The presence of performance-enhancing drugs in dietary supplements poses serious anti-doping and health risks to athletes and military service members. A positive drug test, suboptimal health, or adverse event can ruin a career in either setting. These populations need to be certain in advance that a product is of high quality and free from performance-enhancing drugs and other banned substances. However, no regulatory authority conducts or mandates a quality review before dietary supplements are sold. Under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Food and Drug Administration does not have a role in the premarket safety review of dietary supplements. Due to the increasing demand for high-quality, properly labeled dietary supplements, multiple companies have stepped into this void by offering testing and quality review programs for dietary supplements. Each of these third-party programs has its own quality assurance program with varying testing components. It is difficult for consumers in the sport and military settings to assess whether a particular certification program reduces the risks enough so that they can use a product with confidence. This article puts forward the consensus of the authors on current best practices for third-party certification programs for dietary supplements consumed by athletes and military service members. Also discussed are important ways that third-party programs can develop in the future to improve access to safe, high-quality dietary supplements for these populations.
1US Anti-Doping Agency, Colorado Springs, CO;
2Major League Baseball, New York, NY;
3Major League Baseball/Major League Baseball Players Association, New York, NY;
4Major League Baseball Players Association, New York, NY;
5Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance UFC, Las Vegas, NV;
6Consortium for Health and Military Performance, Department of Military and Emergency Medicine, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD.
Address for correspondence: Amy Eichner, PhD, US Anti-Doping Agency, 5555 Tech Center Drive, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80919; E-mail: Aeichner@usada.org.