Banned Supplements in Rugby


When you play certain sports, like rugby, there are specific supplements that you are banned from taking. These are determined by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and you can get a copy of The Prohibited List for 2015 from the U.K. Anti-Doping Website.

This list is 10 pages in length, but here are the basics to consider:

  • Anabolic steroids, various hormones (like human growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor), Beta-2 agonists, hormone and metabolic modulators, diuretics and masking agents are prohibited at all times.
  • Prohibited methods include manipulation of blood and blood components, chemical and physical manipulation, and gene doping.
  • If you are in competition, you are banned from taking a number of stimulants (such as amphetamines, ephedra, and cocaine), narcotics (like morphine, methadone, and oxycodone), cannabinoids, and glucocorticoids.

While this seems pretty black and white, the Rugby Football League (RFL) warns that dealing with supplements isn’t always this easy. To help you understand why, they point out that approximately one-quarter of all supplements contain at least a small amount of a prohibited substance, which means that you may be putting yourself at risk of being benched even though you didn’t intentionally take a banned supplement.

Additionally, if a supplement says that it is “WADA approved,” that doesn’t guarantee that it is safe for you to take. That is why the RFL recommends that you avoid a number of supplements all together whenever possible, saving yourself from any potential issues that could result from a positive test result.

As an extra safety precaution, you may even decide to get your supplements lab tested to ensure that they don’t contain any of the unapproved substances. However, the RFL warns that this isn’t a guarantee that they are okay to take.

So, if you play rugby and are considering supplements to help you get the nutrients you need, they recommend that you first consult with a dietician or registered nutritionist. A doctor of sports medicine may be able to provide the information as well.

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