Bad Supplements At Bodybuilding.com – $7,000,000 FDA Fine

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FDA fines bodybodybuilding.com $7,000,000 for selling steroids masquerading as dietary supplements and their president gets personally fined $600,000.  First let me address those of you who are mad at the FDA because you WANT to buy supplements laced with steroids.  Ask yourself this, if bodybuilding.com didn’t notice something as obvious as steroids in the supplements then what are the chances they would notice supplements laced with lethal substances like mercury, lead, or arsenic?  They wouldn’t!  Your trust in the supplement industry and retailers like bodybuilding.com is foolhardy, you are gambling with your life.  Below are the products sold by bodybuilding.com that caused the 7 million dollar fine:

  • I Force Methadrol
  • Nutra Costal D-Stianozol
  • I Force Dymethazine
  • Rage RV5
  • Genetic Edge Technologies  SUS500.
bodybuilding.com fined 7 Million for selling steroid laced supplements

Note that bodybuilding.com is a distributor, they don’t manufacture anything but they are still responsible for the products they sell just as Walmart would be held responsible in court if they sold exploding toaster ovens.

“What’s the big deal” you say, steroids are safe and ‘everybody’ wants them.   Lets look at how bodybuilding.com endangered the lives of thousands.  First of all, we have no idea what kind of steroids were put into these supplements nor do we know in what dosages.   Since the intent was to give people incredible gains so they would continue to buy the products and tell all their friends about it, I suspect a very high dosage.  There is a reason that steroids are not legal, its because of the potential for abuse and the serious harm it can cause in certain individuals. If you hide steroids in a supplement without telling people, its 100x worse! Why?  Steroids can be a serious health problem for those with high blood pressure.  People with liver problems from hepatitis, alcohol, age, or other medical issues could have seriously injured from taking these ‘supplements’ too. If these people with the compromised livers had know the products contained steroids they never would have taken them.  Some of you are thinking that the warning labels probably had the normal CYA disclaimer that only healthy people should take the product, but most people ignore those because “its just a supplement!”.  Even people who were healthy and young could have been hurt by these products, how?   Since these folks were unaware they were taking anabolic steroids, many of them probably didn’t bother to cycle but rather just stayed on them year round. How many guys today have shrunken packages or are sterile and unable to have kids because of products sold by bodybuilding.com?  I would not be surprised at all if we see a flood of civil lawsuits against bodybuilding.com in the coming years.

And speaking of people getting hurt, the pain is not limited to health problems. What about all those people whose employment requires random drug testing? How many police, firemen, pilots, bus drivers lost their jobs from testing positive for steroids when all they did was take what they thought was “just a supplement”? These peoples lives may have been ruined. How many people worked their butts off for years to get ready for natural bodybuilding contests only to be disqualified, ridiculed and shamed when they failed a drug test? This IS a big deal!

Congratulations to the FDA for doing the right thing.  In this era of cynicism about government’s ability to function effectively, this is a perfect example of government working as it should.   Big corporations do irresponsible things which endanger the lives of Americans and the government slaps them down.  Unless the supplement industry gets serious and self-regulates very quickly with independent testing agencies like USP Verified, then this is the wake up call that they will be fined out of business or squashed with regulatory agency oversight.  Bodybuilding.com only has itself to blame if the supplement industry becomes regulated and they have nothing left to sell.

So ask yourself, so what supplements are tainted now?  How sure are you that the supplements you took this morning have not given you dangerous amounts of lead or mercury?  The fine against bodybuilding.com was for products sold back in 2009, what’s in what they are selling now?  My recommendation, until the supplement industry gets its act together and self-regulates with voluntary third party batch testing, either limit your supplement purchases to those tested by USP Verified or a similar testing agency or give natural bodybuilding a try.  In my opinion people seriously overestimate the gains you can get with supplements, I would estimate that even the *best* supplement can only increase your gain rate by 5%.  I challenge any supplement maker to provide published, peer-reviewed research showing more gain than this.

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  • You don’t count protein whey as a supplement do you?
    or are you saying i should stop using whey, just to be sure about my health?

    • Whey is a natural by-product of the dairy industry. Just make sure you buy a reasonably pure whey like Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey. Scooby himself uses this exact brand.

      • Nicholas Rishel

        I really dislike this line of reasoning, because cow feces is also a natural by-product of the dairy industry. Please don’t cite pseudo evidence. :(

        • Checks Balances

          Cow Feces is humongously [sic] useful. Maybe not to us. But pseudo-isly, his line of reasoning is not exactly unreasonable.

        • Sean Jordan

          Whey is also used to make certain types of cheese. It is a valid source of protein; feces is not. Feces is food for soil and flies. Your logic is flawed. Please don’t troll. :(

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      If you are concerned about the safetly of protein powder there are two excellent options.  The easiest is just to buy organic, that has a well defined testing regimen built in.  The other thing you can do is limit purchase of non-organic protein powders to ones that have undergone testing from independent labs

      • Charles Gonzalez

         hi scooby do recommend a particular whey protein brand? new on this sight though iv’e seen your vids on yt.i’m using 100%whey gen (low carb) time released protein. 24 grams per serving.  i also use bb.com but never bought anything from them yet.  glad i visited here.

        • Aldo Garbellini

          I believe that scooby would not endorse or recommend any products but would instead encourage us to study the subject and conclude for ourselves what is best or most useful.  Besides, scooby seems to suggest that supplements are not necessary for good health and fitness.

  • Although I am NOT against steroids at all I applause the FDA for doing this. In my opinion steroids can be safe, or lets say less dangerous as long as it is done responsibly… And in this case it was very unsafe, think of all the kids that could get bad side effects on this, and they buy that stuff as early as young teenage hood ! Do you honestly think BB.com was unaware of this? Please think twice !

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      I would have to venture a guess that the management at BB knew what was going on, hence my sarcastic image above.  They read their own forums, they know when people are reporting results that are only possible with steroids.

  • Mrkl

    The worst part about this is all of the honest bodybuilders who could have been(and some probably were) disqualified from competitions as a result of “steroid use”

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      I hadnt thought of that angle, yes I’m sure some competitors in natural contests mysteriously tested positive and were denied trophies because of it.  

      • I always heard of boxers and other athletes claiming they had no idea where their positive test came from. I now see what they are talking about.

  • I disagree; offering these products was a service to their customers by way of “smuggling”. Sure, the situation is definitely not ideal but only the individual himself has the responsibility to decide what he will or won’t ingest. A better situation would be total availability of non-prescription anabolic steroids, regrettably i don’t see this happening with the current “war on drugs” in the western world.

    ps: scooby aren’t you for legalization of weed?

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      Whether steroids are legal or not, supplements need to be regulated.  Legal steroids would prevent supplements from being laced with anabolics but it would do nothing to protect consumers from potentially lethal doses of melamine, lead, mercury, or other heavy metals. 

      • “…that even the *best* supplement can only increase your gain rate by 5%.”

        – Is it possible to accept this challenge?

        I use a supplement which has these quality guaranties:

        Köelnerliste: http://www.koelnerliste.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=99&lang=en&limitstart=140
        Swiss Vitamin Institute: http://www.swissvitamin.ch/isv.htm
        Good Manufacturing Practice ( GMP)/HACCP and the Swedish national organ for food called “Livsmedelsverket”: http://www.slv.se/upload/dokument/livsmedelsforetag/branschriktlinjer/Sakra_kosttillskott_till_konsument_oktober_2009_slutversion.pdf
        ISO-9001: http://niits.ru/public/2003/070.pdf
        Halal certifiering: http://pm-international.com/files/en/dc_documents/Halal_Cert.pdf
        Europatent: (You’ll need to search for each patentnumber like: EP 1 698 344 B1 – Restorate)
        International Food Standard (IFS):http://www.qmi.com/information_center/literature/ifs_english_us.pdf

        Some of these texts will be in Swedish but most of it is international.
        My Email is [email protected]:disqus .se, please reply if you accept my challenge ;)

        (And to determain what a 5% gain is exactly and under how long period of time.)

        Hope to hear from you soon Scooby! :)

        (PS. Love your site and what you are doing for us health-freaks! :D)

  • CalBriell Williams

    im off topic but can u(scooby) or anyone else out there develop a defined grocery list of everything i will need to buy in order to fix those wonderful home cooked meals scooby has on his website and the cost id like to change my eating according to what scooby recommends even if my taste buds dont agree

  • The only supplement really tested in scientific tests, with an outcome that is really positive is creatine. The tests i’ve read about are on the Creatine monohydrate version, and I’ve seen transversal MRI cuts of the legs and the upper arms from the blind and the testgroup. The testgroup added roughly 15-25% more muscle than the blind group, who’ve gotten a placebo powder. Their diet and training routines were simmilar.

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      If you saw studies that showed 15-25% more muscle mass gain with creatine then I would love to see those because anything I have seen is far less dramatic than that.

      •  Exactly how “similar” were those diet and exercise regimes?  Moreover, I still have yet to hear a compelling argument about how creatine monohydrate is better than other forms of ingested creatine.  I’vre read a lot of pseudo-science that is (sadly) sufficient to silence naysayers who don’t know much about physiology or aren’t willing to do research, but giving some half-cocked reason for why something SHOULD work and providing evidence that it actually DOES are wildly different things.  Finally, assuming there actually were such improvements in cross-sectional area of the muscles being tested — were there corresponding strength gains as well?  If not, I wouldn’t be shocked if the gains were, once again, due primarily to an increase in local water retention.  Just something to consider.

    • Josh Hocevar

      A big factor in these tests are how new the lifters are to the weights. Newbies can gain about 15-25lbs of muscle in that first year to year and a half. After that it goes down substantially for a natural lifter. I think Scooby would agree

  • TracedInAir

    The simple solution is make steroids legal and overturn this whole thing about the FDA having to PROVE the supplements are dangerous AFTER they have been on the market. Those bums in Utah really messed things up for people.

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      As I just mentioned to Daniel, making steroids legal wouldnt solve the supplement problem at all in my mind.  You could still get tainted supplements containing dangerous amounts of melamine, lead, mercury, or arsenic without anyone knowing or caring. 

  • And don’t forget about the hair loss! You lost all your hair in one month of taking supplements tainted with steriods.  Ha,  Just kidding  

  • Great article. I used creatine correctly for about one year and had great gains. That was about 4 years ago. I have since lost a lot of muscle mass as I took a break from the sport and was thinking about using creatine supplements again after 1 year of resuming bodybuilding. It’s articles like this that make me question the 100% creatine monohydrate claims. I have been putting off buying creatine for fear of purchasing a contaminated product Especially giving a nodd to the cheaper brands… If there are any biochemists out there looking for thesis ideas then supplement contamination might be a good bet!

  • Scooby you are a very good distributor of knowledge and advice. You are a good guy for doing that.

  • Great post. I had never heard of USP Verified until now. Nice before and after picture. That was funny.

  • Bara Alismaili

    This is what makes Scooby so unique :)

    <3

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      … and gets me so many enemies!  I’m messing with the big boys now :(

      • AlexKou

        You have enemies? …..Good. That means you have stood up for something, sometime in your life.

  • Govna

    LOL

  • Scooby pls. It’s funny cause you, yourself are on steroids.

    This comment will be deleted, I know.

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      You are completely off topic but thanks for the compliment.

  • Andrew Schmidt

    “In this era of cynicism about government’s ability to function
    effectively, this is a perfect example of government working as it
    should.”

    Because I’ve remarked about the FDA’s checkered past apropos of weight-loss supplements, your quote above struck too close to home, and in this particular instance, I definitely agree with you. I’m glad I checked your blog for a new article!

    Also, why didn’t this make the national headlines? Perhaps the government will never get its well-earned kudos for doing the right thing. Das ist aber schade!

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      The FDA has screwed up a lot, I agree.  This a particular instance where they did something right.  No idea why this didnt make national headlines.  I suspect it will be in the headlines when the civil lawsuits start flooding in of people whose health was damaged by these five supplements sold by http://www.bodybuilding.com

  • Bodybuilding.com is a joke. It’s the first site people go to when curious about the subject and every single page on it pushes you into buying supplements. You go to the Bodybuilding.com forums and it’s filled with profiles named “Dr. ~~~” with a picture of some steroid junkie in the profile pic. These accounts just troll around all day. Every problem they encounter they respond with “Well there’s this new supplement and routine i say can work”. The entire website is geared to make money and help nobody! :S

    Also saying supplements can give you no larger than a 5% increase in gains, then challenging people to disprove it, isn’t very scientific! As the person making the claim it’s YOUR responsibility to prove it. Not everyone elses! :) You might as well say “Well I know God is real and you can only make me think otherwise by disproving it.”

    • Sam D

       People lack common sense nowadays. Plus everyone wants a quick fix instead working hard to earn something.

  • mgcraine

    Scooby, as an endurance athlete I am interested to know what pace you keep when running various distances, at the moment I am running at 7 minutes 48 seconds per mile for 5 miles and my target is to get it down to 7 minutes flat. I am sure what ever pace you keep will be impressive considering how much weight you’re carrying, I just feel it would be a really good benchmark to go on.

    Thanks !

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      I have only been racing for about 4 years now, before that I was just recreational.  I have slowly been ratcheting up the length of event I have done starting with the sprint triathlon, moving up to the olympic, and next week the half ironman length.  The first time I do a longer event my only goal is completion, not time.  The second time I do an event I work on bettering my time.  As far as my speed in these long events, I am typically in the top 2-%-40% of my age group which I dont consider too bad considering my weight.  I am firmly in the Clydesdale weight class (thats an official category in many races).  Running is my biggest challenge, I find that my sprint speed is the same as my 1 mile pace is the same as my half marathon  pace :)  

  • don’t you use protein powder ? is that not a supp. ?
    for me so far supplements increased my gains by lots more than 5%
    my pounds gained/6 months has doubled with supps.
    there’s nothing special about them, it just makes it EASIER to hit your macros, calories and get more of essential things like aminos, EFAs and such

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      Depends on whose definition you use whether protein powder is a supplement or not but it does share some of the same concerns as supplements.  Where it differs is that with protein powders you can get certified organic if you want, something not possible with true supplements. 

  • Scoob you rock

  • Imagine popping hot at work on a drug test and getting fired….for something you had no clue was illegal, bought legally.

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      Yep!

  • it is only today that i discovered your youtube channel and i must say that i have never found any better fitness advice on the whole of internet … your honesty and sincerity shines through … wish i had found this sooner.

  • good job scooby!! thankq! :)

  • Aquarius888

    Now if we can only get the FDA to crack down on Phillip Morris for poisoning millions of people and giving them cancer with their PRODUCTS. And escort G.W. Bush to jail for his past history of cocaine use. Then they will will finally have time to start looking for the black boxes from the “so called” plane crashes of 9/11.

  • Hugo Martinez

    my favourite supplements are caffeine and pancakes! good luck with your half IM next weekend scoob, btw…what kind of bike will you use? something too professional (triathlon bike) or just a regular road bike 

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      Thanks Hugo! I dont have a fancy time trial bike or triathlon bike, I use my touring bike – complete with rack on tje back:)

  •  I immediately thought of all of those natural body builders that might have become ‘tainted’ and not be able to compete for something they trained so hard for.  If it were me, I would definitely sue….

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      I have a feeling we will see a flood of lawsuits Against bodybuilding.com by people who lost jobs from positive drug test results, natural BB competitors who were stripped of titles, and people who suffered health problems from these laced supps. This is the last chance for the supplement industry to self-regulate before being crushed by regulatory oversight.

  • Brandon_Ross

    Scooby You’re awesome! My brother first started looking at Bodybuilding.com when he first started but then lost interest. I on the other hand have kept with it for almost a year and my gains are awesome because of your advice and example. I know that I would not be in this kind of shape if it had not been for you. Thank you so much and please continue to be an amazing instructor and example to everyone in physical fitness.

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      Awesome to hear Brandon!!!

  • Yes I never thought of that I know a lot of bodybuilders who got banned and they swore (I know everyone will say they never took anything)they never took anything

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      The sad thing is that nobody believed them even though many were telling the truth :(

  • Its nice to know that bb.com got caught and removed their stuff, but the only thing I buy from their is my whey and its cheaper than buying from GNC. And I actually learned a lot from the forums, no one I got advice from pushed supplements. Its also where I found you Scooby! 

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      Glad nobody pushed supps there, we allow a supps board on the forum but I have a sticky at the top saying that I am against supps so I stay completely out of that board!

  • It’s always good to see corrupt sources being exposed for what they are.

    Keep fighting the good fight Scooby and getting the right information out there!

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      The fight against these supplement people and their wild claims with untested products will continue!

  • timshel01

    Scooby,Thank goodness you’re on our side by giving us the right advise and alerting us about bogus supplements. 

  • Douglas Ford

    Very informative! You’re the man Scooby! :-D

  • Francesco Duse

    Also, how many supplements are not evaluated by FDA? the question is if they all should be evaluated BEFORE being put in commerce: it would be a hell of a task to do, but lots of these criminals putting funny things into their products would be erased, and companies would be forced to give quality products.
    I personally just stick with whey protein, bovine meat, beans, lentils, tuna and lots of salads, but if anyone wants to buy supplements he/she must be sure that there ius nothing that is gonna harm him/her. For some individual with big lust of money, shame does not exists apparently….

  • xbox221

    If the FDA could test EVERY supplements (including protein powder) and fine 7 millions to the companies that put dangerous substance in their supplement, bodybuilding would be so much easier for so many people.

     We wouldn’t have to worry about dangerous contaminants. But congrats to the Consumer reports for pointing this wonderfull article that ALL protein powders they tested were contaminated.

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      It would be so much better for everyone if the supplement industry would show some responsibility and leadership by self-regulating.  Since this doesnt appear to be happening, it looks like the FDA will be requiring what you suggest. 

  • good you are spreading the word out Scooby!

  • tyke73

    Thanks for you time Scooby I really enjoy reading you site. 

  • The supplements posted are illegal to take in bodybuilding natty contests anyways. People should know this. All supplements that have been listed have ingredients that are in the IFBB Natural Rules that cannot be taken. These are sub steroids and who ever took them should know this

  • This makes me think how we are all quick to judge an athlete who gets suspended for performance enhancing drugs.  But, If I was a high profile athlete making bank, I would hire my own testing company to give me the lowdown before I ingest anything supplement.

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      Especially the month or two before a major race!  Just thought of a movie plot.  Evil rivals in a sporting event try to slip steroids into each others food so they will be disqualified – mayhem ensues, cars explode, etc, etc.

  • Jade Reed

    Scooby, thank you for posting such informative articles. I have bought into poor products before, and I will never do so again. Your website has made a huge difference in my life! Since following your diet and exercise advice, I am a smarter, healthier person! I hope to share my results with you soon!

  • Sam D

    Great article scooby. My question is why didn’t other retailers such as amazon get fined as well. They didn’t recall their products in about November 2009?  Yes regulation would be nice but the increase on cost may not be desirable. Its just like forcing people to buy organic foods. To answer your question about whats in the products they are selling now here is there quote from the FDA site:

    Olson
    said that today’s pleas are the culmination of a detailed and thorough
    investigation that included the execution of search warrants in
    September 2009 at Bodybuilding.com, LLC’s Boise warehouse and Meridian
    headquarters. “Since the execution of the search warrants,
    Bodybuilding.com, LLC has worked cooperatively with the FDA and the U.S.
    Attorney’s Office to ensure that it no longer sells products that do
    not qualify as dietary supplements,” said Olson. “We were able to
    resolve this case through misdemeanor charges in part because of the
    actions Bodybuilding.com, LLC, its current management and its general
    counsel’s office have taken over the last two and a half years to
    prioritize regulatory compliance. We are confident that Bodybuilding.com
    has put into place procedures to eliminate products with these
    ingredients from its product line.”

    It looks like they are heading in the right direction. I know I might get some hatred from my comment, but its my opinion. I research supps before I buy them. But again, common sense has been thrown out the window these days.

  • Chetan Sharma

    I have never taken any supplement so far, neither has started to workout but when your basic concepts are clear with the help of mentor like scooby I will be in the safe hands, just guiding myself by abiding scooby’s rule book. Thanks a lot. I just need more motivation.. Please God help me so that i can come up here on this website everyday and stay motivated.

  • I agree with when you said: “In my opinion people seriously overestimate the gains you can get with supplements, I would estimate that even the *best* supplement can only increase your gain rate by 5%. I challenge any supplement maker to provide published, peer-reviewed research showing more gain than this.”

    Also, I posted some news articles on Bodybuilding.com’s forums about the recent $7 million fine, and it was deleted! So were my comments about it on another post there (nothing offensive).
    I noticed that other threads about the issue have been disappearing also.Bodybuilding.com are censoring what they have done. Such bastards! I didn’t know about them before, but I know now to completely disregard their whole site and stay away, as I do not trust it one bit. Instead of embracing what happened and apologizing, they are trying to cover it up. I really wish this would evoke a Barbara Streisand effect… how do we make it happen?

    • Scooby_Werkstatt

      I need to change the title of the video to “CENSORED by bodybuildingDOTcom!”.  Censorship, what an excellent way for the management at bodybuidlingDOTcom to deal with this issue!  Bury your head in the sand and your problems magically goes away!  The bean counters managers there need to wake up to the fact that they either need to effectively self-regulate and provide safe supplements or they will be squashed with fines, lawsuits, and government oversight. 

  • Scooby_Werkstatt

    What do you think, since all references to this video on the bodybuildingDOTcom forums are being deleted, should I change the title to “CENSORED by bodybuildingDOTcom!”??

  • Danke fuer Deine Hingabe und Inspiration. Hoffentlich hoert man noch viel von Dir.
    Danke…

  • Victor Cuevas

    Man! thats just not cool, thx for the heads up Scooby

  • Dan Mikkelsen

    Dang. I would never have thought a company would put steroids in products without telling.

    But now what about all those who tests positive for drugs from now on, and years earlier (thinking of tour de france at the moment). Now they actually have the excuse which people just laughed at when they tried that excuse before.

    Carzy

  • hello scooby,really appreciate the videos and the advice!so great..i was wondering if u could tell us which supplement industry should we choose! iam already searching for the right one based on what i heard from u..but do u have any suggestions?? have a nice day :)

  • ggaona27

    Scooby you give me hope, my gym is run by pill pushers and followers of Body building.com.Ive been told so many times the benifits of creatine, whey protine, nitric oxide, drinking gasoline mixed with raw eggs to get to my inner beast.I have to admit it sometimes makes me feel real small,especialy after a good workout, to have people say “you are wasting your time just working out”

  • Abraham Hernandez

    Scooby, I have a question. Are you talking about protein powders too? In your opinion, are whey protein or soy protein isolate bad?

  • Tom

    I agree with you Scooby, the supplement industry REALLY needs to start self regulating. I really don’t believe the government should be involved in the regulation of supplements under almost any circumstances. Let the consumer market drive testing. When the supplement companies get caught improperly marking their products, they’ll pay the price with lawsuits and less sales. And if consumers demand independent testing, they’ll get it, because noncompliant supplement companies will go out of business.

  • Right on Scooby, thanks for having our backs,

  • ilikeicecream alotmore

    But I’ve seen you using protein powder in one of your videos. Aren’t protein powder supplements?
    I’m following your diet for busy people and I’m using protein power like you said on the video…
    should I stop? Please answer scooby….

  • Avaneesh

    Bro Scooby I’m 14 and doing some bodybuilding. I’m considering taking whey. What do you say? Please reply ASAP.

  • Stavros P

    Hi Scooby!

    Great you tubevideo and thank you very much for the information.

    I have a question, if you please to answer.

    on 2:58 of the video, there is a list of products passing up the screen.

    one of those is “Nutrilite”

    are you referring to the Nutrilite brand of Amway?

    please let me know, cause I have a big business based on the Nutrilite products, I use them, my family uses, even children uses.

    Thank you.

  • mohamed

    Great article , thanks scooby:)

  • Pumprdlik

    Very good article! It is very important to deal with people who break the law. Thumbs up! :-)