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Banned substances in fitness supplements

Posted 9/24/2008   Updated 9/24/2008 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Candy Miller
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

9/24/2008 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Sheppard members need to be aware that some fitness supplements may contain banned substances that could harm their bodies, said Michelle Collins, a dietician at the Health and Wellness Center. 

She said labels on supplements may disguise the name of illegal substances so consumers don't know what is in their supplements. 

"Reading labels is key," she said. "Ignorance is a big enemy." 

She said if people don't read the labels, they may consume an illegal substance that will show up on drug tests. Consumers should also remember that the labels don't mention the amount of the ingredients in the substance. 

According to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the safety of supplements and generally don't need to register products with the Food and Drug Administration. 

Ms. Collins also said dietary supplements are foods, not drugs, under the FDA and are not controlled under the same standards as drugs and medicines. 

"If you're taking other medicines, there could be serious side effects. You need to be informed and educated," she said. 

The dietician said she recommends food as the first source of nutrition because food can supply all the nutrients the body need. Supplements give the body an excess of a substance that usually isn't necessary to meet performance goals, she said. 

"Just because something is not illegal doesn't mean that it won't cause problems. 

Everyone is an individual with individual needs," Ms. Collins said. "I want people to be informed. If your body is not deficient in something, taking a (supplement) is not helpful." 

For a list of products thay may be in fitness supplements click here.

Contact the HAWC to learn more about dietary supplements, 676-4292.

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