New Analysis Mischaracterizes Sports Nutrition and Weight Management Supplements

MARCH 23, 2021

In response to a report published today in an online issue of Clinical Toxicology, “Nine prohibited stimulants found in sports and weight loss supplements,” the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, issued the following statement:

Statement by Steve Mister, president & CEO, CRN:

“This report continues to tell an unfortunate but unsurprising truth about the internet: If researchers, like Dr. Pieter Cohen, specifically look online for products labeled to contain an illegal ingredient, they are not only likely to find them but other illegal ingredients as well.

“The small collection of products identified in the March 23 report certainly does not represent the mainstream sports nutrition and weight management categories. The products identified in the analysis are not legal dietary supplements but illegal products that masquerade as supplements, hoping to evade detection. Legitimate dietary supplements in the sports nutrition and weight management categories—the ones most consumers would encounter in local stores or on mainstream shopping platforms—are safe, beneficial, and help consumers meet their fitness and weight goals. As with other dietary supplements, these products are meant to complement smart lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. 

“This report serves as a reminder for consumers that it matters where one purchases dietary supplements. The illegal products identified in the report come from unscrupulous online sellers, unlikely to be found on store shelves of reputable retailers or mainstream online platforms. CRN reminds consumers to seek products from nationally recognized brands or store brands from trusted retailers. Avoid products that promise extreme results, research companies and supporting science, and always talk to a healthcare practitioner for advice on responsible supplement use.

“CRN does agree with the report’s conclusion that stronger, more proactive enforcement action is needed to protect the public from adulterated products in the market. When illicit products are brought to the agency’s attention, FDA must act more quickly and decisively, both to establish a deterrent and to protect consumers. FDA lacks a system to efficiently track products that come to market, so CRN continues to advocate for a mandatory product listing as a solution. This would allow FDA to identify new products and act more quickly to remove illegal products from the market.

“In the meantime, regulators and consumers should visit CRN’s Supplement OWL (Online Wellness Library) to easily access important product and manufacturer information. This self-regulatory initiative serves as a model for mandatory product listing and showcases brands that choose to be accountable for their labels and ingredients. Consumers can also visit CRN’s website for tips and resources about purchasing dietary supplements.”

Note to Editor: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit Follow us on Twitter @CRN_Supplements and LinkedIn.