What does NSF Certified for Sport Mean?
Most professional, collegiate, and amateur athletes care about the quality and safety of the products they consume; they want and need to know that the beverages and supplements they take to improve their training, performance, or recovery are free of harmful substances and have been rigorously tested for safety and quality. This is why NSF developed its Certified for Sport® program which launched in 2005.
NSF International is an independent third-party organization that provides certification for dietary supplements, as well as other products and services related to public health and safety. NSF's Certified for Sport program, in particular, is important to athletes because it provides a level of assurance that the dietary supplements they are taking do not contain banned substances and have been tested for quality and safety.
Prior to 2005, steroids were difficult to identify in products on the market because no organization was testing products for adulterants, steroids, or banned substances. Many professional athletic organizations and leagues knew that this type of testing was needed; thus, NSF worked with Major League Baseball and other organizations to discuss their needs for a product testing and certification program. The goal was that an athlete could pick up an NSF Certified for Sport® product and immediately know that it had been thoroughly tested for harmful ingredients, contaminants and banned substances.
WHY IS NSF IMPORTANT TO YOU AS AN ATHLETE?
NO RISK AND ALL THE BENEFITS
"Recovering properly is a huge part of being a professional athlete. I’ve tried a ton of products out there and these drinks are at the top of that list. Add in that they’re now NSF certified, making them 100% completely safe for us athletes, putting them on a whole other playing field. No risk and all the benefits."
SAFETY IS THE PRIORITY
"NSF: Certified for Sport ensures me that the products I'm using are safe for me to consume. Since Adapt is now certified, I can confidently use this product and know that my safety as an athlete is the priority."
Why is NSF Important for Athletes?
Many athletes take dietary supplements to support their overall health, their training and their performance, but not all of these substances are not regulated by the FDA. This means that the quality and safety of these products can vary depending on the brand’s commitment to producing safe, high quality products. Some might contain ingredients that are not listed on the label or that are prohibited by sports organizations such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
NSF's Certified for Sport program gives athletes a way to identify supplements that have met strict standards and benchmarks for safety and quality and that have been tested for prohibited substances. This can help athletes reduce their risk of unknowingly consuming a banned substance and potentially experience negative health effects or face disciplinary action.
“NSF: Certified for Sport ensures me that the products I’m using are safe for me to consume. Since Adapt is certified, I can confidently use this product and know that my safety as an athlete is the priority.” Colton Cowell - Volleyball National Champion and two-time All-American
What Does it Take to Get NSF Certified?
For a product to become NSF certified, a brand needs to complete the following steps:
1. Meet with NSF to walk through the certification steps, including what documentation is required.
2. NSF gathers documentation, including product labels, formulations, COAs for every ingredient, and a Product Information Form that details the product’s manufacturer and packager, and what category it falls into. Any facility manufacturing or packaging NSF certified products must also meet rigorous auditing criteria.
3. NSF begins the product’s technical review process. The team assesses the following: a desktop calculation of the formulation to ensure it aligns with the facts panel; each ingredient has an established upper safety limit; evaluation of the COAs with assays to confirm that the purity and the type of ingredient is accurate; and checking that the product meets regulatory and standard requirements.
4. When the technical review process is completed and approved, the product undergoes testing. There are three main testing categories required for Certified for Sport®: 1) facts panel label claims, 2) contamination (microbiological and chemical), and 3) a banned substance screen for substances prohibited in sport.
5. If the product passes each test, the total package goes through a final review to make sure the scope of work has been completed in its entirety.
6) The product is then officially certified and listed as NSF Certified for Sport® on nsf.org, nsfsport.com and the NSF Sport mobile app.
From start to finish, it takes about 45 days after the first conversation to earn certification; the timeline is strongly dictated by how quickly a company can provide the necessary documentation. To ensure products remain compliant with the certification requirements, audits and testing are repeated frequently.
HOW TO KNOW IF A BEVERAGE IS NSF CERTIFIED
To find out if a beverage is NSF Certified, look for their blue and orange logo on the products label. You can also go to NSF’s Certified Products Search page, type in the name of the beverage you’re interested in, and see if it’s certified or not.
ADAPT SUPERWATER: THE FIRST HEMP BEVERAGE CERTIFIED FOR SPORT
In 2022, Adapt SuperWater became the first hemp beverage to earn this certification. Adapt’s founder/owner, Richie Harrington, a former Division 1 college athlete who is dedicated to producing the safest, highest-quality beverage for professional and amateur athletes, was determined to provide a product that would be a great alternative to products on the market that are more harmful than helpful. That product is Adapt SuperWater, NSF certified and backed by professional athletes from a variety of different sports. Take it from them – it’s time to leave the sugary sports drinks with artificial colors and unpronounceable ingredients behind. It’s time to Adapt.