A key part of our ethos is that we strive endlessly to ensure our supplements are regularly tested and competition safe. We achieve this by registering each product under the Informed Sport rigorous independent quality assurance programme, and by sending every production batch we manufacture to LGC Sport and Specialised Analytical Services.
The testing process ensures that any impurities within our products that may have inadvertently occurred during manufacturing are identified, ensuring that issues are intercepted or dealt with before the product reaches the end consumer.
Just one example of this was when we tested Iron Complex, a very popular product that supports red blood cell formation and contains copper and vitamin C to help absorption. In the course of testing a small trace of contamination was identified. This finding prevented us from releasing the product for sale, and investigations into the cause of the positive result meant an extended out-of-stock situation.
Despite the inconvenience caused, this clearly demonstrated the importance and robustness of an ongoing testing procedure, as no adverse test findings have appeared previously in the production of Iron Complex. Although the level of impurity involved was minute (<1.5 ng per tablet) and neither affected performance nor contravened WADA regulations, it fell outside the Informed Sport tolerable acceptance levels. Healthspan Elite policy dictates that any product that does not comply with these levels will be deemed unfit for consumption by athletes and will not be released for sale.
Following the investigatory work carried out in conjunction with our manufacturers we were able to pinpoint the adverse finding to a single raw material which makes up a small part of the Iron Complex formulation. These findings have qualified us to remove the ingredient from future production runs and replace it with an alternative ingredient. We are also working closely with our manufacturers (who must be approved in accordance with our Registered Product Dossier) to determine and eliminate the source of contamination.
Although this meant that Iron Complex was unavailable for several weeks, it demonstrated two things: first, that the rigorous testing Healthspan Elite had put in place worked, and second, the importance for elite, serious athletes to choose supplements from companies on the Informed Sport programme. Failing to do so can pose a real risk of receiving a positive Anti-Doping test result and the subsequent damage that can do to a hard-won career.