With a lot of pro riders getting penalized after testing positive for a banned substance, you start to wonder just what is on this banned substances list…

Hi Levi, I notice ACT has Maca root as the last ingredient. I’ve heard that Maca root is banned or not legal in professional cycling. Can you confirm that is not true? I recently starting using Maca root powder for my morning workouts, would love your opinion.

Maca Margie

Hi Margie,

healthworks maca root powder

Interesting question! With all the talk of banned substances and rider suspensions, I do get curious what exactly is on this list.

Luckily for us, at the beginning of 2009, the UCI revamped their website and it’s easier to access these files.

Everything is listed in the UCI rules and regulations section, including the Anti-Doping rules (complete with the current list of banned substances.)

Considering some of the “classes” of drugs that are banned (like stimulants), it wouldn’t surprise me if Maca root would cause one to test positive. For example, caffeine and insulin are both mentioned in some of the UCI rules and specifically in the UCI health documents.

Supplements are tricky. Definitely review Supplement 411 and consider downloading the app.

Cycling isn’t unique in its rules, though. Just read this report about certain flavors of Vitamin Water being banned by the NCAA. Yep, flavored water with a few herbs in it is outlawed!

(Update: that article seemed to jump the gun a little and was probably just to attract attention. It seems Vitamin Water is perfectly fine for student athletes to drink if they choose.)

So you can see a lot of legitimate and/or common substances can cause you to test positive, if the dose is high enough. Due to the inconvenience, I wouldn’t worry about any banned substances unless I was going for a win in the Tour de France or Olympics in the very near future.

As far as my opinion on Maca root, I’ve never taken it straight, but it looks good from what I’ve read about it. And I like the idea of it being a natural herb, rather than some synthetic powdered crap you can get to aid workouts!

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  1. here is a link to the actual list

  2. Something pretty interesting I found on the list is that its not against the rules to consume alcohol while “In-competition”. You can show up to the start totally drunk and it isn’t against Anti-Doping rules.

  3. Thanks for the updated link. I still had the 2008 info. (The UCI site is much nicer this year.)

    And that’s good news if you get the chance to drink champagne while cruising the last stage of the Tour de France!

  4. You’re welcome

  5. Hey Levi and CoachLevi.com readers,

    Adam Brown from Coca-Cola and vitaminwater here. I read your blog post from yesterday and understand the confusion out there surrounding the NCAA’s policy on banned and impermissible substances as it relates to our vitaminwater varieties.

    I wanted to let you know that yesterday, the NCAA put up a statement regarding the inaccurate coverage in the AdAge.com article. You can take a look at NCAA’s response here: http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/PressArchive/2009/For%2Bthe%2BRecord/20090211_ftr_ncaa_vitaminwater_rls.html

    I hope that this answers some of the questions you and your readers have.


    P.S. Nice review of the Giro Eclipse helmet. I actually have the Giro Indicator and have the same issue with my sunglasses not fitting right. Other than that, good helmet.

  6. Thanks for the update Adam.

    I guess that shows just how hard athletes have it these days – not only do they have to follow a banned substances list, they have to sift through conflicting information about what is and is not banned!

  7. Can Maca root and garcinia Cambogia test positive for opiates

  8. Maca is not banned directly. But it can increase your body’s natural testosterone levels. Therefore it can inadvertently make you test positive. As a professional athlete, I have been advised by multiple nutritionists working for WADA to AVOID this substance.

  9. As far as I know Maca is not on the banned substance list so can be used to assist in recovery and may also aid performance

  10. Does wild maca powder create a false positive ua for amphetamines

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