As the world continues to change in the wake of the pandemic, supplements are more popular than ever. But how do consumers know that what they’re taking is safe, effective, and won’t have other negative consequences?
We’ve already looked at the benefits of third-party testing for supplements in a previous blog. This time, we’re looking at one specific certificate you should see on your supplements, especially if you’re an athlete.
Athletes and fitness professionals might be subject to drug tests from time to time to ensure they’re not consuming any banned substances that might give them an unfair advantage. The BSCG label proves the supplements are safe and won’t cause any positive drug test problems.
Let’s look a little deeper into what the BSCG label really means.
What Is BSCG Certification?
BSCG stands for Banned Substances Control Group, and the labels from this third-party testing company carry a lot of weight amongst athletes and other professionals. BSCG certification means that the supplements confirm to a particular set of standards. The label we recommend athletes look out for is the “BSCG Certified Drug Free®” label which confirms the supplements won’t contain even trace amounts of any banned substances.
What Are the Different BSCG Labels?
BSCG provides a few different levels of certification to make them suitable for a range of dietary and performance supplements. They even test supplements to ensure they are safe for animals, where required. The current programs include:
- BSCG Certified Drug Free®
- BSCG Certified CBD
- BSCG Certified Quality ™
- BSCG Certified GMP ™
BSCG works with over 70 brands across at least 60 countries worldwide. As of 2021, more than 500 individual products carry BSCG certification labels. BSCG certification is recognized by many authorities.
What Does Banned Substance Tested Mean?
When BSCG tests something for banned substances or other problematic ingredients, their gold standard labs get to work to ensure the supplement is safe and ready to be used by consumers.
The labs combine testing of finished products from supplement manufacturers with random “off the shelf” testing for maximum accuracy and transparency. Their process involves:
- Testing each product for over 490 drugs that could be problematic
- Random blind sampling of products
- High-standard quality control reviews
- Full toxicology reviews of every product
- Evaluation of the ingredient quality
- Listing certified products on the BSCG Certified Drug Free® database
BSCG can also test the raw materials themselves rather than the finished product. This means taking a step back down the manufacturing chain and further ensuring there is no chance of banned substances ending up in supplements made from these ingredients.
To maintain certification, ingredients under review must be tested every quarter, and just like with the supplements, random sampling takes place here too.
What Substances Does BSCG Test For?
The list of banned substances for athletes, police, military, firefighters, and more is expanded and amended constantly. Currently, as of 2021, BSCG tests supplements and their raw ingredients where required for:
- 276 substances currently banned in sporting events
- 220 drugs, including over the counter medication, prescription drugs, and even illicit drugs
- All drugs on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List
- 1,300 substances banned within animal sport (e.g., canine and equine events)
Compliance is the absolute top priority, so as more substances come to light or become problematic, BSCG adapts and updates to test for those as appropriate.
Why Athletes Should Look for BSCG Labels
A supplement ban can occur due to ingredients causing adverse effects. For example, the military has banned many supplements over health concerns, even though those supplements may be widely available. It’s the same for athletes – something that might be fine to take every day outside an athletic career might have just enough of a particular ingredient to cause a positive drug test, which can ruin an athlete’s prospects.
Supplements with banned substances for athletes are not unheard of, even at the highest levels of competition. Even former record holders have been caught “using” banned substances and claimed they had no idea, and it turned out it was supplements that were contaminated with chemicals that caused them to fail a drug test.
A doping violation can stay on an athlete’s record for many years, tarnishing their reputation and damaging their chances at greatness. Sadly, ignorance of the ingredients of supplements is not considered, so even if you had no idea your supplements contained a banned substance, you would still be held liable for breaking the rules.
Buying high-quality supplements with the BSCG Certified Drug Free ® stamp on them means you have the confidence that the supplements are completely banned substance-free. Revive AE is proud to be a Certified Drug Free ® client and supply a powerful range of supplements athletes can rely on.
When supplements are BSCG certified, it means the Banned Substances Control Group has assessed them and confirmed they are free of contamination from drugs or other substances that could cause health concerns or a positive drug test. Reputable supplements can carry the seal of the BCSG Certified Drug Free ® program to prove their quality and safety.