12 Sep 2019

Warning on supplements

News Article


Players and Player Support Personnel are reminded that the risk of violating the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) due to supplement use remains high. Supplements are not classed as foods, and so are not subject to the same manufacturing standards. Research studies have consistently found a significant proportion of supplements to be contaminated with prohibited substances and/or substances that are hazardous to health1.

Supplements from all regions may pose an elevated risk of an anti-doping violation. Players in South America should be on particularly high alert to the use of supplements, including those prepared in pharmacies, as several violations arising from supplements prepared by similar sources have occurred in that region.

The TADP does not recommend the use of any supplements. In most cases, a balanced diet of normal foods is sufficient to meet nutritional requirements. If, despite this warning, you still wish to take supplements, then organisations such as Informed Sport (www.informed-sport.com), NSF (www.nsfsport.com) and HASTA (www.hasta.org.au) conduct batch testing of supplements and certifies those that are found to be free of prohibited substances.

Players are advised that any supplement use should be in accordance with advice by suitably-qualified professionals (e.g., physician, dietitian, physiologist) that they are safe, free from prohibited substances and effective. The following additional steps are also recommended prior to any supplement use:

- Check the ingredients against the WADA/TADP Prohibited List.
- Check the ingredients on the Global Drug Reference Online website (www.globaldro.com).
- Search online for the product name and ‘doping’ (or similar search terms).
- Read the label and assess the manufacturer’s claims for ‘red flag’ warnings that the product may contain prohibited substances.

Specific warnings have been issued by the TADP for MHA, DMBA, GW501516 and Higenamine. Hydrochlorothiazide is also a known ingredient in supplements. However, you should not assume that a product without these substances on its ingredients list is free from risk. Certification or other guarantees of purity will not excuse a positive anti-doping test.

If you have any questions, please contact the ITF: anti-doping@itftennis.com.

1Baume et al. (2005). Scand J Med Sci Sports; Geyer et al. (2008). J Mass Spectrom.