In this first edition of WADA Talks of 2016, WADA sat down with dietary supplements expert and Chair of the IOC Medical Commission’s Sports Nutrition Group, Professor Ron Maughan, to discuss supplements and their associated risks.
On the hazards, Maughan warns against supplements that contain undetectable traces of banned substances which can result in a positive doping test for athletes. “The sample may pass a certification process, but once you feed it to a human, the doping agent appears in the urine sample. That’s hard to get your head around” he says.
Maughan also highlights the challenge in providing one clear message to athletes on a topic as complex as supplements. “While there are some supplements that can help, they all carry risks. We cannot reliably quantify the risks as there are too many unknowns” he says. And although he would like to give athletes a simple message, he says “it is simply impossible!”
His advice to athletes considering adding supplements to their diet is simple: “If it works, it’s probably banned, if it’s not banned, then it probably doesn’t work!” In other words, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
WADA Talks sees the agency’s Senior Manager, Media Relations and Communications, Ben Nichols, interviewing leading figures from the athlete community, sport, government and other partners involved in the clean sport movement.