Food supplements, three questions for… Mrs Rougaignon-Vernin

Food supplements and doping

The warning from the World Anti-Doping Agency is unequivocal: it is with extreme caution that dietary supplements should be used. However, the popularity of these products has grown steadily in recent years. The appetite of athletes sometimes meets the greed of brands that may not respect strict production processes, guaranteeing the integrity of the formula, especially when going through the internet. Here is what you need to know about food supplements. And to go further, we put three questions to Ms. Caroline ROUGAIGNON-VERNIN, President of the Council of the Order of Pharmacists of the Principality of Monaco.

complements 2

What are the risks ?

The risks for an athlete are numerous. The World Anti-Doping Agency is adamant: “ The use of food supplements by athletes is of great concern, because in many countries the production and labeling of supplements does not follow strict rules. This may lead to the use of a supplement containing an undeclared substance which is prohibited by anti-doping rules. A significant number of positive controls have been attributed to the misuse of supplements. Justifying obtaining an Adverse Analytical Finding through the use of a mislabelled dietary supplement is not an adequate defense in a positive control hearing. The pros and cons must be weighed between the risks of taking supplements and the potential benefits. Additionally, athletes need to understand the negative repercussions of an anti-doping rule violation arising from taking a contaminated supplement. Using supplements that have gone through one of the available quality assessment mechanisms can help reduce the risk of inadvertent doping, but does not eliminate them. »

There are therefore several flaws in the process of using a dietary supplement. Studies have shown that at least one in five commercial food supplements contains substances not mentioned in the leaflet, most of the time doping. First, the manufacturing process may not ensure the integrity of the dietary supplement which may come into contact, sometimes intentionally, with prohibited substances. Second, the composition of the supplement is not exhaustive and does not indicate the presence of a potentially prohibited ingredient. If the food supplement contains doping molecules, even without the knowledge of the athlete, he will be considered responsible and penalized.

Thirdly, taking a food supplement that would have traces of doping product (s) could have serious consequences on the health of the athlete. Not to mention that overconsumption of a healthy product in reasonable doses can have significant undesirable effects and cause harmful interactions with other substances.

The role of the pharmacist with Ms. Caroline ROUGAIGNON-VERNIN, President of the Council of the Order of Pharmacists of the Principality of Monaco

For top quality advice, it is important to turn to your pharmacist. Mrs Caroline ROUGAIGNON-VERNIN,
President of the Council of the Order of Pharmacists of the Principality of Monaco, agreed to study the subject in depth for the CMA.

What is a food supplement?

Food supplements are intended to supplement a normal diet. It is a concentrated source of nutrients (minerals and / or vitamins) or other products, based on plants or plant extracts. They are found in the form of tablets, capsules, powder or ampoules.

Do i need food supplements?

Medical studies are clear: the vast majority of the population, by following a balanced diet, will never need to resort to nutrients. The daily doses necessary for the proper functioning of the body and the psyche are largely provided by a healthy and varied diet. Despite the fact that no benefit from taking nutrients has been demonstrated for people who do not have deficiencies, nearly one in three adults consume them, according to figures from Synadiet (French National Union of Food Supplements) and Credoc (French research center for the study and observation of living conditions). In certain cases, however, especially when one practices intense physical activity or when one has a particular vulnerability, intakes of vitamins, minerals and nutrients can be useful. In these rare cases, it is strongly recommended to be supervised by a health professional who will assess the real needs.

What are the rules of prudence?

It is essential that the packaging bears the words "food supplement", lists the nutrients and substances contained as well as their quantity and indicates the recommended daily dose. WADA, once again, is very clear: “WADA is not involved in the approval procedures for dietary supplements and therefore does not endorse or endorse any manufacturer of such products or the products them. themselves. WADA does not monitor the quality or data of the supplement industry. However, some companies in this industry may from time to time claim that their products have been approved or licensed by WADA. There is no standard that has the blessing of WADA. However, some labels are more secure than others. This is the case, in particular, of the AFNOR V 94-001 standard which, in theory, makes it possible to certify the absence of a prohibited substance in food supplements or other dietetic foods intended for athletes. As an athlete, it is advisable in all cases to seek advice from a health professional, in particular his pharmacist.

council of the order34