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24 February 2022

Consumer NZ finds controlled and prescription drugs in sports supplements

An investigation into sports supplements by Consumer NZ has resulted in products being pulled from shelves after they were found to contain controlled and prescription drugs.

A mystery shop of six sports supplement stores found six products that contained seven illegal drugs, ranging from amphetamine-like stimulants to prescription medicines used to tread ADHD and Parkinson’s disease.

“In New Zealand, sports supplements don’t need to be tested or proved safe before being sold. The responsibility is placed on the seller to ensure the product is made to an acceptable quality and is safe to use. We think there needs to be tighter regulation to ensure potentially dangerous ingredients aren’t winding up on New Zealand shelves,” said Gemma Rasmussen, Head of Communications and Campaigns.

Products that contained prescription drugs included Lit the F%#k up by Liberty Labz, a ‘fat burner’ that claims to ‘increase energy, metabolism and suppress appetite’. This was found to include Octodrine, a prescription drug which is an amphetamine-like stimulant with effects including euphoria, alertness, and an increased pain threshold. The product was removed from sale from Supplements Solutions after contact from Consumer NZ.

Perfect Sports Burn FX capsules claimed to ‘boost energy, drive up metabolism, reduce appetite, shut down carb absorption, and amplify the mood.’ The capsules contain Deanol, an amino acid produced by the brain. Any product with more than 10 milligrams per litre or kilogram of Deanol is classed as a prescription medicine. Each Perfect Sports capsule contained more than 150mg of Deanol. Directors of did not respond to queries from Consumer NZ but did remove the product from sale.

Other supplements included high concentrations of levodopa, which is used to treat Parkinsons, Gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is a class B drug.

“Placing the onus on a seller to ensure sports supplements are to an acceptable standard is clearly not a system that is working, as our investigation has highlighted. If you’re purchasing a supplement and are concerned about potentially harmful ingredients, liaise with your GP and report any harmful ingredients or concerns you have to NZ Food Safety,” said Rasmussen.

You can read the full consumer report on sports supplements here.

Consumer NZ recommends exercising caution and looking out for the following ingredients to avoid when purchasing sports supplements:

  • Beta-phenethylamine (PEA)
  • Octodrine
  • Deanol (Dimethylethanolamine)
  • Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae)
  • Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)
  • N-Methyltyramine Hydrochloride (4-hydroxy-N-methylphenethylamine), (NMTN)