Nutritional supplements are foodstuffs that resemble medication. Their use is associated with a risk of an antidoping rule violation, as the ingredients of some products are unknown. FINCIS does not maintain a list of nutritional supplements in which they would be categorised as prohibited or permitted. In the event of an adverse analytical finding, the responsibility always lies with the athlete himself or herself.
Beneficial and harmful effects of nutritional supplements
Repetitive powerful strain, such as that caused by sports, increases the need for, for example, vitamins, although the increased need for vitamins among athletes is quite a contested issue. Sufficient vitamins can be obtained through a balanced and varied diet. However, it is quite common for athletes to use vitamin preparations.
When used according to the package directions, nutritional supplements are not harmful to users' health. However, long-term overdoses of, for example, fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) can lead to harmful effects.
Some nutritional supplements have been found to contain prohibited substances as impurities, such as testosterone and nandrolone precursors.
There is no reliable information on the composition of homeopathic preparations. Most homeopathic preparations contain mainly water and are not known to have caused adverse analytical findings.
Verifying the contents of nutritional supplements
Athletes should not use nutritional supplements without first ascertaining their chemical composition. An athlete must check the list of prohibited substances himself/herself to see whether any prohibited substances are listed in the ingredients of the nutritional supplement in question. Occasionally, nutritional supplements may contain prohibited substances even if they were not mentioned in the list of ingredients. An athlete under the supervision of doping control is well advised to request a written confirmation from the seller or importer of the supplements in use that the product he or she has purchased will not lead to an antidoping rule violation. NB! The athlete is, however, always responsible for the products he/she uses and for any adverse analytical findings they may cause.
Athletes should be especially wary of supplements obtained from suspicious sources and via the Internet. The contents of and impurities in many of such preparations are not monitored at all.
It is not possible to analyse the chemical compositions of special dietary supplements or nutritional supplements through FINCIS, or to check for possible traces of prohibited substances. An athlete who wishes to have a substance analysed must select the analysing laboratory him- or herself and first be in contact with the seller or importer of the product.