How did we ever last for nearly 50 years without you? I'll let my boss know that "peloton" suggested we make sure our products pass IOC and NCAA banned substances lists. (they do BTW, and we provide documentation to athletes, but since you tell all of yours to avoid supplements it's a non-issue, now isn't it?)

Good day
BTW- Who do you work for?peloton
Nov 22, 2002 4:02 PM
There is no need to personally attack me. I can assure you that I am a respected coach in my field, professional, and pretty well educated. I'll tell my athletes that they should get a new coach though, because I'm obviously not qualified in your eyes. I haven't personally attacked you or your company, but if I knew who you worked for I would not give them my business with your sort of representation.

You asked me to point to an independent study that demonstrated a large portion of supplements being contaminated with substances that would cause an athlete to fail a drug test. I gave you one, and shared some examples that I could think of. You told me you were aware of any study that showed supplement contamination. Now you know.

You asked for examples of supplements that have caused health problems. We discussed several -kava, ephedra related products, pro-hormones, and even the unfortunate, fatal L-Tryptophan incident. We both agreed that many of these probably shouldn't be on the market over the counter. Better regulation would be safer for a lot of people who quite frankly don't know anything about what they are taking aside from what they read on the bottle when they buy it. I don't see how any of these points are false or inflamatory.

Better regulation of the supplement industry as a whole would take care of many of these unscrupulous companies that we both acknoledge are out there making unsafe, impure product. I don't see how this would affect the good companies out there, aside from taking some of the bad press off of their industry. Why is this even something to argue about? We both know that the FDA would not possibly be able to test all the products on the market now, so effectlvely there is no regulation.

I never said that I condemn all supplement companies. Some of the respected ones out there that are USP cert make some good product. I even occasionally take a multi-vitamin just to be safe. I also know a couple companies who I would trust, although I don't buy all the claims without independent research. What is scary though, is the sports supplement market with very few products USP cert, and many impure and blatantly unhealthy.

I'm not part of the problem here buddy. It's people with attitudes like yours. I guess I could throw insults like you have in my direction, but I prefer to do that face to face. :)

Good luck, man. Remember when you speak in a forum like this though, you represent your company and your industry when you bring them up. You haven't impressed me, and I do have a lot of contact with people who might spend money on your industry's products. You sold me!
BTW- Who do you work for?AaronL
Nov 22, 2002 5:04 PM
You have not personally attacked me? Sure you have. By attacking the industry in general you attack me. You have lumped everyone in this industry together, and that's just not the case. This is my living and I work with hundreds of people who put their hearts and souls into this business.

So, in essence, you showed ME no respect, yet you expect me to sit and listen to you spew your negative comments and not get pissed?

So now you try to "scare" me with the classic "do you know who I am and who I know" line. Save it for someone that cares.

I tell you what. I apologize if I have personally attacked you.
There (to quote Doc Holiday from the movie Tombstone)"now, we can be friends."

BTW- Who do you work for?peloton
Nov 22, 2002 5:31 PM
I think if the sport supplement industry is to get over the fact that there are unhealthy products on the shelf, and products of dubious purity then questioning why is the first part of the solution. There is no attack there. All I have done is question the status quo, just as I do in parts of coaching/training that I don't agree with. It's the only way to get over problems, and we both acknoledge that there are problems with the supplement industry. I feel that the only way to get unreputable companies to comply with the consumer's best interest in safety and purity is with FDA regulation just like the food and drug industry. Instead of answering why regulation isn't the same for the supplement industry as it is for food or drugs, you attack me and ignore studies and dangerous products I have pointed out.

Your personal attacks were unwarranted, and the facts I brought up don't lie. Take a deep, deep breathe before you argue this way with someone (your consumer) again. You sound like a jerk, and not someone having an itelligent conversation about what is the matter with the current state of an industry that has some good points, and some problems.

I'm really done replying to any of your posts. You should think about what is bad about regulation in light of contamination issues that have caused health problems, and positive drug tests. Why is the supplement market (particularly ergogenic aides) different than food or drugs?

And you are right, you have no idea who I am. But as a potential consumer, I deserve some respect too.

Again, you sold me! Good show, buddy!