Friday, March 10, 2006

Sports, supplements, and steroids

Let me ask this question: who should be responsible for assuring the content and purity of dietary supplements in this country???

One might think the US Food and Drug Administration would have this task within its bailiwick. However, the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act essentially prevents the FDA from acting until adverse events due to supplements are detected.

In no way do I blame FDA for this situation - they can only enact what Congress legislates them to do.

But, when Major League Baseball players claim that their positive steroid tests are due to some supplement given to them by someone else, what is the response? MLB commissions a private lab to certify supplements for use among players, with the assurance that none contain illegal, performance-enhancing steroids. 'bout a little quality control for the rest of us whose multimillion-dollar-a-year jobs aren't jeopardized by a positive steroid test?

How about protecting....oh...I don't know...young high school athletes from steroid-containing supplements that are still making it to the market, as announced by the FDA only a day after MLB launched their quality-control program? And no excuses here about the supplements coming from some far off country with substandard manufacturing practices. Today's FDA warning letters have been issued to:

Anabolic Xtreme Superdrol, manufactured for Anabolic Resources LLC of Gilbert, Ariz., and distributed by Supplements To Go of Cincinnati.

Methyl-1-P, manufactured for Legal Gear of Brighton, Mich., and distributed by Affordable Supplements of Wichita, Kan.

When will the US adopt a proper testing and registration program for dietary supplements like Canada's Natural Health Products Directorate?

What is so hard about offering the following system?:

"Through the Natural Health Products Directorate, Health Canada ensures that all Canadians have ready access to natural health products that are safe, effective and of high quality, while respecting freedom of choice and philosophical and cultural diversity."

Oh yeah, I forgot, we need to have the freedom in the US to buy poorly studied supplements developed by a schoolteacher, but touted on Oprah.


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