Documents, Regulations & Statistics

RISKS of Supplement Use

Nutritional supplements, also known as dietary supplements, are becoming a topic of increasing concern for athletes. This is because their ingredients may often contain prohibited substances that the athlete is not aware of. The easiest path for many athletes is simply not to use nutritional supplements, to avoid the risk of an unintentional doping violation.

If athletes choose to use nutritional or dietary supplements, they must exercise extreme caution and understand that they are ultimately responsible for every substance found within their bodies, whether ingested intentionally or unintentionally.

In general, food supplement products are not subject to strict manufacturing controls, even those you may find sold in pharmacies. There is always a risk that food supplement products may contain prohibited substances not identified on the label or substances in different concentrations than stated on the label. WADA does not endorse any food supplement product.

Athletes are encouraged to take all the necessary steps to be informed consumers, and if they take nutritional supplements, the following procedures can help:

1. Evaluate all products

2. Understand all ingredients

3. Do your own research, for example via the internet or in a book – don’t just rely on the advice of your friends or fellow athletes

4. Consult with a medical doctor to determine whether it is really necessary to take the supplement

5. Have products tested to ensure safety.

For a helpful legal point of view, read this recent post by Dr. Gregory Ioannidis:

For the official stance taken by WADA:

(Text taken from the WADA website Q&A on Dietary Supplements:


Extreme caution is recommended regarding supplement use.

The use of dietary supplements by athletes is a serious concern because in many countries the manufacturing and labeling of supplements do not follow strict rules, which may lead to a supplement containing an undeclared substance that is prohibited under anti-doping regulations. A significant number of positive tests have been attributed to the misuse of supplements and attributing an Adverse Analytical Finding to a poorly labeled dietary supplement is not an adequate defense in a doping hearing.

The risks of taking supplements should be weighed against the potential benefit that may be obtained, and athletes must appreciate the negative consequences of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation as a result of taking a contaminated supplement.

Use of supplement products that have been subjected to one of the available quality assurance schemes can help to reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of an inadvertent doping infringement.

Risks of Supplements include:

  • Manufacturing standards, which are often less strict when compared with medicines. These lower standards often lead to supplement contamination at production facilities;
  • Fake or low-quality products which may contain prohibited substances and other substances that are harmful to health;
  • Mislabelling of supplements – ingredients listen in the wrong dosage, or not at all identified on the product label;
  • False claims that a particular supplement is endorsed by Anti-Doping Organisations or that it is “safe for athletes”. Remember, Anti-Doping Organisations do not certify supplements – this is done by independent companies.


All athletes should do a risk-benefit assessment if they are considering the use of supplements. The first step of such an assessment is to consider whether a “food-first” approach meets the athlete’s needs. Whenever possible, such an assessment should be done with the support of a certified nutritionist who is familiar with the anti-doping system.


The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is not involved in the testing of dietary/nutritional supplements.

The Laboratory Code of Ethics, in the International Standard for Laboratories (Section 4.4 of Annex B), states that WADA-accredited laboratories shall not engage in analyzing commercial material or preparations (e.g. dietary supplements) unless specifically requested by an Anti-Doping Organization as part of a doping case investigation. The Laboratory shall not provide results, documentation or advice that, in any way, suggests endorsement of products or services.


WADA is not involved in any certification process regarding supplements and therefore does not certify or endorse manufacturers or their products. WADA does not control the quality or the claims of the supplements industry which may, from time to time, claim that their products have been approved or certified by WADA.

If a company wishes to promote its products to the sport community, it is their responsibility as a manufacturer to ensure that the products do not lead to any anti-doping rule violation. Some third-party testers of supplements exist, and this may reduce the risk of contamination but not eliminate it.


If, after careful consideration, an athlete chooses to use supplements, they must take the necessary steps to minimise the risks. This includes:

  • Select supplements only when a benefit is likely – this should be done with the assistance of a certified nutritionist who can properly assess the athlete’s needs
  • Use supplements and doses that are safe. Select supplements that have been batch-tested by an independent company. Companies that batch-test supplements include Informed Sport, Certified for Sport or Kölner Liste.

Remember, no supplement is 100% risk-free but athletes and Athlete Support Personnel can take certain steps to minimise these risks.  


For more information, please refer to the WADA Q&A on nutritional supplements


Versión española : ANTI DOPAJE_Methylhexaneamine

Русском языкеметилэксанимине

Methylhexaneamine is becoming increasingly common, and can very often be found in dietary or nutritional supplements, particular those that are intended to boost energy or increase weight loss.

Athletes, coaches and all individuals in the entourage must be aware that Methylhexaneamine is a specified stimulant that is prohibited in-competition under the current WADA Prohibited List (S6.b – Specified Stimulants). 

The greatest risk associated with Methylhexaneamine is that it may be ingested by an athlete unintentionally. It sometimes appears on labels as “geraniol” or under many other different names.

For example:

  • methylhexaneamine OR methylhexanamine
  • 1,3-dimethylpentylamine OR pentylamine
  • 1,3-dimethylamylamine OR DMAA
  • Geranamine
  • Floradrene
  • 2-hexanamine, 4-methyl- OR 2-hexanamine, 4-methyl- (9CI) OR 4-methyl-2-hexanamine OR 4-
  • methyl-2-hexylamine
  • 4-methylhexan-2-amine OR 2-amino-4-methylhexane
  • Forthan OR Forthane OR 1,3-dimethylamylamineforthane
  • C7H17N

If “geranium” is listed as an ingredient on the label of a supplement, the product may contain synthetic methylhexaneamine.

A few examples of products that currently list some form of methylhexaneamine on the label:

  • Jack3d (
  • OxyELITE Pro – USPlabs (
  • Hemo-Rage Black Ultra Concentrate – Nutrex (
  • Rezolution – LG Sciences (

In general, food supplement products are not subject to strict manufacturing controls, even those you may find sold in pharmacies. There is always a risk that food supplement products may contain prohibited substances not identified on the label or substances in different concentrations than stated on the label. WADA does not endorse any food supplement product.