Did Jessica Hardy’s Advocare Supplements Contain Clenbuterol?

Swimmer Jessica Hardy has withdrawn from the United States Olympic Team bound for the 2008 Beijing Olympics after testing positive for low levels of the long-acting beta-2 adrenergic agonist (LABA) clenbuterol. Hardy maintains that she never knowingly or unintentionally consumed clenbuterol or any other banned susbtance.

The question of why and how clenbuterol appeared in Jessica Hardy’s sample remains a mystery. Was Hardy simply caught doping? Or were the “dietary supplements” used by Hardy contaminated or spiked with the banned substance clenbuterol? The supplement company Advocare was cited as one of the brands of dietary supplements used by Jessica Hardy.

Intentional doping

Why would Jessica Hardy take clenbuterol when drugs with similar performance-enhancing effects were legally available to her and all other swimmers with therapeutic use exemptions for asthma medications?

The performance enhancing effects of clenbuterol are not significantly different from those of other beta-2 agonists like albuterol, formoterol, salbutamol, salmeterol and terbutaline that are used by other Olympic swimmers. Swimming phenom Dara Torres uses the two legal beta-2 agonists (LABAs) Proventil (albuterol) and Symbicort (formoterol) and seems to be doing pretty well. Why would Hardy use an illegal drug when the legal PEDs are just as good?

Accidental doping

The quality control problems of dietary supplements are well known. Over the past several years, several reports have revealed that a significant percentage of supplements were contaminated with steroidal ingredients and/or stimulants. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently identified 22 supplements sold over the counter that contain anabolic steroids. Last month, a British study found that 1 in 10 supplements contain ingredients banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). A brief review of these reports did not find any evidence of dietary supplements showing cross-contamination with clenbuterol.

Most sports nutrition supplement companies have an official or unofficial disclaimer stating that their products are not intended for athletes competing in organizations subject to anti-doping procedures. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education (DSHEA) permits several products that are not permitted by WADA and other professional sports organizations. As a result, most supplement companies created products for the mass market of fitness enthusiasts, recreational athletes and bodybuilders rather than create WADA/IOC approved supplements for an infinitesimally small number of elite athletes.

Jessica Hardy publicly acknowledged using several supplements from Advocare. In fact, she endorsed the Advocare product line. Advocare listed the products used by Hardy on the “Our Endorsers” page for Jessica Hardy (which has been removed in the past week but is still cached by Google).

 Rehydrate Electrolyte Replacement Drink
 Arginine Extreme
 AdvoCare® Muscle Fuel Pre-Workout Drink
 Muscle Gain’ Protein Shake
 Muscle Strength’
 Nighttime Recovery
 Post-Workout Recovery Sports Drink
 Amplify A.T.

Advocare is a multi-level marketing company who actively recruits professional athletes to endorse and use their products. As such, we would expect Advocare to spare no expense assuring drug-test athletes that their products contain no banned substances.

Unfortunately, Advocare ONLY obtained independent certification for ONE of the ten products used by Jessica Hardy (Advocare Muscle Fuel) by a leading supplement testing organization. The Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG) requires that each and every batch of Advocare Muscle Fuel is analyzed and certified to be free of more than 80 banned substances including clenbuterol. Failure to do so results in the immediate disqualification of the company from the BSCG program. Advocare advertises its current participation in the BSCG certification program on its website.

AdvoCare® has obtained independent certification of AdvoCare Muscle Fuel’ Pre-Workout Drink through the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG’). With this certification you can be assured that this revolutionary performance supplement is free of substances including anabolic agents and stimulants banned by major athletic associations. In addition to the power of the AdvoCare Scientific & Medical Advisory Board and the Sports Advisory Council, the BSCG certification brings confidence that Muscle Fuel not only works but it’s safe.

The Banned Substances Control Group uses a World Anti Doping Agency accredited laboratory to analyze dietary supplements for substances banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Football League (NFL), and other drug-tested sports leagues.

Is it possible that the Advocare supplements used by Jessica Hardy contained clenbuterol?

In the absence of independent, third-party certification of 9 of the 10 Advocare products used by Hardy, clenbuterol cross-contamination is possible although unlikely. Clenbuterol contamination of dietary supplements is not known to be a problem; also it seems extremely unlikely that a company recruiting so many elite athletes would intentionally spike their supplements with banned substances. So, there is a good chance that Advocare is being unfairly maligned with Jessica Hardy’s misfortunes.

Advocare has strongly denied implications that any of their products ever contained clenbuterol or have caused Jessica Hardy or any other athlete to test positive for a banned substance due to ingesting their supplements.

Contrary to any false and misleading reports, AdvoCare products contain no ingredients banned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) or the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which monitor Olympic and amateur sports, or by the NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, or NASCAR. AdvoCare is aware of recent information about AdvoCare and some of the company’s athletic endorsers in regard to our products and remains completely confident that all of our products contain only approved substances.

In the company’s 15-year history, AdvoCare products have never tested positive for banned substances of any kind with any of our athletic endorsers.

The good news is that there should be plenty of evidence (in the form of product lab anaylses) available in the foreseeable future that will fully exonerate either Jessica Hardy or Advocare.

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