Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2021) 20, 328 - 338   DOI:

Research article
Undeclared Doping Substances are Highly Prevalent in Commercial Sports Nutrition Supplements
Erik Duiven1, , Luc J.C. van Loon2, Laila Spruijt1, Willem Koert1, Olivier M. de Hon1
Author Information
1 Doping Authority Netherlands, PO Box 5000, 2900 EA Capelle aan den IJssel, The Netherlands
2 Department of Human Biology, NUTRIM School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Erik Duiven
✉ Doping Authority Netherlands, PO Box 5000, 2900 EA Capelle aan den IJssel, The Netherlands
Publish Date
Received: 10-01-2021
Accepted: 05-03-2021
Published (online): 22-03-2021
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Sports nutrition supplements have previously been reported to contain undeclared doping substances. The use of such supplements can lead to general health risks and may give rise to unintentional doping violations in elite sports. To assess the prevalence of doping substances in a range of high-risk sports nutrition supplements available from Dutch web shops. A total of 66 sports nutrition supplements - identified as potentially high-risk products claiming to modulate hormone regulation, stimulate muscle mass gain, increase fat loss, and/or boost energy - were selected from 21 different brands and purchased from 17 web shops. All products were analyzed for doping substances by the UK life sciences testing company LGC, formerly known as the Laboratory of the Government Chemist, using an extended version of their ISO17025 accredited nutritional supplement screen. A total of 25 out of the 66 products (38%) contained undeclared doping substances, which included high levels of the stimulants oxilofrine, β-methylphenethylamine (BMPEA) and N,β-dimethylphenethylamine (NBDMPEA), the stimulant 4-methylhexan-2-amine (methylhexaneamine, 1,3-dimethylamylamine, DMAA), the anabolic steroids boldione (1,4-androstadiene-3,17-dione) and 5-androstene-3β,17α-diol (17α-AED), the beta-2 agonist higenamine and the beta-blocker bisoprolol. Based upon the recommended dose and the potential variability of analyte concentration, the ingestion of some products identified within this study could pose a significant risk of unintentional doping violations. In addition to inadvertent doping risks, the prescribed use of 3 products (4.5%) could likely impose general health risks.

Key words: Contamination, spiking, dietary supplements, prohibited substances, elite sport, health risks, doping violation

           Key Points
  • In this study, 38% of 66 high-risk sports supplements tested (which claimed to intensify workouts, promote muscle growth and fat loss) were found to contain doping agents.
  • 4.5% of the products tested were found to contain doping agents in concentrations which can have acute negative health effects, and may result in a positive doping test.
  • The problem regarding the presence of undeclared doping agents in sports supplements has not diminished in recent decades.
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