The criminal investigation that’s focused on Internet-based supplement selling powerhouse Bodybuilding.com points out how dirty the nutritional supplement business can be.
Bodybuilding.com has been the subject of a two-year investigation looking into the possibility that over-the-counter nutritional supplements actually contain illegal, banned substances, including steroids. The company has served as an example of how the Internet can allow entrepreneurs a “rags to riches” opportunity. Bodybuilding.com was started in a garage 10 years ago and in 2008 Liberty Media purchased the controlling interest in the company for $100 million. They sell over $150 million of supplements every year.
But now Bodybuilding.com is in big trouble. Federal investigators purchased 31 products, 23 of which turned out to contain anabolic steroids. The Food and Drug Administration had sent warning letters to the company advising them they were in violation of federal law that deals with labeling and the distribution of steroids, and apparently Bodybuilding.com didn’t heed the warnings.
The nutritional supplement industry is as seedy and flawed of an industry as you can find, no matter where they do business, and this case serves as a great illustration of how bad it is. The government contends Bodybuilding.com has been illegally selling five anabolic steroids with the names “Madol,” “Tren,” “Superdrol,” “Androstenedione,” and “Turinabol,” despite five “warning letters” from the FDA since 2002 informing the company that it was in violation of the law. I found Superdrol advertised on several sites with the notation that it has been withdrawn. And if you read about Turinabol, there’s no doubt that it is an anabolic steroid. Bodybuilding.com shouldn’t be too surprised.
For years supplement makers have advertised a bevy of products with purported anabolic properties that could serve as viable alternatives to real steroids. These claims were laughed at by people who know that the only thing that can deliver steroid-results are steroids. However, it seems that many of these products could deliver steroid-like results because they really contained steroids.
We should be used to the notion that supplement companies are willing to sell products with dubious pedigrees and items that really don’t/can’t deliver on the advertised benefits. The frightening aspect of this story is that some supplement makers – and sellers – are willing to dose their clients with banned, illegal supplements. This reality should make you think more than twice before purchasing any nutritional supplement from any source.