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Nutritional supplements

Recommendations on the use of nutritional supplements (SUPs)

Be critical before taking supplements. If you really do suffer from deficiency signs, go see your doctor and take therapeutically prescribed pharmaceuticals only. These have been strictly checked fulfilling respective legal obligations and controls. For example, ALL medically effective constituents, without exception, must be indicated on the package leaflet. And all potential side effects have to be indicated, too. Your doctor will also determine precisely how your medicine has to be taken to prevent an overdose. Keep in mind that pharmaceuticals will always be subject to strict quality and purity surveillance. Therefore, before taking supplements, you should always check whether your product has been tested on the presence of prohibited substances by an independent institution. Or whether the manufacturer, at least, can provide a self-disclosure on the purity of its products.

All this can contribute to reducing the potential doping risks that accompany supplement use. But they cannot be completely eliminated.

Supplements refer to foods meant to complement your regular diet. Legally they are considered foods, and in contrast to pharmaceuticals do not need to be approved by governmental regulatory health authorities for human use. They do not need to be tested for their harmlessness nor for the purity of their material composition. According to the German Supplements and Food Labelling Ordinance, all ingredients have to be declared on the label or package, but this is not always the case.

Quite a number of athletes, male and female alike, believe that they can only meet their special nutritional needs for energy and nutrients with nutritional supplements. We strictly advise against using supplements for this purpose solely. Because what is true for poisons applies to supplements, too: The Latin proverb „Dosis facit venenum“ means “Only dosage makes the poison” in English.

Excessive quantities of nutrients can cause severe side effects. Supplements are made to contain nutrients in enormously high quantities and in isolated form. Besides, time and again, contaminated supplements are detected. Depending on their origin, prohibited substances are willfully added to these products – with a clear intent to fake – or residues enter the products during the filling process. If you consume such supplements their prohibited ingredients may lead to an unintended anti-doping rule violation. That’s why we strongly urge athletes to be extremely careful and prudent when dealing with supplements.

Nutritional supplements in sport


DOSB Informational brochure on nutritional supplements with NADA contributions