Dietary supplements and drug testing

OPSS has received a number of questions about whether dietary supplements—especially those used for bodybuilding and weight loss—could result in a positive result on military drug tests.

Military drug testing begins with urine, which is first screened and then followed by additional tests depending on the outcome of the screen. You can get extensive information about DoD’s drug policy and drug testing from the Drug Demand Reduction Program (DDRP), including military testing. And for answers about the potential effects of specific dietary supplements on drug screening tests, you can contact your service’s military drug-testing laboratory by phone or email (list below).

Positive urinalysis results due to dietary supplement use can occur because products on the market may contain undeclared drug ingredients—that is, controlled substances that are not stated/ listed on the product label.

More information can be found in the FDA Consumer Update. There you will also find information about how to get updates about products FDA has identified as tainted. There is no way to know if a particular supplement contains an undeclared drug without laboratory testing, but FDA does keep track of such  products once identified through its MedWatch program.

Excess workout, steroids leading to infertility among men

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A combination of intense workout, which has become a daily trend for many men, along with consumption of steroids is becoming a rising cause of infertility, according to IVF experts.

Long-term exhaustive exercises decreases sperm count and one’s potential for reproduction, said IVF experts.

 Another factor contributing to infertility was the consumption of steroids for body building which was causing zoospermia – a condition in which sperm does not generate in semen.

Recent studies have said some 1 per cent of the Indian males is affected by zoospermia.

“In males, heavy training sessions can reduce the sperm count in the body that is directly related to the fertility of a man. There are many who have been following long-term training sessions in order to maintain the body. If one is into exhaustive training sessions, there are chances that they might have less sperm count compared to a man who has been following normal training sessions,” said Arvind Vaid, an IVF expert at the city-based Indira IVF Hospital.

Rekha Goswami, a city-based independent IVF expert, who previously worked with the AIIMS, said though heavy workout causes infertility problems in the long run, what is of immediate concern was consumption of steroids without medical advice.

Are testosterone booster dietary supplement products safe and effective?

Testosterone booster dietary supplement products claim to increase the male sex hormone testosterone, which affects muscle strength, endurance, and male sexual performance. There is insufficient evidence to support the claims for the many “natural ingredients” on the market. These ingredients include Tribulus terrestrisEurycoma longifolia (Tongkat Ali or Longjack), Urtica dioica (stinging nettle), fenugreek, Mucuna pruriens (cowhage), D-aspartic acid, Bulbine natalensis, Saw palmetto, Epimedium grandiflorum (horny goat weed), diindolylmethane (DIM), maca, and a wide range of botanical extracts, plant steroids, and flavones.

Some testosterone booster dietary supplements actually contain drugs that increase natural testosterone production in various ways. Undeclared drugs, anabolic steroidsSARMs, aromatase inhibitors, and other potentially problematic ingredients have been found in such products, but none of these drugs are allowed in dietary supplements. Both types—those with permitted ingredients and those adulterated with drugs—fall in the class of high-risk dietary supplements.

Three sent to prison for illegal steroid sales in Nebraska and Iowa

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An investigation into sales of illegal steroids in Nebraska and Iowa covered three years and took authorities from China to Omaha to Iowa, a Drug Enforcement Agency official said.

The probe resulted in federal prison sentences for Jeffrey B. Lackas of Bettendorf, Iowa; Stanley Szeto of Iowa City; and Daniel Cruz-Bonilla of Fontana, California.

Lackas, 31, was sentenced in July to three years and 10 months of incarceration; Szeto, 39, received a sentence of two years and a month; and Cruz-Bonilla, 30, was ordered to serve three years and five months.

The three men were members of a drug trafficking organization that distributed steroids and human-growth hormone across the United States, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

“The conspirators offered steroids, human growth hormone and certain pharmaceuticals over the Internet,” said Darin T. Thimmesch, the assistant special agent in charge of the DEA’s Omaha office. “(Steroids were) sold to both users and drug dealers across the United States, including recipients in Nebraska, near Omaha, and in Iowa.”

The drug traffickers imported raw steroids from China, Thimmesch said. They brewed and bottled them in Iowa, sold them via the Internet and shipped them all over the U.S. under the name Brinkkmann Pharma.

The investigation determined that from 2011 to 2014, the conspirators collected at least $459,352 in drug payments from more than 200 U.S.-based customers. The actual sales could be much higher.

The conspirators brewed steroids in the Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa, areas as well as in Iowa City, Thimmesch said. They bottled the drugs at a member’s home.

Omaha World Herald, 8/14/2017

New Online Courses on APEDS, Mental Training Available through NFHS Learning Center

New online education courses on “Mental Training for Performance” and “Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs and Substances” are now available through the NFHS Learning Center at  

The “Mental Training for Performance” course, which was developed in partnership with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), provides an introduction to fundamental mental skill techniques developed by USOC sport psychologists and designed to sharpen athletes’ mental games to impact performance and gain a competitive edge.

Key areas of the course, which is available for $30 through the NFHS Learning Center, include goal-setting, self-talk and energy management. The course also includes bonus resources like self-talk and energy management skills that coaches can take back to their players. Other resources illustrate a goal-setting pyramid along with energy balance and gauging. The course continues the USOC’s commitment to providing the support and training services that athletes need to excel and realize their full potential.

“The USOC continues to work with America’s elite athletes and coaches to identify key gaps in training across all sports, specifically in the area of mental training and skill development,” said Chris Synder, USOC director of coaching education. “This course is designed to provide coaches with effective methods of identifying and delivering key mental skills to athletes in a way that complements their coaching.”

The “Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs and Substances” course, which is available for free through the NFHS Learning Center, was created in partnership with the Taylor Hooton Foundation, a non-profit organization that is widely recognized as the national leader on this topic. The foundation is leading a national campaign to educate youth and their adult influencers about the dangers of Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs and Substances (APEDS).

Highlights of the online course include an explanation of APEDS, what forms they take and their effects on students, as well as reasons why students use APEDS – both in and out of athletic competition. Guidance and resources for detecting and preventing APEDS use are also discussed in the course.

“We are thoroughly excited about the introduction of the new NFHS course on APEDS,” said Don Hooton, founder and executive chairman of the Taylor Hooton Foundation. “Our youth are turning to these drugs in record numbers, and this usage is on the increase driven by their desire to compete socially as well as in athletics. The NFHS team has the ability to reach more youth leaders than almost any other organization in the country. We are happy to have the opportunity to work with the NFHS in developing this important new course that will provide coaches and athletic directors with tools that they can use to affect youth behavior in a positive way.”  

“We are thrilled to be able to expand our course offerings and offer additional opportunities for the interscholastic community to become involved in professional development,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services. “We appreciate the contributions of the United States Olympic Committee and the Taylor Hooton Foundation for making these courses available on, as we believe these courses will have a positive impact.”

After starting with two courses – Fundamentals of Coaching and First Aid for Coaches – in 2007 through the NFHS Coach Education Program, the NFHS Learning Center now offers 53 online courses – including more than 20 of which are free – and has expanded its reach to contest officials, students, administrators and music adjudicators. Since the launch of in 2007, the NFHS has delivered more than 4½ million courses. 

Diet of protein shakes and supplements contributed to female bodybuilder’s death

Ms Hefford’s mother says protein supplements need to be regulated better.

Meegan Hefford, a mother of two and bodybuilder, died after an overconsumption of protein shakes, supplements and protein-rich foods.

Hefford was found unconscious in her apartment in West Australia and was quickly transported to the hospital, where she was declared brain-dead. She passed away two days later.

Hefford, who had been competing as a bodybuilder since 2014, was also ramping up her gym routine in the weeks before her death. The 25-year-old mom and paramedic trainee had put herself on a special restricted diet while she was preparing for a bodybuilding competition in September.

Upon her death, doctors discovered Hefford had been living with a rare disorder — urea cycle disorder — which stops the body from being able to break down protein. The disorder can lead to fatal levels of ammonia in the bloodstream and excessive fluid on the brain.

Her final cause of death was ruled an “intake of bodybuilding supplements” in addition to the undiagnosed illness, reported Perth Now.

Hefford’s mom, Michelle White, told the site that she warned her daughter to take it easy. “I said to her, ‘I think you’re doing too much at the gym, calm down, slow it down.’”

Hefford had started going to the gym twice a day to exercise, which her mom thought was the reason for the lethargy and fatigue that Meegan had complained about. White says she didn’t even know her daughter was using protein shakes or supplements until after Hefford’s death, when she discovered half a dozen containers of protein shakes in her daughter’s kitchen. White believes the supplements and shakes were purchased online where there are not enough restrictions, which she wants to end.

“I know there are people other than Meegan who have ended up in hospital because they’ve overloaded on supplements,” White told Perth Now. “The sale of these products needs to be more regulated.”

Should I take dietary supplements while pregnant?

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Women who are pregnant or childbearing age need more folate (“folic acid”), iron, and iodine. Experts recommend a prenatal multivitamin supplement to make sure you get enough essential nutrients. TRICARE covers prescription prenatal vitamins but not cover over-the-counter ones.

Folic acid can prevent certain birth defects, but many of these can begin before you even know you’re pregnant. A diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fortified grains provides folic acid, but if you’re childbearing age, you should take a supplement with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily. If you’re already pregnant, you need a supplement with 600 mcg daily. Military Health System policy encourages active-duty servicewomen to consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains plus a folic acid supplement.

Iron helps your body supply blood and oxygen to your baby. Red meat, beans, lentils, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach are natural sources of iron, but many foods (such as breakfast cereal) are fortified with iron. Look for a prenatal multivitamin that includes iron.

Iodine is important for the development of your baby’s brain. Be sure your prenatal vitamin includes iodine. Women who are vegan or don’t eat fish or dairy—two sources of iodine—may be at higher risk of iodine deficiency.

Dietary supplements can carry significant risks to you and your baby because they aren’t tested or approved by the Federal Drug Administration prior to market. The wise choice is not to take any dietary supplements not approved by your doctor.


Best-Selling Author and Renowned Motivational Speaker Brings Invaluable Experiences to Assist in the Foundation’s Advocacy Against Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drug Use

McKinney, Texas (date) – The Taylor Hooton Foundation announced today that Brian Cuban, author of two best-selling books and highly-sought-after public speaker, has joined its Board of Directors. The Taylor Hooton Foundation is widely acknowledged as the leader in the advocacy against appearance and performance enhancing drug use by the youth of America.

“We are very pleased to have Brian join our distinguished Board of Directors and look forward to working with him to help further our message across the U.S., Canada and Latin America,” said Taylor Hooton Foundation President Donald Hooton Jr.. “For years, Brian has been an advocate against the abuse of anabolic steroids. He understands that there is a need for education and awareness for those who aren’t interested in participating in athletics, but are seeking to improve their appearance and feel better about themselves. His experience with drug prevention and spreading awareness is going to help us impact more young lives and lives of their adult influencers”

Mr. Cuban has spoken at colleges and universities across the United States and in Canada, sharing his first-hand experiences about living with, and recovering from, clinical depression, eating disorders, drug addiction and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). He has keynoted prestigious events such the Entertainment Industries Council Third Annual Media and Mental Health Awards and has appeared on national talk shows such as The Katie Couric Show to discuss the above issues. Mr. Cuban also writes extensively on these subjects with his columns appearing on, and The Huffington Post and in online and print newspapers around the world.

 “Having personally experienced the damage that steroid addiction can inflict for no other reason than to feel better about myself and fit in, I am thrilled to be part of the Taylor Hooton Foundation mission to educate our youth.” Said Taylor Hooton Foundation’s newest Board Member.

To date, the Taylor Hooton Foundation has spoken to and educated more than one-million people across the U.S., Canada and Latin America thanks to their many supporters including their primary sponsor Major League Baseball. Additionally, the THF has put together an Advisory Board that consists of 40 of the best Major League Baseball players, including at least one representative from each of the 30 teams, who have stepped forward to be role models to help enlighten people to the truth about appearance and performance enhancing substances.

8th Annual Yankees Fundraiser for THF

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Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman will assist the Taylor Hooton Foundation in its crusade against steroid abuse at the Eighth Annual “Give-A-Hoot” Benefit – presented by First Choice Bank – at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, August 27, when the Yankees host the Seattle Mariners.

Cashman, the first GM to win four World Series titles since the Dodgers’ Buzzie Bavasi in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, will participate in an exclusive pregame question-and-answer session with guests.

Yankee legend Graig Nettles, a member of four pennant-winning Yankee teams and the 1976 A.L. home run champion, will watch the game with guests of the event in a Stadium Party Suite. After the game, the Yankees’ All-Star outfielder Brett Gardner will visit to sign autographs and pose for photos.

The event will also feature a raffle of baseball memorabilia, including signed bats, balls, photos and equipment of stars – past and present – such as Don Mattingly, Noah Syndergaard, Andy Pettitte, Reggie Jackson and members of the 1977 World Champion Yankees.

Don Hooton, whose 17-year-old son Taylor took his own life in 2003 as a result of the use of anabolic steroids, formed the Taylor Hooton Foundation and will host the benefit. The fundraiser will get underway at 12:00 noon at the Stadium. Game time for Yankees-Mariners is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.


For information, sponsorships and tickets, call (214) 814-1179 or visit


Individual tickets are priced at $499.00 and include a suite ticket to the game; lunch and refreshments, including beer and wine; meet-and-greets with Nettles and Gardner; Q & A with Cashman; and a Yankee-themed gift bag.


There are a wide variety of sponsorship and ticket packages available.

Book Review: Suicide Squeeze

Book Review:  by Leaderature

Official Title – Suicide Squeeze: Taylor Hooton, Rob Garibaldi, and the Fight against Teenage Steroid Abuse

Genre – Non-Fiction

Book Length – ​254 pages

Reading Time – ​6.5 hours

Style/ Plot – ​When I picked this book up, I initially thought it was just about baseball.

It is about baseball and the use of banned substances aka doping or juicing. Especially the use of Appearance and Performance Enhancing drugs (APEDs). The kids that fall prey to the dangers of doping all in the bid to “fit in” or get drafted.

In particular, it tells the stories of Taylor Hooton and Rob Garibaldi. Kids who loved baseball and made a lapse in judgement by doping.

These were really good kids who made a mistake and paid for it with their lives. After trying to stop using these drugs, the withdrawal symptoms had many side effects that ended up with the 2 boys committing suicide.

Favourite Quote – “Suicide attempts related to steroid withdrawal are more common than most people suspect.

Recommendation – ​William educates the reader about the dangers of steroid abuse among teenagers especially those involved in Sports. ​It humanises this issues by telling the deeply sad stories of Taylor and Rob, how parents can detect the symptoms/ warning signs and how this can be prevented in the first place.

Rating – 4/5