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The continuing story of nutritional supplements and doping infractions
  1. Olivier de Hon,
  2. Bart Coumans
  1. Anti-Doping Authority of the Netherlands, The Netherlands
  1. Olivier de Hon, Anti-Doping Authority of the Netherlands, The Netherlands; o.dehon{at}


Nutritional supplements can be a source of positive doping cases as some supplements contain prohibited substances without showing this on their label. This problem has existed for some time and has been extensively studied in the past 8 years. The sport of tennis has played a particular role in this problem because of some peculiar doping cases within its community.

This article focuses on this particular doping problem, explaining the background and reviewing the available literature. It presents the first 3 years of experience within the Netherlands Security System Nutritional Supplements Elite Sports (“Nederlands Zekerheidssysteem Voedingssupplementen Topsport” or NZVT) and explains the most extensive system established to combat this particular doping problem.

The NZVT experience has shown that paper-based quality systems are still prone to possible contaminations, which leads to the conclusion that the best possible solution for athletes who wish to use nutritional supplements must include laboratory-based analysis for doping substances, preferably repeated for every new batch. The most important educational message, however, is to use a nutritional supplement only if it is deemed of benefit by a nutritional expert.

  • doping
  • nutritional supplements
  • contamination

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Abbreviations:
    branched-chain amino acids
    conjugated linoleic acid
    Dietary Supplement Health Education Act
    hazard analysis critical control points
    International Olympic Committee
    MDMA (or XTC)
    Netherlands Olympic Committee/Netherlands Sports Confederation
    Nederlands Zekerheidssysteem Voedingssupplementen Topsport
    World Anti-Doping Agency

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