Shayna Jack was sent home from world swimming championships after failing a drug test. Picture: Getty
Shayna Jack was sent home from world swimming championships after failing a drug test. Picture: Getty

Banned drugs found in protein shakes, sports supplements

Exclusive: Athletes and fitness warriors are at high risk of inadvertently consuming drugs that are banned in sport and that could be putting their life at risk if they use protein shakes or other sports supplements.

Australians have died after using these products which often contain secret ingredients not listed on the labels, others have needed organ transplants.

And a University of Queensland expert says it is "highly possible" athletes like Shayna Jack could have inadvertently consumed banned drugs in a sports supplement if it was not tested before consumption.

A 2018 a study of teens in Greece who purchased sports supplements on the internet found one in 10 had banned substances including selective androgen receptor modulators (SARM), the type of drug Jack tested positive for, University Queensland doping expert Dr Betul Sekendiz said.

 

Shayna Jack during the Australian Dolphins team training camp. Picture: Getty
Shayna Jack during the Australian Dolphins team training camp. Picture: Getty

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has issued repeated warnings to athletes about the risks of using these supplements.

And in the last seven years the nation's medicines regulator has twice banned supplements containing the stimulants DMBA and DHMA and DMAA.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration warned the chemicals were "toxic" and were associated with high blood pressure, psychiatric disorders, bleeding in the brain and stroke.

A 2016 study by Life Science Company found one in five sports supplements for sale in Australia contained substances banned in sport including steroids that were not declared on their labels.

The most common substance found in the supplements was the stimulant 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (also known as AMP Citrate) which was identified in seven products.

This substance allows the lungs to take in more oxygen and if detected in an athlete's urine sample could see them face up to a four year ban from sport.

WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY'S LIST OF BANNED SUBSTANCES:

 

 

 

The testing also found anabolic steroids in various sports supplements available for sale in Australian stores.

It is common for people trying to build muscle to purchase products from overseas over the internet.

In 2017 a major review of studies around the world published in the journal Nutrients found between 12 and 58 per cent of supplements contained substances banned by the World Anti- Doping Agency.

"Non-intentional doping is a point to take into account before establishing a supplementation program," the study said.

"Athletes and coaches must be aware of the problems related to the use of any contaminated supplement and should pay special attention before choosing a supplement, informing themselves fully and confirming the guarantees offered by the supplement," the authors said.

Dr Sekendiz said Australians were taking great risks using sports supplements.

"It's a worldwide issue that these products have been found to have substances banned by WADA," she said.

Shayna Jack may have indevertently consumed banned drug from a sports supplement. Picture: Getty Images
Shayna Jack may have indevertently consumed banned drug from a sports supplement. Picture: Getty Images

 

Consumers who wanted to check whether the product they were using could be at risk could as to have it tested by HASTA or Informed Sport and Informed Choice organisation which carry out chemical analyses of products, she said.

"Consumers should look for the logo of these organisations on a product to ensure its safety," she said.

THE RISKS OF TAKING SPORTS SUPPLEMENTS

2017 Australian mum Megan Hefford, a 27 year bodybuilder, died in August because a rare disorder prevented her body from breaking down her high protein diet which included protein supplements.

2016 Matthew Whitby from WA needed an emergency liver transplant after taking a protein powder containing green tea extract and a supplement with garcinia cambogia - a tropical fruit used in weight-loss supplements.

2016 National organ donor registries show since 2011 six Australians have had organ transplants after herbal supplements including those used by body builders destroyed their organs.

2015 A New England Journal Medicine study in 2015 found over 23,000 emergency department presentations in the US each year were linked to dietary supplements.

2015 British Journal of Cancer study found muscle building supplements were linked with an increased risk of germ cell testicular cancer.

2013 A British coroner found 30 year old runner Clare Squires died during the London Marathon after taking a supplement containing DMAA which in combination with extreme physical exertion, caused acute cardiac failure, which resulted in her death.

2013 The US FDA reported 72 cases of acute non-viral hepatitis linked to people using OxyElite Pro and Versa-1 which it found was adulterated with aegeline an unknown dietary ingredient.