Cooper Complete Releases Statement on Tainted Supplement

A spokesperson for Cooper Complete has sent SwimSwam a statement saying that it is aware of the reports that one of its products, Cooper Complete Elite Athlete, has been blamed for causing a positive doping test for American swimmer Madisyn Cox. The company says that while it is aware of the reports, they are conducting further testing to determine if the contamination was in fact caused by their product.

Cox was originally suspended for 2 years, but on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, armed with new tests showing the substance as being present in a multi-vitamin she took, but not on that multi-vitamin’s label, that was reduced to 6 months.

Trimetazidine, used in some parts of the world to treat heart conditions, is not approved by the FDA for use in the United States. Still, what Cooper Complete calls “microscopic traces” found its way into the Cooper Complete Elite Athlete multivitamins. While all parties have agreed that the amount of Trimitazidine in Cox’s blood and in the supplement was very small, it was enough to trigger a positive doping test.

On Friday, SwimSwam reported that the supplement, which previously had a 5-star rating, was no longer available on Cooper’s website. In response to the statement, SwimSwam requested more information on where the factory producing the supplement was located, if Cooper had pulled all other production from that facility, and if they had tested any of their other supplements for contamination.

Update: after posting, Cooper responded that the multivitamins are produced at a manufacturing facility in California. They say that they use more than one manufacturer, and that all of their supplements are  currently being tested by an independent third party testing laboratory. This raises more questions about how a manufacturing facility in California would become contaminated with a substance that isn’t for sale in the United States, especially given the generally-high cost of manufacturing in California.

Cox, who swam collegiately at the University of Texas, was a member of the 2017-2018 US National Team, the 2015 Big 12 Conference Swimmer of the Year, and won 2 medals at the 2017 World Championships: gold as a prelims swimmer on the 800 free relay, and bronze individually in the 200 IM.

Cooper Complete’s Full Statement:

We are deeply concerned about the reports regarding one of our vitamin products. The health and safety of Cooper Complete customers is our top priority. We learned from recent news reports that the suspension of USA swimmer Madisyn Cox earlier this year was due to a substance found in her routine drug test that has been linked back in the news reports to a particular lot of Cooper Complete Elite Athlete multivitamins. The test results showed microscopic traces of Trimetazidine. Trimetazidine is not a substance that is in our product formulation and Cooper Complete immediately contacted the multivitamin manufacturing facility and has identified an independent third party testing laboratory to perform further testing. The product that Ms. Cox purchased is no longer in our inventory.

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This is a lesson on how these products are manufactured. Multivitamins are made in huge vats that also make other drugs. These vats are not cleaned to a sterile condition, which makes it highly likely that trace amounts of other banned substances get into seemingly harmless multivitamins. Please make this a lesson that natural food sources are the best course of action for any athlete who may be drug tested.


Good to know that at least you are inspecting those huge vats.


While a possibility, cross-contamination from manufacturing equipment is a less likely a source of contamination than the occurrence of impure API (“active pharmaceutical ingredients” or supplement ingredients in this case). Even if a supplement or drug is manufactured in the USA, in a manufacturing facility using GMP standards (cleaning the equipment well, lot batches, etc) nearly all API is manufactured in India or China. API sourced from these geographical locations should not automatically be considered as possessing contamination; but the probability of contamination is significantly higher than API produced in the USA or EU. However, the cost of USA or EU sourced API is orders of magnitude higher…this is why even supplements manufactured (pressed into a tablet, encapsulated, etc) in… Read more »


Is this going to be on the test? Because if it isn’t, I’m not going to bother reading it.


Well said!





Steve Nolan

I know almost less than nothing about the supplement industry, but can trimitazidine still be used in drugs made here but shipped overseas?

I mean, it’s far more likely these were manufactured outside the US tho.


For example, the parent company of Centrum multivitamin is Pfizer (huge pharmaceutical company). Trimetazidine is used in treatment of cardiovascular disease. So, trimetazidine is permitted to be used in the US and is likely manufactured in the US. It sounds as if Cooper Complete is using one of these large scale manufacturing distributors to manufacture their supplement. These large scale distributors are like contracts. They have many different clients, many of which are pharmaceutical companies. The pharmaceutical industry is very shady with the way they make drugs and there is no formal regulations in place but the US to prevent these trace amounts getting into products that are not meant to be doctor prescribed medications.


It would be illegal to manufacture a non-FDA approved drug such as trimetazidine in the U.S. More likely, a component in the multivitamin is imported from a foreign facility that manufactures trimetazidine as well.


Trimetazadine is not FDA approved in the USA. Call any USA pharmacy or hospital. Where is the US manufacturer obtaining their chemical? Cheap chemicals outside the USA and poor USA laboratory testing of their outsourced chemicals?
FDA pharmaceuticals are tested to a higher standard than multivitamins and other supplements.
Is the manufacturer of the multivitamin in California a NSF standards Laboratory? If so, was the multivitamin tested to that standard? If not, why not?
California’s Prop 65 requires ingredients on the label. Was Trimetazidine on the label?


The new label is going to contain:

Manufactured on equipment that also processes Trimetazidine.


It only makes sense that Pfizer is a huge pharmaceutical company since they need those huge vats to make the Centrum multivitamins in.

mike in dallas

At this point, i just don’t see how any elite swimming athlete would continue using supplements?!
As the story relates, even the manufacturer cannot explain how this happened, esp. given that the drug is NOT permitted in USA.
. . .what is the adage: you can never be too careful?

Bear drinks beer

Supplements themselves are more or less performance-enhancing. Just legal drugs in my opinion. Why not just eat real foods?


You are wrong, Bear Drinks Beer.


Sometimes, people have a deficiency that would take a whole lot of food to combat (or they may have an allergy to the food itself – if somebody has a vitamin D deficiency and a dairy allergy, they can’t drink milk to help). Supplements can help this.

I do think that it might be helpful for an elite athlete to take only the necessary supplements, and not take multivitamins (back to the example used above – just a vitamin D supplement instead of a multivitamin).


Where do you think the vitamin D in dairy comes from? It’s supplemented!


Right, in rest of people multivitamins only amount for an expensive pee and may even be harmful.


This is where the discussion takes a turn for me – if the supplement was really performance enhancing, it would banned. If it doesn’t enhance performance, it isn’t illegal so why bother taking it? Where is the line for performance enhancing and who draws it? Beet juice can help delay production lactic acid why is that ok?

Steve Nolan

Know what’s performance-enhancing? Every single thing someone takes with a therapeutic use exemption. Cortisone injections. Advil. Caffeine.

Where is the line for performance enhancing and who draws it?

Someone makes it up. It’s very silly.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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