The market of dietary supplements (DS) and sports nutrition is very complex. There are many opinions about the usefulness and effect of food supplements. Cologne List® has no expertise in this discussion and does not comment on it.
Our concern is to protect athletes from involuntary doping offenses caused by food supplements and sports nutrition. And for this, first of all, education is necessary.
What you should know about DS:
1. Dietary supplements are food. They only have to be displayed. This means that manufacturers only have to indicate the product name, their contact details and the sample label in an online form of the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) as well as an assignment whether the product is new or has been changed. The process is indicated with about 15 minutes. After that, the product is "indicated", everything else is the self-responsibility of the suppliers.
2. In contrast to medical drugs, DS are
a) no prior proof of efficacy or safety to an authority is required,
b) a deviation of the quantities indicated on the packaging of up to 50 percent from the
actual quantity is possible,
c) no maximum quantity for ingredients specified (except for technological additives).
3. From 2018 to 2020, 34.318 new DS, without modified products, were notified in Germany. We do not know how many products of these eventually end up on the market, but it is just the number without already existing products, without products that enter the market without notification and without Dss that are purchased from other EU countries, e.g. via online stores.
4. The distinction between DS and sports nutrition is difficult. Just enter sports nutrition and sports food in a search engine and you will find many DS. Therefore, Cologne List® refers to DS and sports nutrition.
Conclusion: There is a large amount of non-controlled DS and the growth of new products is huge. The very easy access to the market without mandatory controls is the significant reason for an increased doping risk when taking DS and sports nutrition. Of course, this does not mean that there are not also many reputable suppliers of supplements and sports nutrition, but how can they be recognized?
Market segmentation by Cologne List®
Basically, there are three types of manufacturers:
a) "Criminal manufacturers" who deliberately add doping substances.
These manufacturers do this because the doping substances have an effect and the demand is constantly increasing via word-of-mouth recommendations. These manufacturers only target recreational athletes. Test pool athletes are a risk because a positive doping test is the greatest danger of destroying their criminal business model. Accordingly, they avoid test pool athletes widely. However, the risk of taking such a product through the "well-intentioned" recommendation of friends or acquaintances still exists.
Criminal manufacturers have no interest in Cologne List®, as this significantly increases their risk of being discovered.
b) "Risky manufacturers" who unknowingly add doping substances.
These manufacturers are mostly unaware of the WADA Prohibited List and WADA Monitoring List. Often, banned substances are already listed on the packaging. We also count manufacturers who aggressively use novel substances whose doping relevance has not yet been scientifically investigated or is unclear among the risky manufacturers. A current example of this are cannabidiol products, which, contrary to the manufacturers' assurances, do indeed represent a doping risk according to initial studies. Risky manufacturers actively approach test pool athletes because they are not aware of any risk. Risky manufacturers do not appear on Cologne List®.
c) "Regular manufacturers" who produce mindfully.
These manufacturers can be large companies as well as small businesses. What unites them is mindful production to the best of their knowledge. However, doping contamination due to impure raw materials or impurities in the manufacturing process occurs from time to time, even among these manufacturers. Regular manufacturers are published on Cologne List® after passing the quality management process.
Conclusion: There are criminal, risky and regular suppliers in the market.
Only regular suppliers are published on Cologne List®. These manufacturers are voluntarily on Cologne List® to increase your safety and to provide more transparency in the market.
The unfulfillable wish - 100 % security
Of course it would be great if Cologne List® could give 100 % security - for you and for us. However, this is not possible for procedural reasons unfortunately.
To illustrate: If you want to be sure that a piece of meat does not contain clenbuterol (doping substance), you would have to analyze every fiber of the meat. But if you analyze every fiber, there is no meat left. The situation is similar in the field of DS-analysis. Only one sample from a so-called batch (production unit) can be analyzed at a time. However, as with meat, the sample does not guarantee the entire batch. In addition, it is not possible to analyze the entire spectrum of doping substances when testing DSs, as the analytical procedures for this are lacking. For important, relevant substances (anabolic steroids and stimulants), special procedures are being developed that make analyses possible. For these reasons, sample and spectrum, a 100 % certainty cannot be presented seriously, but the risk is nevertheless significantly reduced. For estimation: Since 2006 there has not been a positive doping case by a product of Cologne List®. However, the best protection, from the point of view of doping prevention, is and remains the avoidance of food supplements. Possibly there is an approach for you here in consultation with your nutritionist or doctor.
Otherwise, the following applies: If you use food supplements, then use Cologne List®.
Service for test pool athletes
Especially for test pool athletes, an additional consultation with a nutritionist or physician is recommended before taking a DS. Test pool athletes should also try to obtain products from tested batches. This is where the new availability service of Cologne List® can help.
Cologne List® is an integral part of GEMEINSAM GEGEN DOPING. The national doping prevention network on the initiative of the Prevention Department of the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) includes, among others, all top Olympic federations, all state sports federations and associations as well as professional associations and clubs. For this reason, Cologne List® is also integrated as a mobile app in the NADA APP (NADA APP IOS / NADA APP Android).
In the meantime, Cologne List® has also been published as a stand-alone mobile app:
Important: The publication of a product on Cologne List® does not mean that a product is basically free of doping substances. It only means that the doping risk is significantly minimized. The assessment of the doping risk always lies with the athlete him/herself.
It should be expressly noted that Cologne List® does not include any recommendation to athletes to use a dietary supplement or sports nutrition. Our interest lies exclusively in the area of education.
Therefore, we cannot provide information on products that are not published on Cologne List®.