Geyer, H., Parr, M. K., Mareck, U., Reinhart, U., Schrader, Y., & Schaenzer, W. (2004). Analysis of non-hormonal nutritional supplements for anabolic-androgenic steroids - Results of an international study. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 25, 124-129.

This study reported a broad-based investigation of the international nutritional supplement market to clarify the extent of the problem. From October 2000 until November 2001, 634 non-hormonal nutritional supplements were purchased in 13 countries from 215 different suppliers. Most supplements were bought in shops in the respective countries (578 samples = 91.2 %) and on the internet (52 samples = 8.2 %). 289 supplements were from prohormone-selling companies and 345 supplements came from companies which do not offer prohormones. After isolation from the supplement matrix, 11 different anabolic androgenic steroids, mainly prohormones of testosterone and nandrolone, were analyzed by gas-chromatography/mass spectrometry.

Out of the 634 samples analyzed 94 (14.8 %) contained anabolic androgenic steroids not declared on the label. Reliable data could not be obtained for 66 samples (10.4 %) due to matrix effects. In relation to the total number of products purchased per country, most of the positive supplements were bought in the Netherlands (25.8 %), Austria (22.7 %), the UK (18.8 %), and the USA (18.8 %). According to the label, all positive supplements were from companies located in only five countries: the USA, the Netherlands, the UK, Italy, and Germany. 21.1 % of the nutritional supplements from prohormone-selling companies contained anabolic androgenic steroids, whereas 9.6 % of the supplements from companies not selling prohormones were positive. The positive supplements showed anabolic androgenic steroid concentrations of 0.01 mug/g up to 190.00 mug/g. The administration of supplements containing nandrolone prohormones adding up to a total uptake of more than 1 mug would result in positive doping results for norandrosterone for several hours.

Implication. Nutritional supplements are a risky form of nutrition because of the contamination with banned substances in a significant proportion of supplements available in several countries.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.