I' m guessing that most supplements fall under the review of the food standards agency of the country they are sold in and as such their factories will QC based on these standards.
In the USA the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act puts the FDA in charge and even that is argued against by some in the industry as being too stringent. This was one of the points Mark Johnson was making in Spitting in the Soup
, that the industry (in the US) is powerful and against oversight.
I've always wondered if cyclist actually need supplements or if it's all about sponsorship?
A lot of the advice that I see popping up in my Twitter timeline, coming from WADA, is that supplements are not a necessity, that a proper diet will do. We could compare this to attitudes to stuff like B12 in the past, that an injection of B12 was necessary as the somach couldn't process the loads needed. That thinking was, in time, changed but not without a long struggle. Things like this, they're generational, thinking that becomes ingrained and we have to wait to grow out of it.
the problem could be solved by imposing long bans when positives are caused by supplements because they are a known risk.
I probably lean that way myself in my more hawkish moments. There is a lot of advice and education out there on supplements, coming through official channels - here's UKAD
on the topic and here's USADA
. As Merckx Index has said, there are organisations out there certifying supplements. They don't offer certainty but they make it less of a crapshoot. I think I said Shayna Jack's IF offers such advice, it's actually her NF (my bad - soz). But as we see with her, she ignored that advice and promoted a supplement not approved.
This isn't like the Mamadou Sakho case where even ADOs can't agree a substance is on the banned list, this is a system where you can check by product name (but which is supposed to be used in conjuntion with advice from coaches etc - it's not just look it up in a database). I therefore end up half of the opinion (in my more dictator-ish moments) that anybody failing is failing an IQ test and should be hung from the yard-arm, to encourage the others. I don't know if such a short, sharp shock ever actually achieves the desired end but I think it would make me feel better.
Tom Brady, the NFL QB, has been pushing this stuff that appears to be absolutely junk. He ought to know better, but then, maybe he makes money off its sales, too.
This has got nothing to do with supplements, but I'll toss it in here as it made me laugh out loud this morning when I read it: The 'Formula One' secret behind Tom Brady's time-cheating dominance
. It brought back such happy memories of stories about Miguel Indurain's lungs like galleon sails and a heart that pumped so slowly the next beat would be along mañana.
I seem to remember Geraint Thomas tried to market some nonsense wristband and got slammed for it.
I think my favourite was Froome's nose plugs
Maybe there is a chance that the WADA Code has got too smart by half in having too many prohibited substances on their list
Well that is certainly not what is being argued by those who actually understand the subject. Travis Tygart, talking about SARMs (selective androgen receptor modulators), says this
"Osterine, in particular, is a very sticky substance," Tygart told The Sun-Herald. "It can hang around machinery so when the supplement company makes one batch, you can’t really clean it well enough – you are going to get some trace amounts.
"Couple that with the ability over the last decade for the labs to look for levels that are about 1000-fold lower in the urine samples. So what you’ve created, unfortunately here in the US, although I couldn’t comment for the Australian market, is kind of a perfect storm, where you are detecting a number, way too high, that are coming from inadvertant use and not intentional use.
"Our problem with that is that you shouldn’t sanction someone that takes reasonable precautions with the use of a dietary supplement ... and we know about 90 per cent of athletes use some sort of supplementation."
His "takes reasonable precautions" line goes back to what has been said about following advice and using the certification systems available. Tygart is suggesting reduced sanctions, not no sanctions:
"Even those that make really good choices – sometimes on the advice of their doctor or nutritionist or even their national Olympic committee or federations – to treat them the same under the rules as an intentional doper, whether it’s Lance Armstrong or someone in the Russian state doping system [is not fair].
"That’s not a fair system. We pursue exonerating the innocent as hard as we’re going to pursue convicting the guilty. Because we are doing all of that work, that’s why we have been so outspoken that we have to be sensible and fair and treating intentional dopers not the same as otherwise clean athletes who aren’t intentionally doping.
"From a sanctioning standpoint, that’s a system that reeks of unfairness and injustice."
Reducing sanctions is, I think, something most Clinicians would be wary of - I know I am - but it could be that the anti-doping fight has progressed to the point where it has to be considered, and has to be considered as a step forward, not a step back.
The point I'm making is that there is a path to stop this athlete claiming "it's the supplement" behaviour. And there is a path to stop some governing bodies saying "don't use supplements" as if that's the source of all the problems.
As the Travis Tygart quote above shows, this isn't quite so.