July 20, 2005

Supplements, Diet, and Drugs in China

There's an interesting piece at RunnersWeb.com on Chinese nutrition as it relates to high-performance sport. There are some interesting bits about the use of supplements. In contrast to the Western "culture of pills and powders," the Chinese have the opposite problem:

In Chinese culture, the line between food and drugs is blurred; many medicinal herbs are used in cooking and many foods have medicinal properties assigned to them. … For example, some Chinese dried pork products are prepared using clostebol, which is banned as a performance-enhancing drug. … While most western athletes are now aware that many herbs contain active biological ingredients that may lead to a failed drug test, many Chinese athletes remain poorly informed. Another challenge is the chaotic Chinese marketplace, where drug piracy is rampant and anyone can buy medicine – including steroids – without a prescription. To make matters worse, many drugs, particularly traditional remedies, aren’t labelled properly, making it very easy for unwitting buyers to consume an ingredient on the Olympic list of banned substances.

The article is an interesting read and also includes a description of how China is trying to regulate its nutritional supplement market.

I found it via Transition Game, which is (happily) back after a long absence.

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