UKA recognises that some athletes choose to use supplements but believes that it is important that athletes are aware of all the facts, and risks, so that this choice is an informed one. This document sets out UKA’s position on supplements and provides clear advice to athletes, and those who support athletes, on how to reduce the real risk of inadvertent doping posed by supplement use.
UKA places great value on the importance of good nutrition and believes that athletes should aim to satisfy their nutritional needs from a balanced diet of whole foods and good hydration.
Athletes are fully responsible for what they take in to their bodies. Unfortunately, the manufacture of supplements is not regulated to the same extent as the manufacture of registered medications and therefore there can never be any guarantee that a particular supplement is totally free of prohibited substances, regardless of which ingredients are listed on the supplement packaging.
Irrespective of how a prohibited substance enters an athlete’s body (even unknowingly or unintentionally), the presence of the prohibited substance is an anti-doping rule violation and disciplinary proceedings will follow any finding. UKA’s recommendation therefore is for athletes to follow this clear, 3-point approach to reduce their exposure to the risks associated with supplements:
Assess and understand your nutritional needs and use a balanced diet to satisfy these. Where possible, seek the advice of a qualified nutritionist (a register of Performance Nutritionists can be found at www.senr.org.uk ). With good nutrition and hydration you may find there is nothing to be gained by using supplements. However if, having reviewed your diet, you decide that supplementation is of benefit to your diet, carefully research these supplements to see if there is any independent, scientific evidence to support their claimed benefits
Understand that strict liability makes you solely responsible for what you ingest and the presence of a prohibited substance in your sample, regardless of how it got there or whether or not it was taken intentionally, can not only be harmful for your health but is an anti-doping rule violation which will likely lead to a ban from athletics for a period of time
Having completed steps 1 and 2, if you believe that supplement use would provide a real benefit to you and you understand the risks associated with supplement use and the consequences of ingesting a prohibited substance, then UKA recommends that you only use specific batches of products which have been tested as part of the Informed-Sport www.informed-sport.com programme. Informed-Sport batch-testing reduces the risk of a product containing a prohibited substance however there is no 100% guarantee that any product is safe; you would still be liable if a finding resulted from the use of an Informed-Sport tested product. When searching on the Informed-Sport website ensure that you search both the product and the specific batch you are intending to use, and keep a record of your search. Informed-Sport is UK-based; athletes living abroad should either refer to a similar local scheme or source Informed-Sport tested products whilst back in the UK
If you are tested and have used a supplement in the previous 7 days you must record this on the Doping Control Form (DCF).
Nutrition advice sources:
British Dietetic Organisation
British Nutrition Foundation
English Institute of Sport
Sports and Exercise Nutritionists Register