Informed Sport Testing

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Quick bite: 

Informed Choice is a quality assurance program specifically created to serve athletes competing at the highest levels of collegiate, professional and Olympic sport subject to stringent anti-doping rules and testing protocols. They also recommend products for military and first responder personnel undergoing regular workplace drug test protocols.

Informed-Sport, a programme of quality assurance for the sports nutrition industry and its suppliers, tests supplements independently for substances on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA's) list of banned substances.

What Is Informed Sport?

Research has demonstrated that up 12% to 55% of supplements on the market may contain banned ingredients that compromise performance in sport.

To address this problem, Informed-Sport was established and ensure that you can trust your sports nutrition partners with taking your performance as seriously as you do.

Each Informed-Sport certified product undergoes independent third-party testing for over 280+ banned substances and label claim compliance review.

Informed Sport is considered essential for elite athletes and those subject to stringent doping regulations and drug testing, such as members of the military and special forces.

Who Owns Informed Sport?

In 2008, LGC (previously HFL Sports Science), one of the world's foremost doping control laboratories, created Informed Sport to partner with supplements and manufacturers by providing high-quality analytical testing that will lower risks of products containing banned substances.

This is in order to enable athletes, anti-doping bodies, sporting organizations and nutrition industry groups to easily identify products certified for quality and safety through rigorous pre-registration audits before testing every batch sold before sale.

Informed Sport - Trusted by Elite Athletes, Armed Forces and Sports Nutrition Consumers

Since 2008, in collaboration with UK Anti-Doping, informed sport has been the only global third party testing and certification program that examines every product before it hits the market.

Recognized by leading anti-doping and sporting organizations around the globe and trusted by elite athletes, armed forces personnel, sports nutrition consumers and fitness trainers for its ability to reduce banned substance risk minimisation measures.

The main point here is reduce the risk, as it isn't fail safe, and we'll talk about this later.

In order to become certified, companies must submit multiple samples of all their current supplements for testing by Informed Sport.

Each batch will be tested against Informed Sport's standards via paper-based assessment; once this stage of the program has been successfully completed, they will be awarded certification and can use the Informed Sport logo on their packaging.

To maintain certification, every production batch is tested by LGC's ISO 17025 accredited prohibited substances screening lab.

Blind testing - whereby Informed Sport independently purchases and tests products purchased at retail (physical or online) to further ensure all batches of certified product are safe - may also be performed to further verify compliance.

Is Informed Sport the Same As NSF?

Are we confusing NSF International with informed Sport?

NSF International is an organization which creates standards and certification programs designed to protect food, water, consumer products and the environment.

Their tests and certification process check appliances, pharmaceuticals and sports supplements against health requirements while maintaining records on any banned substances found within supplements so as to prevent doping.

LGC Group's Informed Sport certification programme is an independent laboratory renowned for drug testing.

This certification includes product reviews and testing of ingredients and manufacturing processes to assess risks and minimise cross-contamination within manufacturing processes.

Informed Sport's certification program requires every batch of supplements sold on the market to be tested for banned substances prior to sale, including testing the raw materials, finished product and post-certification blind sampling.

Elite athletes, military personnel and others subject to anti-doping regulations and random drug tests can use supplements with a reduced risk of ingestion of trace amounts of prohibited substances that might cause positive drug tests.

Informed Sport is currently used by military personnel from over 40 countries as well as elite athletes from the NFL, MLB, AFL, UFC and more.

Athletes can quickly access a list of certified products in the app by scanning either a Universal Product Code (UPC) or European Article Number (EAN) barcode on a supplement bottle.

How Do You Know If Supplements Are Batch Tested?

Dietary supplements are regulated post-market, unlike medicine which must go through an approval process before going onto store shelves; that leaves them open to contamination from prohibited substances as well as contamination risks that can cause accidental doping tests in athletes who must adhere to anti-doping rules.

A solution could be seeking out third-party certification programs which test both purity and safety when purchasing supplements from manufacturers.

How Can You Determine If Your Supplements Have Been Batch Tested?

In general, to know whether a supplement has been batch tested you can refer to its packaging and check for a certificate number or lot number listed either on the bottom of the bottle or label - you could also visit its manufacturer's website and see if there are any certificates available.

Third parties performing batch testing must be impartial to supplement companies; this will prevent potential conflicts of interest from emerging.

There are various services offering batch testing services for supplements; each service varies with regards to frequency of testing, what they test for and whether or not their analysis includes WADA Prohibited List violations.

What is Informed Choice Certified?

Have you seen our products with Informed Choice or Informed Sport logos on them?

These certifications, given by an independent third-party certifying agency known as Informed Choice, help to reassure athletes and consumers that these supplements meet high standards.

The frequency of testing is the key difference between Informed Sport & Informed Choice. Before a product can be sold, Informed Sport tests each batch. Informed Choice tests its products monthly on a blind test schedule.

The Informed Choice team tests for an extensive list of substances, from traditional steroids like ephedrine and methyltestosterone, through stimulants such as DMAA and oxilofrine, and methamphetamine-type compounds to ensure you are receiving products and ingredients which have been thoroughly vetted before purchase.

It's an extensive (and expensive) process which ensures your purchases have been fully approved before you make them.

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What is the Testing Process?

There's a three stage procvess to testing.

Stage One 

This assessment is based on years of experience with supplement analysis. It evaluates the integrity of all manufacturing stages, from the supply of raw materials to third-party manufacturing and packaging and storage.

All information between LGC, the program participant and the administrator is kept strictly confidential.

Stage Two

This stage tests the product(s) to ISO 17025 STANDARDS

Pre-Certification Test

LGC is required to test at least three units of a finished product in the final packaging for one commercial batch. The certification testing plan can be altered if there are more than one batch.

Testing after Certification

LGC requires that members submit two packs (finished products) for each batch they manufacture. The ISO-certified supplement screen of LGC is used to test the A sample. The B sample (the second pack) is stored in LGC's secure storage for the entire shelf life of this particular batch.

Blind Testing

Blind testing is also required for each product certified (typically 4 times per year). This ensures the product's integrity. Blind samples are bought by the Informed Sport administrator from retail outlets. 

How Much Does it Cost to Get Supplements Tested?

It can run in to thousands of pounds or dollars. Unfortunately this places many smaller supplement firms at a disadvantage as they cannot necessarily afford to go through the process. 

Is Informed Sport Trustworthy?

Supplements bearing the Informed Sport logo have been independently certified as being free from banned substances, giving customers an improved level of assurance when purchasing these supplements.

While buying products with the Sports Informed or Sports Choice logo there's a higher level of protection that your product doesn't contain any banned substances, but it isn't a guarantee.

Negatives of Informed Sport Testing

Sports Informed check three finished units from a batch. However, thereafter two units per batch are sent over by the manufacturer/brand for testing.

Thereafter there are typically 4 blind tests per year from retail outlets.

As you can see, once the initial batch has been tested before it is retailed it is quite easy to manupulate the testing. 

Furthermore, you must check every product you buy to see if that batch has been tested or not. 

The reality is, a customer will see the Informed Sport logo on a product and automatically assume it is safe and free of contaminents when this may not be the case.

There are also reports that certain brands will have the Informed Sport logo on packaging for products that do not necessarily undergo testing and also the logo may be used on brand websites when only certain products in their range are tested.

Having the logo on their website may create the perception that all products in their range are tested and safe to use.


Established by one of the world's premier doping control laboratories in 2008, LGC established informed Sport as a globally acclaimed banned substance testing and certification programme for sports supplements.

As elite athletes, it is crucial that they can trust that their supplements are free from contamination with any substances that could result in them failing drug tests. Even one banned substance could have lifelong repercussions and cost millions in endorsement deals.

Athletic athletes must adhere to stringent doping control standards and drug testing regulations, and any trace of contamination could have dire repercussions for their careers, reputations and endorsement opportunities.

Studies reveal that supplements may contain low levels of steroids, stimulants, or other prohibited substances which could produce positive test results.

Informed Sport work closely with supplement manufacturers and suppliers by offering top-of-the-line analytical testing services and certified supplements, to minimise this risk of contamination of their products.

That said, it is not a guarantee that seeing the logo on a product website or packaging is a guarantee that all products ion the brand's range are tested and certified.

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