Why NSF Certification is a MUST for Sports Supplements


We make it a point to keep P4 fans in the know about what we’re doing. That’s why when we developed a new flavor for our Pre Game Formula — it’s Blue Raspberry, by the way! — we made sure to remind customers that the new flavor is not only delicious, but also still NSF Certified for Sport®. We wanted to assure you, our valued consumer, that the product is label-claim-verified (meaning, it’s tested for accuracy), and it’s free of ingredients that appear on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances.

Why do we put so much weight into those three letters? Why do they matter? Because NSF certification allows pro athletes to rest easy knowing that the product they’re putting into their bodies won’t disqualify them from competition or interfere with their career. And for everyday or casual athletes, it’s a promise that the ingredients on the label are what are in the bottle.

But there’s even more to it. To get the scoop as to what the NSF Certified for Sport® program does, we spoke with Lisa Thomas, the technical manager for the Certified for Sport® program:

Proven4: What’s the difference between NSF Certified for Sport® and other programs that screen supplements? 

LT: Many other programs test products for banned substances, and there’s nothing more to the program. They also don’t test for as many banned substances as we do, or test the products for what it’s supposed to be. So, if it says 10 milligrams of calcium, we test to make sure that it’s 10 mg of calcium, as well as screen for heavy metals, microbiologics, and other pertinent contamination.

Proven4: After a product is certified, does it get inspected again? 

LT: Finished products are tested annually for label claims and contaminants, and their manufacturing facilities are audited twice annually … to check for compliance with the FDA’s regulation for dietary supplementsGood Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). And then, of course, every lot is tested for athletic banned substances.

Proven4: Man, you guys don’t mess around. 

LT: The stringent auditing program’s additional check into the formulation, manufacturing, labeling, and distribution of the certified products adds to the assurance of quality and safety of the products.

Proven4: In other words, the NSF Certified for Sport® program is more comprehensive than the other programs? 

LT: Yes, the entire manufacturing process gets reviewed — from the raw materials received from suppliers to the manufacturing process to the finished product to what gets printed on the packaging.

Proven4: It’s easy to see why your organization has earned the trust of so many pro athletes.

LT: NSF has relationships with MLB, NFL, PGA, LGPA, and NHL. So if it is not in the NSF Certified for Sport® program, it is not permitted for those athletes to ingest.

Proven4: Was the addition of the NHL a recent thing?

LT: They took steps recently to inform teams that no dietary supplements are permitted for NHL athletes to ingest unless they are NSF Certified for Sport®.

Proven4: Have you seen a trend toward companies veering toward an NSF Certified for Sport® certification?

LT: Between the end of 2013 and now, the number of NSF Certified for Sport® products has doubled, and [we’re] continuing to grow.

Proven4: It would seem to make sense that consumers want transparency.

LT: The NSF Certified for Sport® logo is what the Good Housekeeping logo used to be. An accredited program is what gives consumers confidence in light of bad stories.

Proven4: What’s next for the NSF Certified for Sport® program?

LT: We are continuing to develop a relationship with police and fire departments. In the past, we’ve had an official relationship with police … [in] New York, where officers were getting positive hits when tested. So we explained our program [to other departments] and now we have other [public safety] departments stepping in and demanding that of their officers.