General Doping Thread.

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What's the theory about contaminated supplements? That a pharmacist didn't wash his hands before making the supplement?
Two explantions, both of which lead to a third.

The first: they're made in industrial quantities with the manufacturing process outsourced to companies that also do other products. Sometimes, this company might be mixing a batch of, say, Methylhexaneamine . The next, they're making, say, Super Slim Fast Slam Sluprie. Becuase their cleaning processeses aren't of a high standard, some Methylhexaneamine accidentally ends up in Super Slim Fast Slam Sluprie.

The second explantion: these products only work because they contain products they shouldn't. So, say, Super Slim Fast Slam Sluprie only helps you to slim fast because of the Methylhexaneamine it contains and which the manufacturers neglected to list on their ingredients.

Both of these lead to the third exlanation: there's no regulation in the supplement industry, manufacturers can get away with murder (and some say that that's quite literally what they get away with). How you regulate, that's the question here.

None of this is actually news within the sports community, athletes know there's a problem. But still they ignore the advice being given to them. Take the Australian swimmer Shayna Jack, the current cause célèbre in supplement stories (her positive may have come from a supplement). Her IF provides information on safe supplements. Yet in December of last year Jack was promoting on Instagram a supplement not listed as being safe. Athletes, they do stupid things, no matter how many times you tell them not to.
 
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Contador insisted all along that he didn't take a supplement--because, of course, if he had admitted that, he would have gotten some penalty.
Apps. I hadn't bothered checking this, just gone from memory. It's actually a complete mess when you go back to the CAS reasoned decision (pdf).

WADA did put forward the contaminated supplement line, allegedly as a fallback from their transfusion theory. Contador did stick to the meat story, but did confirm using supplements, but only those supplied through the team. He also said he had not used those supplements between his last clean test (July 20th) and his positive test (the next day). He also fought the supplement theory by pointing out that none of his team-mates popped positives for clenbuterol, despite using the same supplements. Bert's people also got confirmation from the supplement makers that they didn't use clenbuterol, anywhere. WADA then argued that Bert took a supplement that he didn't tell them about.

Basically, it is as as you say: had Bert accepted it was likely to have been a contaminated supplement, he would still be severly punished but, by sticking to the meat defence, he held on to hope of a lesser punishement/being cleared.

So, it's WADA who were trotting out supplements as their last best hope, not the athelete. Their basic position seems to be that all supplements could be tainted since some supplements are tainted.
 
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Two explantions, both of which lead to a third.

The first: they're made in industrial quantities with the manufacturing process outsourced to companies that also do other products. Sometimes, this company might be mixing a batch of, say, Methylhexaneamine . The next, they're making, say, Super Slim Fast Slam Sluprie. Becuase their cleaning processeses aren't of a high standard, some Methylhexaneamine accidentally ends up in Super Slim Fast Slam Sluprie.

The second explantion: these products only work because they contain products they shouldn't. So, say, Super Slim Fast Slam Sluprie only helps you to slim fast because of the Methylhexaneamine it contains and which the manufacturers neglected to list on their ingredients.

Both of these lead to the third exlanation: there's no regulation in the supplement industry, manufacturers can get away with murder (and some say that that's quite literally what they get away with). How you regulate, that's the question here.

None of this is actually news within the sports community, athletes know there's a problem. But still they ignore the advice being given to them. Take the Australian swimmer Shayna Jack, the current cause célèbre in supplement stories (her positive may have come from a supplement). Her IF provides information on safe supplements. Yet in December of last year Jack was promoting on Instagram a supplement not listed as being safe. Athletes, they do stupid things, no matter how many times you tell them not to.
Nascar driver Bayley Curry was just handed a suspension for this very thing. Yahoo Sport's abbreviated story didn't suggest he was using it as a defense for his "positive" but he's accepting the ban.
 
In times of yore it was "The test doesn't work!" or "I was poisoned by a fan!" now they have an excuse which even WADA has fallen back on. Weird world.

But I do think there is also a problem with the supplements industry.
I suppose it's much easier all round, PR-wise and legally, to fall back on contaminated supplements and strict liability. It even lets you issue reduced bans.

There is certainly an issue with certain products containing things they shouldn't. Methylhexanamine is a good example because, while it's slowly being outlawed in most places, it is still used and the risk of cross-contamination is real. Supplement makers produce for different markets, some will allow it and some won't. 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. This QC/testing isn't as stringent as the pharmaceutical agencies, for obvious reasons, and as such it's pretty clear how these things can slip through the cracks.

How do you solve it? Well in reality it needs better world-wide regulation on possible contaminants and more stringent testing. Elite sport isn't really going to drive that, prosecutions for 2 things will. Illegal distribution of pharmaceutical products and causing accidental deaths. If the levels aren't high enough to be considered a contributing factor in deaths you are then reliant on screening and prosecution for accidentally distributing something that isn't considered harmful. It's easy to see that there might be a lack of will there to pursue this.




I've always wondered if cyclist actually need supplements or if it's all about sponsorship? While they burn a lot of calories, most of those don't come from these supplements. Surely they can get the nutrients they need from food? If that's the case then the problem could be solved by imposing long bans when positives are caused by supplements because they are a known risk.
 
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I've always wondered if cyclist actually need supplements or if it's all about sponsorship? While they burn a lot of calories, most of those don't come from these supplements. Surely they can get the nutrients they need from food? If that's the case then the problem could be solved by imposing long bans when positives are caused by supplements because they are a known risk.
I think in many cases the athlete really believes the usually exaggerated claims made by the supplement manufacturer. Then if the athlete's performance improves, most likely because s/he has been training for a while, there's a belief the supplement had that effect. Since there are few if any controlled studies on the positive effects of these substances, anecdotal evidence can weigh heavily for some. As always, there is the pursuit of an edge, no matter how small. 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.

As I pointed out before, there is a Dutch organization that tests supplements, and gives them a good seal of approval for athletes if they find they contain no banned substances.
 
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I think in many cases the athlete really believes the usually exaggerated claims made by the supplement manufacturer. Then if the athlete's performance improves, most likely because s/he has been training for a while, there's a belief the supplement had that effect. Since there are few if any controlled studies on the positive effects of these substances, anecdotal evidence can weigh heavily for some. As always, there is the pursuit of an edge, no matter how small. 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.

As I pointed out before, there is a Dutch organization that tests supplements, and gives them a good seal of approval for athletes if they find they contain no banned substances.
I can possibly understand their use while racing, particularly GTs. Wanting to ensure that nutrition is specific and maintained may be easier with supplements if you don't know what the chefs might be making for dinner after the race. Outside of racing though it seems like they should be able to get what they need from their diet.

I'm not sure about "ought to now better". I seem to remember Geraint Thomas tried to market some nonsense wristband and got slammed for it. I think they just accept a lot of what they're told. After all, they're sports people, not academic researchers.
 
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Banned substances in supplements is a diversion used by both athletes and WADA. The British company LGC manage the Informed Sports and Informed Sport regimes and no athlete has ever been banned using a product under this protocol.

The supplement industry needs to clean its act up too, some sloppy practices, sometimes going as far as faking the Informed Sport logo. And some companies putting banned substances in with a nod and wink.

Pro athletes and their support staff only need to make a quick check on the Informed Sport website to be sure they are safe.
 
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Banned substances in supplements is a diversion used by both athletes and WADA. The British company LGC manage the Informed Sports and Informed Sport regimes and no athlete has ever been banned using a product under this protocol.

The supplement industry needs to clean its act up too, some sloppy practices, sometimes going as far as faking the Informed Sport logo. And some companies putting banned substances in with a nod and wink.

Pro athletes and their support staff only need to make a quick check on the Informed Sport website to be sure they are safe.
That's quite a claim. One that the Informed Sport website does not support.

Products appearing on the Informed Sport Tested Product List have been tested for a broad range of substances that are banned in sport, using highly sensitive techniques. Within the limitations of the analysis, none of the listed drugs were found (for further information on the test details, visit the Testing Specification page).Athletes should use Informed Sport as part of their risk management strategy when choosing which supplement products to use. They can be sure that products bearing the Informed Sport logo have passed a rigorous certification process and are made to the highest quality standards.
I found the bolded part interesting so I went to have a look at the list of compounds. Seems they don't want to tell people what it is, I can't find it anywhere.

The italic part would indicate that it's not a "quick check".
 
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That's quite a claim? It's correct.

The LGC Informed Sport protocol is very comprehensive. No protocol can ever claim zero chance of a banned substance appearing in the supplement, that claim can't be made. But it's around one an a billion chance of a substance getting through the net.

I repeat, no athlete has ever been banned because of an LGC Informed Sport tested supplement.

Athletes can go on the site and check by brand, product and even by product batch. It's a simple website and used by athletes from all over the world. There is no excuse for athletes saying "I didn't know".

I'm not a cheerleader for them. 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.
 
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That's quite a claim? It's correct.

The LGC Informed Sport protocol is very comprehensive. No protocol can ever claim zero chance of a banned substance appearing in the supplement, that claim can't be made. But it's around one an a billion chance of a substance getting through the net.

I repeat, no athlete has ever been banned because of an LGC Informed Sport tested supplement.

Athletes can go on the site and check by brand, product and even by product batch. It's a simple website and used by athletes from all over the world. There is no excuse for athletes saying "I didn't know".

I'm not a cheerleader for them. 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.
Maybe there is a chance that the WADA Code has got too smart by half in having too many prohibited substances on their list - Why not keep it simple and have a list of twenty substances which are prohibited - Then you have no 'if's and buts', you dont have to check a website even time you put something in your mouth or heaven forbid you have substances which CLEARLY enhance athletic performance, instead of marginal substances which do not necessarily fit each of the three criteria for banning under the WADA Code.
 
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That's quite a claim? It's correct.

The LGC Informed Sport protocol is very comprehensive. No protocol can ever claim zero chance of a banned substance appearing in the supplement, that claim can't be made. But it's around one an a billion chance of a substance getting through the net.

I repeat, no athlete has ever been banned because of an LGC Informed Sport tested supplement.

Athletes can go on the site and check by brand, product and even by product batch. It's a simple website and used by athletes from all over the world. There is no excuse for athletes saying "I didn't know".

I'm not a cheerleader for them. 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.
Well it isn't is it. That's demonstrably false, you even state it in your next paragraph.

Now, to the bold, please show your working. It is GCSE results day after all.
 
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Maybe there is a chance that the WADA Code has got too smart by half in having too many prohibited substances on their list - Why not keep it simple and have a list of twenty substances which are prohibited - Then you have no 'if's and buts', you dont have to check a website even time you put something in your mouth or heaven forbid you have substances which CLEARLY enhance athletic performance, instead of marginal substances which do not necessarily fit each of the three criteria for banning under the WADA Code.
From this post I would guess that you have no idea about pharmacology and biochemistry or why anti-doping came about in the first place. This wikipedia article should help with the first part:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_designer_drugs

Read what a designer drug is and then have a look at some sections on that list, such as androgens. Your list of 20 substances doesn't even cover that list. Now, guess what happens when you release that list of 20? Someone makes another functional analogue that you haven't listed and it's party time.
 
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From this post I would guess that you have no idea about pharmacology and biochemistry or why anti-doping came about in the first place. This wikipedia article should help with the first part:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_designer_drugs

Read what a designer drug is and then have a look at some sections on that list, such as androgens. Your list of 20 substances doesn't even cover that list. Now, guess what happens when you release that list of 20? Someone makes another functional analogue that you haven't listed and it's party time.
As it currently stands, WADA lists so many substances which are sometimes listed in obscure and 'catch all' categories which can be confusing to find on the WADA list of prohibited substances for athletes or support people - And it could easily be argued that some prohibited substances don't fit two of the three categories that make them fit on the WADA list.
 
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As it currently stands, WADA lists so many substances which are sometimes listed in obscure and 'catch all' categories which can be confusing to find on the WADA list of prohibited substances for athletes or support people - And it could easily be argued that some prohibited substances don't fit two of the three categories that make them fit on the WADA list.
You didn't click the link did you? The way the code is written has been explained many times before on here, I think you may even have been involved in those discussions.
 
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.
 
Athletes or their support have been known to contact their ADA to check on the legality of a substance/s and in fact are strongly encouraged by ADA's to follow this course of action - I suspect in a limited number of cases that ADA's may not be able to immediately give 100% correct information or may take time to find the correct information - I doubt very much that ADA's are resourced to sort through batch numbers or would have the desire to follow through on this proposal - Again it's a case of the WADA Code creating an unwieldy system with its complexities.
 
Canadian canoeist joins the contamination club:
Klevinas said the concentration of Ligandrol found in her two urine samples could have come from contaminated supplements. The canoeist said she gets her products from the National Team Training Centre.

“It’s that centre that buys the supplements from a company that follows the testing recommendations of the World Anti-Doping Agency,” she said. “I don’t prepare any of my supplements.”

Klevinas said he planned to test all of the containers of sealed supplements from the same lot that Vincent Lapointe used in order to determine if they contain any traces of Ligandrol.
 
I suspect in a limited number of cases that ADA's may not be able to immediately give 100% correct information or may take time to find the correct information - I doubt very much that ADA's are resourced to sort through batch numbers or would have the desire to follow through on this proposal
I didn't mean that they should. The idea is if the athlete should test positive later, and claim it was a contaminant in the supplement, there would be a record of taking that supplement, and at that point, I believe the company would be able to produce that batch for testing. If that's not the case, the athlete could file a sample of the supplement with the ADA. Again, the ADA would not have to do any testing at that time, but that sample would be available for testing if the athlete tested positive later.
 
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Would it be impractical for athletes to notify their ADA that they're taking a certain supplement, and register the batch number or other ID with them?
In theory you could modify Adams, I mean essentially this is a database question. In practice...I don't see it flying. Athletes will forget. Athletes will make input errors. And none of it would prove contamination (unless others were positive on matching/close batch numbers).

I see WADA going the Salbutamol route and setting thresholds.
 
Athletes or their support have been known to contact their ADA to check on the legality of a substance/s and in fact are strongly encouraged by ADA's to follow this course of action - I suspect in a limited number of cases that ADA's may not be able to immediately give 100% correct information or may take time to find the correct information - I doubt very much that ADA's are resourced to sort through batch numbers or would have the desire to follow through on this proposal - Again it's a case of the WADA Code creating an unwieldy system with its complexities.
Again with this absolute nonsense. You suspect, likely based on no actual knowledge, so it’s the fault of the code? The code is not unwieldy, the fault is with the products. WADA may decide this warrants a change in policy for punishment as fmk_RoI suggests, but they’re not going to start dropping things from the code because athletes want to make money of sponsorship deals.
 
In theory you could modify Adams, I mean essentially this is a database question. In practice...I don't see it flying. Athletes will forget. Athletes will make input errors. And none of it would prove contamination (unless others were positive on matching/close batch numbers).

I see WADA going the Salbutamol route and setting thresholds.
Thresholds for what though? This is the issue with trying to allow limits for supplements. How do you decide what possible contaminants will turn up in every supplement? Studies have found contamination with prohormones, stimulants and steroids and even clenbuterol, to tie this back to early discussion around Contador’s case. That paper was published in biomedical chromatography back in 2008, 2 years before a supplement was suggested as the root of Contador’s positive. Are WADA to set limits for nandrolone? Because it’s metabolites have definitely been found in supplements. Limits might seem reasonable, but I don’t think it’s as easy as that as it opens the door to more doping.


Setting limits would likely require a very large increase in testing to ensure that people who are doping get caught with more of the drug in their system than the limit allows.
 

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