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Supplements take down another athlete

Today we watched a very emotional Will Grier, University of Florida Quaterback, talk about his year suspension which was imposed by the NCAA when he tested positive for a banned substance. What is telling about this case is that Grier didn't know he was taking something banned by the NCAA. He had tested positive for ligandrol, a supplement used to build lean muscle mass; ligandrol was in an over-the-counter supplement that he was using.

Grier hadn't checked the supplement with the UF medical staff, so some of the blame does fall on his shoulders. But too many athletes don't understand the unregulated industry of supplements. They rely on the marketing campaigns and believe that an over-the -counter supplement couldn't contain anything that is banned. The truth is that Supplements are often a gamble.

  • Some supplements have great labels that don’t match what’s on the inside of the bottle. Since this industry is not monitored by the FDA…some companies just do what they want.

  • Even more dangerous is when a company fails to list every ingredient that is in the product and one or more of these ingredients is on a banned substances list. If an athlete get drug tested…he or she will fail though they didn’t know they were ingesting a banned substance. And there is a reason that substances are banned; they’re not helping that developing body.

  • Very few supplements are tested per batch. The mixture of ingredients is often not consistent and without batch testing no one knows that.

  • For male athletes, male hormone enhancer has become a fad. Anyone under 18 doesn’t need this – their natural levels are extremely high to begin with. This is an example of a product intended for men over 35 that is misused.

  • Supplements don’t replace training. Anything that implies it will replace hard, consistent work, that kids will get results without the reps, is playing with their mind.

Supplements don’t replace proper nutrition and training. The marketing for a lot of products suggests that the kids can make up for proper nutrition by a “magic” regiment of supplements. Our bodies just don’t work that way. And, as today's ruling shows, supplements can contain surprises.

We want to thank Glen Tobias,one of only 415 Specialists in Sports Dietetics certified by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, for help with this article. The founder and CEO of e3 Health and Weight Management Solutions, headquartered in Connecticut, Glen holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Nutrition, is a Registered Dietitian, a Certified Dietitian in multiple states, a NASM certified personal trainer and holds certificates in Adult Weight Management. As a Sports Nutrition Consultant, his experience in developing both institutional and personal nutrition programs combined with his work with sports performance nutrition is utilized by both elite programs, such as the Yale University Athletic Department and Parisi NFL Combine Training Programs, and training programs for young, aspiring athletes. He is the sports nutritionist for the NY Jets. Glen is the author of the nutrition section of Harper Collins Ultimate Warrior Workouts, writes nutrition columns, and is a content contributor to popular nutrition blogs.

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