How nutritional/dietary supplements can cause failed drug tests

Published: Nov. 1, 2019 at 5:33 PM EDT
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The performance-enhancing drugs that ended the career of Michigan State football star, Joe Bachie, aren't necessarily illegal.

Because of a lack of regulation, some over-the-counter dietary supplements may cause a positive drug test.

The news of Joe Bachie's failed drug test is now spreading around MSU's campus like wildfire, and local gyms are discussing the complexity and risks of performance-enhancing drugs.

"People think 'okay, if someone is gonna take a performance-enhancing drug they are going to all of a sudden look like Arnold Schwarzenegger,' but that's not how it works," said Steve Zavori, the general manager of Powerhouse Gym. "Athletes might take testosterone to heal an ACL tear or heal a pulled muscle faster. "It's not all about getting huge."

NCAA bans anabolic agents like testosterone, stimulants,diuretics, growth hormones and anti-estrogens to not only ensure fair play, but also to protect the health of college athletes.

"Some of the risks are the overall health risks like anything from your heart to liver," said Justin Grinnell, the owner of State of Fitness.

But even an over-the-counter nutritional and dietary supplements could cause a positive result in a NCAA drug test.

"The FDA doesn't regulate any supplements, so anything you buy from health store, branch chain amino acids, protein, it's really not regulated," said Christina Horford, a personal trainer. "When you try to go through an ingredient list it's hard to go through because you don't know what a lot of it is, so you can get yourself in trouble without even realizing it."

That's why the NCAA warns against dietary supplements saying many supplements are contaminated with banned drugs because they are not listed on the label.

"I tell people to be really choosy with what you are getting and ask yourself, do they have an NSF certification? Otherwise it could be contaminated and be mixed with banned drugs," said Grinnell.

What Bachie took has not been released.

In October, CMU's quarterback David Moore was suspended after failing a drug test. Both Moore and the university is saying Moore's use of an over-the- counter supplement as likely the cause of the result.

CMU has since appealed.

If the ruling is not overturned on appeal, Bachie's college career is over since he's a senior and set to graduate in December.

The Spartans have a bye this week but will host Illinois a week from Saturday.

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