The world of supplementation can be a very dangerous place for athletes of all ages. Supplements, as you may know, are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and this alone poses a threat to all who wish to remain free of banned substances. The NCAA along with numerous other national organizations such as USATF, have categorized numerous supplements as performance enhancement drugs. Taking any of these PED’s can lead to ineligibility and/or suspension from the sport. The issue lies in determining what is exactly in the supplements that you choose to consume. Many supplements will label their ingredients list as a “proprietary blend,” which means, we aren’t required, therefore we aren’t telling you what’s inside. This means that supplement companies can put performance enhancement drugs in their product to assure it works without informing you, or they could put dirt in their product and make money from placebos. Either of these predicaments may occur if you are uneducated on the product that are taking. The list of banned substances is categorized into 7 groups. Stimulants, anabolic agents, beta blockers, diuretics (water pills), street drugs, peptide hormones, anti-estrogens, and beta 2 agonists are all banned substances for athletes. These categories cover an array of supplements that can be found at your local GNC or on the internet. Before taking any supplements, you should be sure it’s free of all banned ingredients. Doing proper research is crucial to assuring you are remaining clean. There are some organizations that aim to help athletes choose clean supplements without risk. These organizations include Informed-Choice and NFS international. These organizations certify supplements as free of banned substances and safe to take and compete. All supplements that are approved by either company, will display their approval stamp on the label of the supplement. To assure they remain clean, athletes should only take supplements that are cleared by a nationally recognized organization. There are apps available on the iOS and Android market, that allow users to scan the barcode of a supplement and determine if it’s safe or not. A couple examples of these apps include, NSF Sport and AegisShield. The apps will wave red flags for unapproved supplements and clear those that have been properly tested and accepted. Being aware of what you put into your body is very important. We all would like to increase our game and have an edge on our opponents, but supplementation is a very risky field. If you are unsure about something you are or have been taking, do some research and consider stopping until you are sure. If you are considering taking something, be mindful of the information stated above. To assure the authenticity of sport and the fairness of game, let’s pledge to be banned-substance free.