I'm a non-competitive cyclist that wants to try a few Cat-5 USAC races for fun; unfortunately, at 40+ years of age, I'm taking more than one natural OTC supplement to self-medicate.

Is there an easy way to tell which supplements are okay and which aren't?

I looked at the WADA List, but that list looks a bit intimidating to me. I also took the effort to email USAC [1] and USADA directly and they said in their own words that the supplements I take are probably okay; however, some such supplements often contain extra bonus substances that might cause a positive on an anti-doping test.

[1] - Actually, USAC just told me to contact USADA. USADA was the organization that actually "answered" my question.

  • 3
    I doubt anyone would notice if a non-competitive cyclist was doing these things even if they were against regulations anyway.
    – Batman
    May 11, 2017 at 3:52
  • I don't have a USAC license yet, but I'm aiming for 42 miles in 2 hours with about 2000 ft of climbing next year with start and finish elevation being the same. That should let me finish in the middle of a Cat 5 pack. Is there somewhere I can get voluntarily tested without spending too much money?
    – Shawn Eary
    Jun 23, 2017 at 1:17
  • 1
    I'd guess you should talk to people local to you. But you could try asking your doctor to see if they could write a referral for you to a drug testing laboratory (e.g. Quest diagnostics is what a lot of places use).
    – Batman
    Jun 23, 2017 at 2:27
  • Well, I have a Cat 5 license now and I've dropped most of my supplements. I'm currently in the process of swapping an Omega-3 pill out for Salmon. When I get done, I should only be on an Equate (Walmart) multivitamin. However, NSF does testing of some supplements for those that are ultra cautious (See My Answer Below). I may chose NSF certified products at some point in addition to the basic multivitamin.
    – Shawn Eary
    Feb 6, 2018 at 4:05

2 Answers 2


I think you're looking at the lists backward - they have lists of banned substances. Everything else is okay and permitted because its not banned.

So if your medication contains anything on the banned list you're best finding an alternative or dropping that product completely.

You're able to prove that you made inquiries, and that your supplements do not list anything on the banned lists. You've done all you can short of getting your supplements chemically analysed, which is a bit extreme and unreasonable.

Imagine if you did get hauled up for having something in your test results - you have made more effort than most, and you have the paperwork/papertrail to prove it.

Just focus on your pre-race training, pre-ride the routes if at all possible, and plan your diet for before and during the event. And plan on tapering nicely.

  • Personally, I'm taking a multivitamin, extra calcium, Glucosamine/Chondroitin (for joint health) and DHA (for brain and heart health). I don't think any of these substances are banned and I'm not even sure they actually work, but I don't want to cut off of them and have some unintended side effect like osteoarthritis or inability to concentrate at my desk job. At 40+, I just want to play but don't necessarily want to win...
    – Shawn Eary
    Jun 23, 2017 at 1:26
  • 1
    @ShawnEary I'm 42 and I drink mostly plain water on rides. Only have electrolyte drinks on 100km+ trips. I eat museli bars or bliss balls, gels, sometimes chocolate or hard lollies. Never eaten a pill-supplement in my life. Can't stand bananas on rides.
    – Criggie
    Jun 23, 2017 at 1:40

Apparently, if you want to take basic supplements and are concerned about banned or undeclared substances, you can choose products that have the "NSF Certified for Sport®" Label.

From an NSF Flyer:
"NSF International's Certified for Sport® program has official support and recognition from the MLB, MLBPA, NFL, NFLPA, PGA, LPGA, CPSDA, CCES and other anti-doping agencies and sports organizations.

NSF tests for approximately 200 athletic banned substances from the WADA, NFL, and MLB prohibited substances list." - https://www.nsf.org/newsroom_pdf/ds_why_choose_nsf_cert_sport_supplements.pdf

So it sounds to me that if you find a product that has genuinely been certified by the NSF in this manner, you are almost guaranteed to comply with USAC and WADA regulations.

I realized this after I sent an email to Nordic Naturals inquiring about the safety of their Omega-3 supplements. When they responded, they pointed me to their NSF Certified sports products line.

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