Supplements and their risks
Do you take supplements such as protein shakes, pre-workouts, energy drinks, herbal remedies or vitamins?
Supplements continue to be a serious issue for New Zealand athletes. In the past few years a number of athletes have tested positive to prohibited substances believed to have been ingested through nutritional supplements. Each of those athletes faced a ban from all sport of up to four years.
As an athlete you are solely responsible for every substance in your body.
By taking a supplement, you accept the risk that it could contain a banned substance, and the possibility of a ban from sport.
DFSNZ or the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) does not approve or endorse ANY supplement.
Use our Supplement Decision Making Guide to help you understand the risks of supplements and make an informed decision before you use any supplement. In summary:
- Make the effort to understand your nutritional needs and try to meet these through food first.
- Seek expert advice and tell them you are an athlete who could be tested anytime.
- Supplement labels don’t always say exactly what is in a product or how much! Words like ‘herbal’ and ‘natural’ do not necessarily mean it is safe.
- Supplements can contain substances that are prohibited in sport - avoid sharing products.
- Using incorrect doses, or thinking ‘more is better’, is dangerous for your health.
- Supplement safety and effectiveness is rarely proven in athletes under 18, those with medical conditions or who use other substances.
- If tested, remember to list all substances you have used on your paperwork.
- Athletes use all supplements at their own risk and responsibility.
We strongly recommend working through the Supplement Decision Making Guide to understand the risks you are taking if you decide to use supplement products.
Complete our e-Learning Level One course, and stay up to date on new anti-doping issues with the e-Learning Level Two course. You can also order or download our resources here.
For additional information, please visit these websites: