The undercover BBC NI Spotlight expose purchased six sports nutrition products from Northern Ireland retailers, sent them for testing and found all six to be contaminated with illegal anabolic steroids and the banned stimulant DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine/methylhexaneamine) that has been linked to several deaths.
The investigation found retailers were recommending mostly ‘pre-workout’ products targeting gym users they knew to contain prohibited substances like steroids that are classified as Class C drugs in the UK and therefore not permitted in food supplements.
One shop owner tells an undercover reporter "They're banned, but they work" in reference to a product called Strip Ts that contained DMAA.
The retailer says he has now removed the product from sale, while another wondered how a retailer was meant to know if products contained illegal substances or not.
Strip Ts 600 Platinum Edition (unknown manufacturer) was ‘out of stock’ with online retailers like Musclecharge visited today by NutraIngredients.
Metha-Quad Extreme ingredients and intake advice (official)
Methylstenbolone (2,17a-dimethyl-17b-hydroxy-5a-androst-1-en-3-one 10 mg) *
Dymethazine (2a,17a-dimethyl-5a androstan 17b-ol,3 3-azine 15 mg) *
Max LMG (13-ethyl-3 methoxy-gona-2,5(10)-dien-17-one 15 mg) *
Halodrol (4-chloro-17a-methyl-androst-1,4-diene-3b,17b-diol 25 mg) *
* US daily Value not established
Proprietary Blend 106mg: Grapefruit seed P.E 20:1 (citrus grandis L. osbeck), Niacinamide (Vlt B3)(125% of US daily value), Pyroxidine HCl (Vit B6)(1250%), Piperine 95% (fruit)(black pepper extract), Cyonocobalamin 1% (Vit B12)(83%).
Other Ingredients: Rice flour, Gelatin, FD&C Red #3, FD&C Yellow #6, Magnesium Stearate, Silicon Dioxide and Silica.
Directions: Take 1 to 2 capsules per day with food. Use in cycles of 4 weeks and take at least 4 weeks off in between cycles. Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) is highly recommended after completion of a cycle.
The product officially contained:
- Ephedrine: 40 mg
- Caffeine: 210 mg
- Aspirin: 50 mg
- Narnigin: 100 mg
- Dicalcium Phosphate: 55mg
Other products cited in the programme included Metha-Quad Extreme a ‘pro anabolic’ supplement manufactured by Blackstone Labs which is based in Baton Rouge, Florida. The product was launched in 2014 by Blackstone but subsequently withdrawn although it is still available at some online retailers.
The product advice stated users should take a break of at least four weeks after each four-week period of use.
Blackstone did not respond to queries at the time of publication.
Another Blackstone product called Ostapure was found to contain an unnamed, unauthorised substance that was still in the research phase.
A European Specialist Sports Nutrition Association (ESSNA) spokesperson said the firms cited in the programme “are not ESSNA members and have never had contact with ESSNA”. ESSNA counts about 50 sports nutrition suppliers, retailers and manufacturers as members.
The UK sports nutrition sector is estimated to be worth €475m.
Alleged steroid contamination of an energy drink was blamed in recent doping cases of Welsh track athletes Gareth Warburton and Rhys Williams.