The European sports supplements sector is not under-regulated the industry has said in an angry reaction to calls for greater controls after the death of a woman running the London marathon last year was linked to the now-vilified and mostly banned stimulant, DMAA.
“It could not be further from the truth that sports nutrition is ‘unregulated’,” said chair of the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA), Dr Adam Carey, who noted his group was angry at the accusations from various UK bodies including the chief executive of the London marathon, Nick Bitel.
“It is, in fact, governed by strict laws and regulations made in both the UK and Europe, including the Food Safety Act and the Medicines Act. Indeed, sports nutrition products are regulated in exactly the same way as all other food products for sale in the UK."
"Regulatory bodies, including the Food Standards Agency and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Agency (MHRA), backed up by trading standards officers around the country, keep a close eye on the industry, as the banning of DMAA itself demonstrated.”
“It is matter of existing law, and has been for decades, that all food products must be safe and appropriately labelled. ESSNA represents this responsible industry and all our members are required to sign statements that they will comply with existing regulations.”
For many years DMAA existed in a legal grey zone while global authorities determined whether or not it was derived from the geranium plant; whether or not it was dangerous; and whether it should be classified as a food supplement or medicine. In August last year, the MHRA joined many other countries and condemned it as a dangerous, illegal stimulant.
It has been linked to narrowing of the arteries, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, heart attacks, psychiatric disorders and cerebral haemorrhage.
30-year-old Claire Squires collapsed during the final mile of the 2012 London marathon. The coroner’s report said the tragic event was most likely triggered by Squires' consumption of a DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine/methylhexaneamine) supplement during the 42.2 kilometre race.
“Perhaps this tragic death highlights the need for tighter regulation of the supplements industry,” Bitel told us yesterday.
The MHRA reiterated its position on the substance and brand in question (USPlabs' Jack3D) in a statement following the coroner's report: "The MHRA took action to remove the unlicensed sport supplement Jack3D from the UK market in August 2012. These types of products may claim to increase performance but contain powerful ingredients which can have serious side-effects. We recommend that people only use approved products and speak to their doctor if they have any concerns about any supplements they may be taking."