Next Level Podcast with Host Tavis Piattoly, MS, RD, LD

Paul Klinger- Podcast

Paul Klinger
Serves as the Business Development Manager for HFL Sport Science and Manages the Informed-Choice supplement certification program.

In this episode of the Next Level Podcast, Tavis Piattoly talks with Paul Klinger about whether dietary supplements are regulated, and which supplements are safe for athletes to consume. Learn about the Informed Choice Certification program, the Informed Choice dietary supplement list, the benefits of using a product with the 3rd party testing seal, and more from the Business Development Manager for HFL Sport Science, Paul Klinger.

HFL Sports Science

Paul Klinger serves as the Business Development Manager for HFL Sport Science and Manages the Informed-Choice supplement certification program. Paul has worked for HFL Sport Science since 2008 and works closely as a liaison between supplement companies, manufacturers and the sport community to ensure the products they are providing to athletes are safe for them to use.

Podcast Notes

  1. The Informed Choice Certification program and the type of work that they do.
  2. The benefits of using a product with the 3rd party testing seal, especially from Informed Choice?
  3. Does testing a product guarantee an athlete will not test positive for a banned substance?
  4. What are the reasons athletes are testing positive for a banned substance by taking a supplement that is commonly found over-the-counter.
  5. A review of products randomly evaluated for banned substances.
  6. The reasons more companies are paying for 3rd party certification programs.
  7. A list of some companies that are certified through Informed Choice.
  8. If there is anything different from Informed Choice from other 3rd party certifying agencies?
  9. What should young athletes and parents be looking out for or asking when they go to a supplement store as it seems not all of the products tested today indicate that on the label.

To learn more about how to get your products tested through Informed Choice (United States) or HFL Sport Science (UK), please visit www.informed-choice.org

Podcast Transcript

0:00 Tavis Piattoly Introduction

3:35 The Informed Choice Certification program and the type of work that they do.

  • Informed Choice is a quality assurance program for supplement companies, manufacturers, raw material, and suppliers.
  • Informed Choice works with these companies to make sure that their products are made in manufacturing facilities that meet high quality standards and that the products are regularly tested for banned substances.
  • For a company to certify a product they go through an extensive manufacturing audit and testing protocol, which includes testing for banned substances, registration into the audit program, and regular testing throughout the year with blind sample testing to make sure that the products that are sold at retail are safe for athletes to use. At this point, they can use the logo on their products. 

4:50 The benefits of using a product with the 3rd party testing seal, especially from Informed Choice?

  • Consumers know that any products carrying this logo are going through this program and have a higher level of quality assurance.
  • Those products are also listed on the Informed Choice website with the batch number, so when athletes look at the product, they can see what batches have been tested.

5:49 Does testing a product guarantee an athlete will not test positive for a banned substance?

  • Informed Choice Certified can't guarantee anything since the company doesn’t know what else that athlete might be using.
  • What they can guarantee is the samples that are tested for the banned substances go through an extensive and thorough process. Informed Choice has a good relationship with the global anti-doping community and screens for a comprehensive list of raw materials.
  • Since there are some substances that we may not know about, Informed Choice really focuses on risk management.

7:11 What are the reasons athletes are testing positive for a banned substance by taking a supplement that is commonly found over-the-counter.

  • It’s often that athletes don’t do their homework and trust someone who say the product is all natural and clean. When looking at products that athletes have used, Informed Choice has seen banned substances listed right on the labels.
  • In some cases, the raw material in the supplement has not been listed on the banned substance list, but when you're dealing with the chemicals, many of them contain naturally occurring compounds or compounds that are on the fence that cause them to fail the drug test.
  • Cross contamination is another way that athletes may fail a drug test. If a supplement is manufactured in a facility that didn't have proper cleaning in place or didn't clean the equipment they ran it through, a clean product may go into the machinery and come out contaminated.

10:15 A review of products randomly evaluated for banned substances.

  • Informed Choice went out and purchased 58 products from various stores that covered a range of products from energy drinks, to protein powders, to muscle builders, and ran them through their screens. 25% of them tested positive for steroids and 12% for banned stimulants.
  • It’s important to note that this was low level contamination and they didn't come across products where it was intentionally spiked, but it was more cross contamination or potentially naturally occurring compounds within certain raw materials.
  • This survey was designed to increase awareness around the risk and the raw materials among athletes, and to work with the manufacturers to make sure that their quality systems and their cleaning practices are robust enough to get rid of any residue that might still be left in the equipment.

12:34  The reasons more companies are paying for 3rd party certification programs and a list of some companies that are certified through Informed Choice

  • Globally there are 58 companies certified with Informed Choice and Informed Sport (European and South African program) and 170 products.
  • There are 11 manufacturing facilities certified, but that number is growing by the week. There are about 12 other companies that are currently going through certification.
  • One reason companies are paying for 3rd party certification is for awareness for athletes. Athletes now know that they have options and they can choose between a tested supplement and an untested supplement, and because their careers are at risk, they're demanding from the industry that these products be tested or they won't they won't use it.
  • There is also the awareness from the supplement companies side of things regarding cross contamination and for protecting themselves.
  • See Registered Products page on Informed Choice’s website (informed-choice.org)
    • 32 companies registered in North America, including Advocare, Muscle Farm, GNC, Bodybuilding.com, EAS, Dymatize, Cellucor, TwinLab, Vega

17:38 What should young athletes and parents be looking out for or asking when they go to a supplement store as it seems not all of the products tested today indicate that on the label.

  • One of the best things that young athletes and parents can do is to research the brand on the internet, rather than going into the store and buying what they say or what has the most claims.
  • There's a lot of information on the internet and you can learn a lot from the company website. Take a look at the product of interest, but also take a look at the other products that they have. Take a look at what ingredients are in the product and product reviews, and if you still don't know, you can contact Informed Choice through the website. 

25:49 How to reach out to Paul Klinger and Informed Choice to get products tested.

26:38 Tavis Piattoly Closing Remarks

  • Tavis Email: support@mysportd.com

Download Eat 2 Win Nutrition App