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Nutritional and Dietary Supplements: Know the Risks As the nutritional and dietary supplement industry continues to grow in popularity, don’t believe everything you read. Claims of improved performance, recovery time and muscle-building lack proof of effectiveness and may potentially be harmful to health or performance. Most important, these substances are not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Consequently, the contents of many compounds are not accurately represented on the list of ingredients and may contain impurities or banned substances, resulting in a positive drug test. The NCAA does not endorse any nutritional or dietary supplement product despite claims by some manufacturers. Nutritional supplements permissible by the NCAA may not contain any banned substance (Table 1 below) and must fall into the following classes: carbohydrate/electrolyte drinks, energy bars, carbohydrate boosters and vitamins and minerals. These products typically do not contribute to performance enhancement and are generally accepted and widely used by the public at large. Energy drinks, though widely popular, do not fall within these classes. Many contain large amounts of either caffeine or other stimulants, both of which can result in a positive drug test. Stimulants are banned by the NCAA, and their use while exercising can increase the risk of heat illness. Additionally, since these products lack FDA regulations, they may also contain ingredients not listed and deemed impermissible. Table 1 lists ingredients impermissible by the NCAA in ANY nutritional or dietary supplement. The list is not exhaustive and contains substances that may be found on the product labels under different names. Further clarification on ingredients and validity of product claims may be obtained through the Resource Exchange Center (REC) web site at www.drugfreesports.com/rec ( password ncaa1,ncaa2, or ncaa3, depending on your divisional classification). Ultimately, most nutritional and dietary supplements are ineffective, costly and unnecessary. Student-athletes have tested positive and lost their eligibility using dietary and nutritional supplements. Testing positive for use of a supplement product without checking the product with the athletics staff, the student-athlete bears full responsibility and sanctions for a positive test. Positive test appeals based on claims the student-athlete did not know the substance taken contained banned drugs have not been successful. Before taking ANY nutritional or dietary supplement consult with your Sports Medicine staff. Ignorance is no excuse! Table 1 NCAA Impermissible Ingredients in Nutritional and Dietary Supplements (These ingredients are no exhaustive) Amino Acids ( including amino acid chelates ) Chondroitin* Chrysin CLA ( conjugated linoleic acid ) Creatine and compounds containing creatine Garcinia cambogia ( hydroxycitric acid ) Gingko Biloba Ginseng Glucosamine* Glutathione Glycerol** Green Tea HMB ( hydroxyl-methybutyrate) Melatonin MSM (methylsulfonyl methane ) Protein powders St. John’s Wort Tribulus Weight Gainers Yohimbe *Chondroitin and Glucosamine may be used for medical purposes if prescribed by a medical doctor to treat a specific, diagnosed medical condition, and must be presented in writing. **Glycerol or glycerine is permissible as a binding ingredient in a supplement product.