Competitive athletes make incredible sacrifices to participate in their sport. It is nothing short of tragic when a competitor is banned from competition or has results overturned as a result of unintentionally taking supplements that contain illegal substances.
Athletes can and should be concerned about the contents of their supplements. However, the benefits of taking supplements are too great to ignore entirely out of fear. At the top level of competition, any advantage in performance and recovery can make the critical difference between winning and losing. With that in mind, let’s go over the opinions on amino acid supplements by the largest governing bodies in the world.
Amino acids and diet
Unlike any of the substances banned by major governing bodies, essential amino acids are by definition a part of every healthy human diet. Myothon™ is composed entirely of essential amino acids without any binding agents or additives. As they are essential to life, banning would be not only illogical but dangerous. It would be akin to banning essential vitamins, water or calories.
With the precedent set by the IOC’s ruling on creatine in 1998, essential amino acids would fall into the category of food for this reason.
The 2013 WADA List of Prohibited Supplements and Methods includes the following: Anabolic agents, peptide hormones, growth factors and related substances, beta-2 agonists, hormone and metabolic modulators, diuretics and other masking agents.
In addition, the following substances are prohibited in competition: stimulants, narcotics, cannabinoids, glucocorticosteroids, alcohol and beta blockers.
For liability reasons, WADA is not involved with the testing of dietary supplements. From the official website:
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.
While an official endorsement from WADA is not possible to obtain, careful examination of the list does not show any naturally occurring amino acids that are banned in competition. Due to the simplicity and purity of the Myothon™ formula, no additives or binders that could fall into the banned substances list are present either.
The 2012-2013 NCAA Banned Drug list includes the following: Stimulants, Anabolic Agents, Alcohol and Beta Blockers (banned for rifle only), Diuretics and Other Masking Agents, Street Drugs, Peptide Hormones and Analogues, Anti-estrogens, and Beta-2 Agonists
While none of the essential amino acids will result in being banned from competition, amino acids are explicitly listed as an impermissible substance. This classification relates only to distribution of the substance by the institution, NOT consumption by the athlete. Other common supplements such as protein, creatine and even green tea are on this list and will not result in banning of an athlete.
The NCAA takes a very conservative stance on supplements due to the nature of the industry and as such can only endorse the most basic of nutritional supplements: calorie replacements, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals. For liability reasons, these are the only nutritional supplements that can be distributed by institutions which are often publicly funded.