There are many dietary or sports supplements which are marketed as helping to improve performance, recovery, weight loss or muscle development.

Drug Free Sport NZ urges you to be careful about your use of supplements. 

A significant number of our positive tests in recent years have been as a result of prohibited substances found in supplements so it’s important that athletes and their support personnel are aware of the risks they take with these products.

A recent UK study of supplements chosen because they appeared to contain anabolic agents due to the name of the product, the ingredients listed, or the nature of their advertising found that 23 of the 24 products tested contained anabolic steroids.  An earlier study funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2001 of nutritional supplements found that of the 600-plus supplements tested, around 15 per cent contained steroids or related compounds which were not listed on the label.

And in 2016, an Australian survey found that out of 69 pre-workout supplements randomly tested off the shelf, 19 per cent contained substances prohibited in sport.

These studies highlight the need to treat supplements with caution. Supplements may contain substances which are banned in sport and many do not have adequate quality control nor do they accurately label the ingredients so you cannot be sure of exactly what's in them.

We advise you to carefully assess your need for supplements and to choose the supplements you use carefully.  Supplements can include:

  • protein shakes
  • vitamins
  • energy drinks
  • herbal remedies
  • meal replacements
  • products which claim to assist weight loss or provide energy during workouts
  • or products which claim to assist muscle development etc.

Drug Free Sport NZ cannot guarantee any supplement, but we can advise you of the risks associated with common products.  Check with us on a supplement here.

If you want to help improve your performance through nutrition, we advise you to focus on your diet.  You might find some of the following resources helpful in doing this: