International Powerlifting Federation Releases Stern Warning About Supplements

In a new statement published on British Powerlifting’s website, the International Powerlifting Federation is stating in no uncertain terms: it’s your fault if the supplements you’re taking have banned substances.

The take-home message of the three-page long statement is that some supplements aren’t always as beneficial and harmless as they might seem.

“First, there continues to be significant health risks associated with nutritional supplement use,” it reads. “And second, adverse analytical findings and anti-doping rule violations continue occurring as a result of their use.”

It even goes so far as to say that most supplements pose an unacceptable risk for athletes. The IPF points out that many countries don’t regulate supplements and they can be contaminated with prohibited substances, particularly “supplements which advertise ‘muscle building’ or ‘fat burning’ capabilities.”

Failed drug tests are always the responsibility of the athlete, not the supplement company, so powerlifters are advised to do whatever they can to find proof that supplements contain what they claim they do, including making direct inquiries to the manufacturer, getting written guarantees of product purity, and finding out if production facilities contain any banned substances anywhere, since accidental contamination is possible.

For a better idea of the letter’s tone, take a look at the following quotes:

Never forget… finger pointing will not help you. (…)

Would it not simply be easier and healthier for every Athlete to eat well and to follow a nutritious and balanced diet?

Should you not to everything you can to avoid a possible anti-doping rule violation and then a sanction and a fine?


There’s not much left to misinterpretation here, but it sounds like this probably won’t be the last time the IPF releases a letter like this. Try to find GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices)-certified facilities from reputable distributors, and most importantly remember that most nutrients can be found in whole food sources.

Featured image via @theipf on Instagram.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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