Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

FDA: Stop Selling Steroids in “Dietary Supplements” 

Athletes who are caught cheating for using illegal substances which are supposed to be performance-enhancing do not have the greatest track record for credibility. No dopes, for that matter, do. But when athletes claim that they have ingested these substances without their knowledge and against their consent, their claims must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Take mixed martial arts fighter Nathan Marquardt, who has recently begun fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and is also the current middleweight King of Pancrase in that organization based in Japan.

Marquardt made his UFC debut on Aug. 6, 2005, winning a three-round unanimous decision victory over Ivan Salaverry in Las Vegas in an outcome some considered to be an upset. After the fight, however, Marquardt tested positive the anabolic steroid nandrolone, and was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

At a commission hearing in January, according to an article by Kevin Iole in the Jan. 7, 2006, Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Marquardt said he bought an over-the-counter supplement at a Max Muscle store that, much to his eventual chagrin, caused the positive test."

Marquardt subsequently had his suspension lifted, and returned to fight in the UFC on March 4 to win another three-round unanimous decision, this time over Joe Doerksen.

Now more evidence has emerged that the problem of many of these otherwise legal over-the-counter “dietary supplements” being laced with illegal substances like steroids is widespread. This past week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had sent out letters to a number of manufacturers and distributors of these products.

In a press release, the FDA warned those who make or sell these “unapproved drugs containing steroids that continued distribution and sale of these products without FDA approval could result in regulatory action including seizure and injunction.”

Of course, this has become an increasingly growing problem since 1994, when the U.S. Congress passed the Dietary Supplements and Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), which basically deregulated this racket. Not surprisingly, as pointed out in a series on this industry in the July 15, 2001, edition of the New York Daily News, politicians of both supposedly feuding major political parties have accepted large contributions from these outfits.

According to the watchdog group the Center for Responsive Politics, since 1990 this industry has made $5,920,013 in campaign contributions to politicians, giving 69 percent to Democrats and 31 percent to Republicans. Of this amount, $4,230,569 was soft money, that is, contributions made via legal loopholes so that they are not regulated under federal election laws.

With so many politicians on this legal dole from this sleazy industry, it is not surprising that some honest athletes are getting caught in the middle of what should be a major and shameful national scandal.

Here is the FDA press release cited above:

March 9, 2006

FDA Warns Manufacturers About Illegal Steroid Products Sold as Dietary Supplements

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today warned several manufacturers and distributors of unapproved drugs containing steroids that continued distribution and sale of these products without FDA approval could result in regulatory action including seizure and injunction. FDA is concerned that the use of these products, which are marketed as dietary supplements and promoted for building muscle and increasing strength, may cause serious long-term adverse health consequences in men, women, and children. These products claim to be anabolic and problems associated with anabolic steroids include: liver toxicity, testicular atrophy and male infertility, masculinization of women, breast enlargement in males, short stature in children, adverse effects on blood lipid levels, and a potential to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

"FDA takes its responsibility to protect Americans from dangerous unapproved drugs seriously. Today's action is indicative of our resolve," said Margaret O'K. Glavin, FDA's Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs.

Consumers who have any of the products listed below should stop taking them and return them to their place of purchase. FDA issued warning letters for the following so-called dietary supplement products:

· Anabolic Xtreme Superdrol, manufactured for Anabolic Resources LLC, Gilbert, Arizona, and distributed by Supplements To Go, Cincinnati, Ohio

· Methyl-1-P, manufactured for Legal Gear, Brighton, MI and distributed by Affordable Supplements, Wichita, Kansas

These warning letters are part of FDA's continued efforts to protect consumers from dangerous steroid products. In March 2004, FDA sent warning letters to 23 manufacturers and distributors of products containing androstenedione.

Warning Letters:

Affordable Supplements

Anabolic Resources LLC

Legal Gear

Supplementstogo.com, LLC

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