With dozens of ingredients, not all of which are always listed on the label, it can be hard for NFL players to know which supplements are OK for them to take. It's become an even bigger challenge recently as the NFL and the NFLPA no longer maintain an approved list of supplements, according to a report from Pro Football Talk.
The league and the NFLPA previously created the Sports Nutrition Label Certification Program, which gave players an approved list of companies which do not manufacture products that contain banned substances. According to Pro Football Talk's report, that program expired in 2011. Players must now determine if a substance is all right to take on their own. That doesn't always work, as evidenced by Jarvis Jenkins' recent suspension.
Jenkins was recently suspended for four games for a violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. He said he was "shocked and confused" by the suspension and guessed the suspension was a result of unknowingly taking a supplement containing a banned substance.
"It's an obscure substance that I've never even heard of, and I still don't know how it got into my body," Jenkins said, via NFL.com. "My only guess is that it came from one of the supplements I was taking around the time of the test, even though none of them listed anything banned."
Although the certification program no longer exists, the NFLPA is working on a cell phone application that will scan ingredient lists to check for banned substances, according to the report. That, however, will only work if all ingredients are listed on the label, which apparently wasn't the case in Jenkins' situation.
The list of approved substances didn't stop all inadvertent suspensions. Several players claimed to have unknowingly taken banned substances even with the program. Still, the lack of a guide could lead to even more suspensions as players attempt to utilize legal supplements to become bigger, faster and stronger.