Ankhjii was looking in to new supplements yesterday, and that brought us to our normal process – hear about supplement, research supplement (reviews, etc), find ingredient list, run a WADA check on supplement, buy supplement. It’s our normal process every time. But it made me wonder, how many folks are clear on checking their supplements? I figured I’d run down my process just in case. As a natural athlete, you have the complete responsibility to make sure you remain 100% natural. Absolutely do not take someone else’s word for it. It’s a bit of effort, a bit of a pain, I’ll admit. But look at it this way, how much effort did you put into that physique of yours? Quite a bit, right? Well, checking your supplements isn’t nearly as much effort. It usually takes me about 15 minutes to do a full check. Do this every time and be confident that you are in the clear!
The first thing I always do when we look into something new is to just research the product. Bodybuilding.com is one of the better places I’ve found for this. They sell just about everything and they have millions of members who review everything. So before you even bother to run the WADA check, make sure the supplement is worth your effort. Bring it up on the site (or any others site you want) and look at the ratings, look at the reviews, read any articles. Supplements are not cheap and neither is your time. No need to even bother WADA checking a shit product, so look at reviews to weed out the garbage.
So now you have found a new supplement, the reviews are good, and you are considering buying it. How do we make sure it’s OK for a natural athlete? Well, WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) publishes their list for just that purpose. There’s a couple ways to go about this, and a couple things to consider. First you can go to the listing right on their website which breaks things up as Prohibited at All Times, Prohibited In-Competition, and Prohibited in Certain Sports. You can expand out each section and look for substances.
The technique I prefer is PDF. WADA offers a PDF version of their list for download. To me, this is easier to work with. I keep a copy on my home computer desktop for reference whenever we are shopping. In case you don’t know, when you open a PDF file on your computer, you can press Ctrl+F (or open search through the menu) and it opens a search box to type in words. It’s simple and you are off to the races! Just work your way through the ingredient list and search for them all, one by one! If it’s not on the list, you are good to go!
BUT… here is the caveat. You need to consider common name versus chemical name sometimes. I’ll pick on one ingredient here because it is the first one I thought of. You can find something called Bitter Orange in many supplements as a fat burner (ephedrine substitute). Bring up that WADA list and search for it, you only need to type Bitter before the search feature tells you it’s not in the list. Well, head on over to Wikipedia (or just Google it) and bring up Bitter Orange, you’ll see a component in Bitter Orange called octopamine – type that into the WADA list and you’ll see that pop up banned under In-Competition. I know this naming convention problem is a serious monkey wrench in determining that your supplements are clear, but it is worth the effort. Look up alternate names, especially for ingredients with common names or trade names.
One other quick tidbit. What does In-Competition mean? If you really want to read all the nitty-gritty about WADA rules and standards, you can read their code here. In a nutshell, in-competition means the period commencing 12 hours before the scheduled competition start until the end of the competition. So fully banned substances can never be taken, simple. In-competition banned substances must be out of your system 12 hours before the beginning of a competition.
Please note, I’m not an expert. I simply worked through figuring this stuff out to help my wife. If you have any questions I can try to help you find answers. If you have anything else you’d like to add on, please leave me a comment here. I think it’s very important for every natural athlete to understand this stuff!
NOTE: This article was written in February 2015. If you find this article later on down the road (especially into 2016 and beyond) please go to the WADA site directly and make sure you view the updated list and code for the appropriate year.