Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, FSSAI and NFSU sign MoU for setting up the testing facility for dietary supplements -
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Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, FSSAI and NFSU sign MoU for setting up the testing facility for dietary supplements

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MoU will benefit athletes and athlete-support personnel by educating and spreading awareness about inadvertent doping due to prohibited substances present in nutritional supplements

Khel Today Bureau

New Delhi: Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the National Forensic Sciences University (NFSU) signed Memorandum of Understanding for setting up the testing facility for dietary supplements today in the presence of Smt. Sujata Chaturvedi, Secretary, Department of Sports, MYAS, Smt. Ritu Sain, Director General, NADA and other officers of the Ministry, FSSAI and NFSU.

The MoU was signed by Shri Vimal Anand, Director (Sports) MYAS, Smt. Sweety Behra, Director, FSSAI and Shri C.D. Jadeja, Executive Registrar, NFSU. This is one of the first definite steps in the direction of the Government’s initiative to achieve the goal for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. In the years to come, India is poised to become a regional leader for availability of such a testing facility.

Speaking on this important step taken today, Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports Shri Anurag Singh Thakur said, “This MoU will benefit athletes and athlete-support personnel by educating and spreading awareness about inadvertent doping due to prohibited substances present in nutritional supplements. This facility being established at NFSU will help the stakeholders, not only in the country but also in the entire region. This step in the direction of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ which is one of the cherished ideals of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi.” He also expressed confidence that the quest for excellence in sports at global level will be aided by today’s MoU.

It is an important step forward in implementing the recently enacted National Anti-Doping Act, 2022,  by Government of India. An important feature of this Act is the adoption of the best practices for nutritional supplements to save sportspersons from inadvertent doping.

Dietary supplements are substances used to add nutrients to the diet or to lower the risk of health problems. It includes vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, enzymes, amino acids, or other dietary ingredients. They come in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, gummies, and powders, as well as drinks and energy bars.

Supplements can also benefit athletes who need to gain weight or address a known nutrient deficiency. Some common supplements function as ergogenic aids that enhance energy production and recovery.

Nutritional supplements can contain unlabeled substances that are on the List of Prohibited Substances as published yearly by the World Anti‐Doping Agency. They are a potential source for unintentional doping violations, leading to severe sanctions for well‐intentioned elite athletes.

The prohibited list is extremely detailed and includes a wide variety of both medicinal and non-medicinal substances. Professional athletes are exposed to intense physical overload every day. They follow a relevant food regime and take specific dietary supplements, which is essential for better recovery between trainings and competitions. However, the use of “non-prohibited” dietary supplements is not always completely safe. One of the risks associated with the use of dietary supplements is the risk of unintended doping—originating from contaminated products. The presence of undeclared compounds in the composition of Dietary Supplements is a serious concern. As of now, no testing facility available in India for ensuring the absence of Prohibited Substance in the dietary supplements.

To overcome this shortcoming and to ensure quality Dietary Supplements for sportspersons, a major step has been taken today to create a testing facility at the National Forensic Science University, Ahmedabad, in collaboration with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). This MoU will help to achieve this objective.

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