by Lee DeGraw
The Winter Olympics may be over, but I’m still feeling the excitement and buzz that comes along with watching the world’s top athletes compete for the gold. With every flip attempted, axel landed, and jump tackled, it’s evident that these athletes have a lot riding on their ability to remain healthy and at peak performance.
You may not be an aspiring Olympian yourself, but maybe you’re an “everyday athlete.” If so, then whether you play, run, lift, climb, race, bike, ski, swim, or surf, you’re serious about staying healthy and performing at your best.
Increasing endurance, recovery time, and overall fitness are things that many athletes (and coaches) spend a lot of time thinking about. There are plenty of sports supplements out there that promise quick results, but too many aren’t considered safe, or even effective. As an athlete (or the parent of a young athlete), you should know what to look for—and what to expect—from nutritional sports supplements.
What’s Considered Safe?
First, the reality check: Getting faster, stronger, and better is often the goal, but achieving these goals takes work, and there are no shortcuts. While certain drugs marketed as sports supplements can seem to fast-track athletes in search of peak performance, the harmful effects of these stimulants do far more damage to the body than good.
The National Institutes of Health lists ingredients commonly found in sports supplements with educational consumer information on each. Still, many non-professional athletes continue to use supplements with questionable ingredients. An analysis of over-the-counter sports supplements purchased in the U.S. revealed that 25% were contaminated with anabolic steroids, and 11% were contaminated with stimulants.
Using nutritional supplements with clean ingredients verified by third-party testing can help boost energy levels, as well as support healthy immunity and endurance.* But it can still be difficult to know which products to trust, and which ones to avoid. That’s where organizations like The Taylor Hooton Foundation come in.
This nonprofit was established in 2004 in memory of Taylor Hooton, a 17-year old high school athlete who, tragically, committed suicide after using anabolic steroids. After learning about the growing number of young people taking dangerous performance-enhancers and the lack of education surrounding the topic, the Hooton Foundation began a program to educate students and their parents about safe supplementing. Nordic Naturals supports the Hooton Foundation, sponsoring informational “chalk talks” with college and high school students about safe supplementing. Among other recommendations, the Hooton Foundation counsels young athletes to look for products that carry the NSF Certified for Sport logo. (And yes, there’s even an app for that!)
NSF Certified for Sport
To meet the many needs of competitive athletes and coaches and curb the growing concern of banned substances in professional sports, NSF International created the Certified for Sport program The strict certification guidelines set forth by NSF ensure that all participating nutritional products are free of banned substances or their metabolites. There are numerous quality components of the Certified for Sport® certification program, which verifies that:
- Products do not contain any of approximately 270+ substances banned by major athletic organizations.
- The contents of the supplement actually match what is printed on the label.
- There are no unsafe levels of contaminants in the tested products.
- The product is manufactured at a facility that is GMP registered and audited twice annually for quality and safety by NSF International.
Nordic Naturals introduced its NSF Certified for Sport product line to give professional athletes a way to guarantee the safest, purest, and most effective nutrients for fitness and recovery. Organizations such as the Women’s U.S. Hockey Team (gold medal winners in the recent Winter Olympics), the National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer, and many NCAA sports organizations regularly use Nordic Naturals NSF Certified products, as do the U.S. Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, and Marine Corps Special Ops.
As the first fish oil brand worldwide to be included in the rigorous testing required for NSF certification, Nordic Naturals has a deep commitment to providing the safest, freshest, and purest possible products. Although the sport line was formulated with professional athletes, collegiate teams, major league baseball players, and elite military in mind, each product is also perfectly suited for the everyday athletes among us.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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