The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has issued a warning regarding Higenamine, a banned substance also known as norcoclaurine HCI, reminding athletes that the ingredient is still found in supplements sold around Australia.
Higenamine, originally developed for weight management, was prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency for use in sports as a modification to the 2017 Prohibited Substances list. The substance is specifically named within the ‘non-selective beta-20 agonist’ category.
Per the ASADA, six Australian athletes have tested positive for Higenamine since November 2016, bringing the total number of positives for that substance to 13 across nine different sports.
Described by manufacturers as ‘natural’, the ASADA says that Higenamine is often listed under a different name on supplement labels, making its avoidance more difficult. It is often listed as the following:
To prevent a positive test, the ASADA suggests avoiding supplements all together, as no one can ‘guarantee 100% that they do not contain prohibited substances.’ If supplements are taken, the organization recommends only taking those that have been tested by an independent auditing company.
Even then, the ASADA’s website provides the disclaimer that, “because of the manufacturing processes, the contents of supplements can vary from batch-to-batch and may contain prohibited substances in sport regardless of what is listed in the label. As such, ASADA cannot give any specific supplements the all clear. ASADA does not endorse any supplements.”