Supplements

We often use dietary supplements to support or boost our health. It’s important to choose wisely as some supplements simply do not work, or worse, can even be bad for your health. Even some over the counter sports supplements have been found to contain illegal or banned substances.

This section gives guidance on where to get quality advice on supplements and which ones might be right for you.

Supplements

Third party certification

Third-party certification organisations provide independent testing to evaluate supplements and their ingredients. Although this does not ensure the effectiveness of a product, certification programmes do verify that a product consists of the ingredients listed on the label and does not include any undeclared ingredients.

Recommended starting point

Informed Sport and Informed Choice are two good places to start your research. They will give you more information and confidence in choosing the right supplements for you.

The Informed Sport(external link) and Informed Choice(external link) certification programmes were established by one of the world’s leading sports doping control laboratories, HFL Sport Science, which is now known as LGC. They were launched in the Australian marketplace in 2014 and have the support of the Australian Institute of Sport. They also have the support of the British Armed Forces. Both are quality assurance programmes for sports nutrition products; raw materials; suppliers to the sports nutrition industry; and supplement manufacturing facilities.

  • Informed Sport certifies that every batch of a supplement product and/or raw material that bears the Informed Sport logo has been tested for banned substances by LGC’s sports anti-doping laboratory prior to release into retail.
  • Informed Choice is a monitoring programme that certifies that a supplement product and/or raw material that bears the Informed Choice logo has been ‘skip-lot’ tested (at least on a monthly basis) for banned substances by LGC’s sports anti-doping laboratory.

Free of banned substances

Although there is no such thing as a ‘100% guarantee’ that tested supplements are free of all banned substances, both programmes aim to provide an effective risk management service, allowing you to make informed choices about the products you choose to use.

Certified product brands

The Informed Sport and Informed Choice certification are voluntary programmes for reputable supplement companies who wish to register some, or all, of their products and carry the appropriate logo on those products. Consumers who see either the Informed Sport or Informed Choice logos on a product can be assured it has undergone rigorous checks and testing to ensure that it is not contaminated with banned substances and is safer to use.

Regularly tested

Once the product is certified, regular batch testing and/or blind sample testing is carried out for the Informed Sport programme to ensure the products in the market remain safe to use.

Informed Choice also conducts monthly blind sample testing through purchase from retail outlets. All tested batches of product are listed on the website.

Note: Not all companies that appear on the Certified Product List have their entire product range certified. And as the certification is batch specific, there is no guarantee that future batches of the same product will be the same.

Other third-party certification websites:

Labdoor(external link)
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NSF International(external link)
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United States Pharmacopeia (USP)(external link)
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Consumer Lab(external link)
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Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG)(external link)
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