Athlete's Tip of the Month ? January

Nutritional Supplements and Positive Drug Tests

NCAA Bylaws 30.5

ADVISORY on Nutritional Supplements and Positive Drug Tests.

Ignorance of the risks of using legal, over-the-counter nutritional supplements is causing student-athletes to lose their eligibility to participate in collegiate athletes.

The NCAA Drug-Education and Drug-Testing Subcommittee (DEDT) of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguard and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) is issuing this advisory to reemphasize the warning about the risks involved in the use of nutritional supplements. The environment for today's student-athlete enables easy access to products, which are legally available over-the-counter, but contain substances banned by the NCAA. Many student-athletes assume if these products can be purchased at a health food store, they must be allowed under NCAA rules. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Advice of the store clerk, the distributor at the gym, on anyone who is not with the student-athlete's athletics program has resulted in erroneous information regarding the presence of NCAA banned substances. Reliance on this erroneous information may result in positive drug-test penalties.

Some common NCAA banned substances found in nutritional supplements are: DHEA, androstenedione, 19-norandrostenedione, caffeine (also labeled as guarana) and ephedrine (also labeled as ma huang or ephedra). Many fat burners and weight-gain products contain these substances. Nutritional supplements can come in various forms such as pill, powder, liquid and bars. They are legally obtained almost anywhere including grocery stores, pharmacies, health food stores and on the Internet. In addition to running the risk of a positive drug test for those banned ingredients listed on the label, student-athletes risk positive drug test by using products potentially contaminated with substances that are not listed on the label!

The student-athlete who uses a nutritional supplement without checking the ingredients with the athletics staff and test positive for banned substance will be held in violation of Bylaw Student-athletes who test positive are subject to at least one-year suspension and loss of eligibility. For more information about nutritional supplements and NCAA banned substances, contact the Resource Exchange Center (REC) at or toll free at 877/202-0769. The NCAA subscribes to The REC to provide a confidential resource for student-athletes and athletics staff who have questions about nutritional supplements.

The NCAA position on nutritional supplement use is one of caution; the most prudent approach to avoid a positive drug test is to avoid the use of these products.