Major League Soccer (MLS) has named AdvoCare International, a multi-level marketing (MLM) supplement company, as its official sports nutrition partner. As part of the agreement, AdvoCare’s Rehydrate product will be the Official Sports Drink of MLS and will be featured on the sidelines. Texas-based Advocare, which continues to be the shirt sponsor for the MLS team FC Dallas, is certified as free from banned substances by Informed-Choice. The two other MLM supplement companies sponsoring MLS team shirts include Herbalife (LA Galaxy), which is Certified for Sport by NSF international, and LifeVantage (FC Salt Lake), which is Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG).
Informed Choice is a quality assurance program featuring testing by LGC (formerly HFL) Laboratories. Before being acquired by LGC, HFL Labs was the 34th accredited lab worldwide for the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA), but HFL withdrew from the program in 2007 due to WADA rules prohibiting accredited labs from having supplement company clients.
Still, LGC/HFL uses the WADA list of banned substances, as well as lists from professional leagues such as the NFL, NCAA and MLB, as the basis ofits certification and testing program for sports supplements. AdvoCare has used a roster of world-class amateur and pro athletes as endorsers of its products, but one of its athletes, U.S. Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy, blamed a failed 2008 doping test on an AdvoCare sports supplement, Arginine Extreme, she had taken. Hardy was hit with a two-year suspension and was disqualified from the Olympics in Beijing that year. However, she had an independent lab test the batch of products under suspicion and won a one-year suspension reduction after the American Arbitration Association/Court of Arbitration for Sport (AAA/CAS) concluded the failed test was due to a contaminated supplement.
AdvoCare fought in the courts to clear its name, and Hardy countersued. In the end, Hardy served her sentence and eventually made it back into the pool, and AdvoCare went through the Informed Choice program to show its products were free of banned substances.
- Do you believe hardy’s supplement was tainted?
- Does having an Informed Choice, Certified for Sport or other similar certifications give you confidence a sports supplement is free from banned substances?
- What is with the love between supplement MLMs and pro soccer?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section.