UK regulator bans 84 sports nutrition supplements24 July 2012
The sports nutrition industry is once again under the spotlight after the UK's Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) banned 84 supplements containing "dangerous supplements".
The Agency confirmed that the offending products were predominantly in the muscle-building and fat-burning categories. Steroid, stimulant and hormone contamination were the most common causes for withdrawal.
The MHRA said that products containing substances such as ephedrine, synephrine and yohimibine could cause serious health conditions such as kidney or heart failure and seizures.
The ban follows a recent incident in which two men were hospitalised with severe jaundice and liver damage after taking a spiked product called Celtic Dragon. Other products on the blacklist include USP Labs 'OxyElite Pro', Nutrex 'Lipo 6' range and Cellucor 'D4 Thermal Shock'.
The withdrawal predominantly affects products sold by online retailers and the Agency will soon make a statement on supplements containing the controversial banned stimulant DMAA after a separate probe.
“It might seem like a high number but this is just the earlier stages of a campaign and people will hear more from us,” said a MHRA spokesperson.
“But we want to make it clear we are not trying to persecute the industry but inform them.”
“We recommend that people only use approved products and speak to a qualified medical practitioner if they have any concerns about any supplements they may be taking,” added David Carter, the MHRA’s manager for borderline medicines.
The MHRA launched the investigation in partnership with UK Anti-Doping who said elite athletes should exercise "extreme caution" when evaluating sports nutrition products.
“Elite athletes need to exercise extreme caution when it comes to deciding what they put into their body and a vital part of our prevention programme is educating athletes in the risk of supplements,” said Andy Parkinson, UK Anti-Doping's chief executive.
“Athletes who use sports supplements need to choose reputable manufacturers who can justify their claims with scientific evidence, and have their products screened to minimise the risk of testing positive for a substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List.”
The announcement follows last week's scathing attack by Oxford University academics on the "weak science" used by the sports nutrition industry to back performance and nutritional claims. The critique was published in the British Medical Journal and was the focus of a BBC Panorama TV documentary.
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