Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, April 2018

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Sports Nutrition KEEPING IT CLEAN Sports supplement users are looking for everything from the absence of banned substances and artifi cial ingredients to non-GMO, organic, sustainable, and vegetarian formulations. BY KIMBERLY J. DECKER A t the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, gold medalists from the Russian Federation didn't wrap them- selves in the Russian f ag—literally or f guratively—as they stood on the podium, nor did they tear up to the stirring strains of the Russian national anthem. Instead, they received their medals under the neutral banner of the Olympic f ag as the somewhat uninspiring Olym- pic anthem played in the background. T at's because once again, Russian competitors found themselves behind the doping eight-ball when the International Olympic Com- mittee banned all but those individuals who could demonstrate their "cleanliness" from competing in the latest games. And while the stakes aren't nearly as high for the average weekend warrior—assuming that a friendly game of tennis even has stakes—the lesson remains the same: play clean or go home. But what does clean even mean to the recreational athlete—or to the lifestyle consumer who just takes self es at the gym? For them, the concern may be less about performance-enhancing steroids than "nat- ural" f avors, vegan coatings, and ingredients you don't need a team nu- tritionist to recognize. Either way, as consumers grow more adamant about labeling and transparency in general, it's worth exploring why keeping the sports-supplement arena clean matters. Supplements Not Immune Whether you're a sponsored pro or simply a spectator, there's no de- nying: Even the low-stakes realm of sports-nutrition supplements has suf ered its own sort of "doping" scandals. But the issue hasn't just been the presence of unapproved ingredients; safety issues have emerged, too. Citing his organization's and others' research, Brian Jordan, techni- cal manager of NSF International's (Ann Arbor, MI) Certif ed for Sport program, states, "We know that some sports supplements contain mislabeled ingredients, potentially harmful compounds, and synthet- ic stimulants—many of which are illegal dietary ingredients and are banned in sport." Researchers have identif ed as the highest-risk supplements those in the pre-workout, muscle building, weight loss, and sexual enhance- ment categories. "T at def nitely includes many products considered 'sports nutrition,'" Jordan says. "And this is more than just a problem for athletes concerned about inadvertent doping; some of these stimulants are known to cause harmful side ef ects like cardiovascu- lar and neurological problems. And again: they are not legal dietary ingredients." He traces their emergence to the banning of ephedrine in 2004—after which "some manufacturers have been searching for another ingredi- ent that will provide that same stimulant kick." T at's why many unap- proved and potentially dangerous copycat stimulants have turned up in supplements, including DEPEA (N,alpha-diethylphenylethylamine, a close chemical analog of methamphetamine), DMAA (1,3-dimeth- ylamylamine, a stimulant that when combined with ingredients like caf eine can pose health risks), DMBA (1,3-dimethylbutylamine, chemi- cally similar to DMAA), and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)- prohibited stimulant oxilofrine. Recently, NSF and Harvard Medical School scientists published re- search 1 in the journal Clinical Toxicology showing that six pre-workout and weight-loss products that claimed to contain Aconitum kusnezoffii actually contained unapproved DMAA-like stimulants. (Turn to page 14 for more about this study.) So it should come as no surprise that "we've seen a big increase in the number of athletes and consumers who are aware of the risks related to untested and uncertif ed sports nutrition products," Jordan says. SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/ ITAKDALEE ■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 6 APRIL 2018

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