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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Medication versus Supplements - Is There a Difference?

Last night I was reading a racing publication and there was an advertisement for a 'natural' supplement which stimulates a horses natural EPO to get more oxygen in the blood and avoids the potential danger of illegal medication to increase EPO in the horse.  On the bottom of this advertorial was a disclaimer from the publisher that they neither recommend or disapprove of the supplement and have not tested it.

I am sure there are some trainers who are using this product.  While not the same as using an illegal medication, does it really matter, assuming the supplement works?  After all, either way you are playing with the horse's natural chemistry to stimulate the amount of oxygen in their bloodstream so they will race better.  Should these supplements be legal?

It reminds me of discussions my wife and I have had.  I unfortunately am a poster child for pharmaceuticals; my wife is a big believer in natural supplements.  I asked my wife, what is the difference between the two.  Yes, pharmaceuticals may be artificial medications to produce a desired response and may have side effects, but what is the difference between a medication and a supplement from a third party?  If you stimulate the production of a substance in the body, there must be a side effect as if it was a medication.  At least with a medication, there is some regulation and some documentation as to what the medicine will do.  A 'natural' supplement has little regulation and the side effects are not necessarily known even if the desired impact is achieved.

My question is, is there a difference between an illegal medication and a natural supplement as to the impact on a race horse's chemical make up?  Should natural supplements be legal or should they be banned as well?  Now, let me be perfectly clear I am not talking about electrolytes and vitamins, but supplements which are intended to improve actual performance to simulate the effects of a banned medication.  Is there a difference between a trainer who uses illegal medications versus one who uses a natural supplement or is it a case of "you say tomato, I say tomato"?

Some food for thought.  I would be interested in your thoughts.

Chris E Wittstruck, attorney and representative of the SOA of NY has written a piece on the Dutrow situation in New York.  It is a tad bit textbookish with regards to legaleeze, but a read worth reading just the same.  He takes no side on the situation, but provides just the facts as it regards to the law.

1 comment:

Cangamble said...

I think that to answer the question, these type of things should be public, on a racing form. It is the same with hyperbaric chambers.
Lets get the info if this stuff really works and how much it works, and then decide whether it should be legal, all the while, not keeping the bettor in the dark.