A new research published from the Drug Control Centre, the UK’s WADA-accredited laboratory at King’s College London, has revealed that anabolic steroids were found in some supplements available to purchase in the United Kingdom. These findings have reinforced the requirement for athletes to effectively manage the risks associated with taking supplements.
Twenty-four products from two fitness equipment shops in the UK were selected by the team at King’s College London, working with colleagues in Liverpool and Lisbon. These products were selected as they appeared to be anabolic agents because of the name of the product, the nature of their advertising, and the ingredients listed. These 24 products were then analyzed by Drug Control Centre scientists after making use of a range of sophisticated analytical techniques to identify the ingredients to determine whether they included substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The study results showed that 23 of the 24 products contained anabolic steroids prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. It was also found during the research that the steroid identified within the product was often different from that indicated on the packaging. It was also revealed that a selection of products included in the study were advertised as ‘prohormones’, with researchers suggesting these products could be misconstrued as legal replacements for steroids.
Lead author Dr Chris Walker from the King’s College London Drug Control Centre said we are concerned by the range of different anabolic steroids being sold openly despite limited safety data. Dr. Walker added this puts the athlete at risk not only of failing a doping control test but also of possible harm to their health. It was remarked by UKAD Head of Science and Medicine Nick Wojek that the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London used some of the most sophisticated analytical techniques available to conduct this research and added it is once again encouraging to see the desire of academics in the UK to conduct high-quality research in this area. UKAD Head of Education and Athlete Support Amanda Batt commented that UKAD and its partners are committed to educating athletes on the potential risks associated with sports supplements. Batt added this latest research reinforces the importance that athletes who decide to use supplements choose reputable manufacturers who can justify their claims with scientific evidence, and screen products to minimise the risk of a user testing positive for a banned substance.
In another development, UK Anti-Doping has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Crime Agency (NCA). This MoU sets out clear guidelines for sharing information in the fight against the supply and trafficking of doping-related substances and activities in sport. UKAD Director of Operations Nicole Sapstead remarked we are delighted to formalise our already strong partnership with the NCA, strengthening our ability to tackle the supply chain of doping-related substances and intensify our activities in the global fight against doping in sport. NCA Deputy Director Roy McComb said good information sharing is at the heart of effective law enforcement. The NCA's partnership with UK Anti-Doping will not only help them target traffickers but will also protect athletes.