Undeclared Doping Substances are Highly Prevalent in Commercial Sports Nutrition Supplements

J Sports Sci Med. 2021 Mar 22;20(2):328-338. doi: 10.52082/jssm.2021.328. eCollection 2021 Jun.


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.

Keywords: Contamination; dietary supplements; doping violation; elite sport; health risks; prohibited substances; spiking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / analysis
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / analysis
  • Alkaloids / analysis
  • Amphetamines / analysis
  • Androstadienes / analysis
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Doping in Sports*
  • Drug Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Testosterone Congeners / analysis
  • Tetrahydroisoquinolines / analysis


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Alkaloids
  • Amphetamines
  • Androstadienes
  • Testosterone Congeners
  • Tetrahydroisoquinolines
  • 1,4-androstadiene-3,17-dione
  • higenamine