Higenamine BANNED by WADA Starting in 2017!

Higenamine Banned

Are you a drug tested athlete? Then you better understand today’s blog post!!!

Drug tested athletes pay attention! Today’s blog post is especially for you!

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently updated its list of prohibited ingredients for 2017 in The World Anti-Doping Agency International Standard and they’ve added an extremely common popular stimulant to the list: Higenamine (a.k.a. Norcoclaurine).[1] It’s also sometimes labeled as Nelumbo Nucifera Extract as well as Sacred Lotus.

This could spell trouble for a number of wildly popular products on the market, including several of our favorite fat burners. We doubt many of them will reformulate, so it’s up to the athlete to realize that they shouldn’t be taking this ingredient!

What Gives? Why is Higenamine Banned?

Higenamine wasn’t the lone beta agonist added to the 2017 banned substances list, and it’s pretty easy to see why when you look at the research. Typically, these kinds of compounds increase noradrenaline levels and can also widen the airway, which results in easier breathing. Both of these traits ultimately mean performance enhancement, and now many ingredients that work on these pathways, including higenamine, are banned.

Typically, the effects of higenamine really aren’t that potent, but they’re still noticeable to an elite athlete, and that’s why they’ve been chopped.

For a complete listing of ALL ingredients banned in WADA-sanctioned events in 2017, click here. You can also read the summary of changes here.

All changes to the current WADA banned list will go into effect January 1, 2017. So, if you’re using a supplement that currently contains higenamine, you will be fine if you cease product use now:

Stop using higenamine immediately if you intend to continue competing in WADA-tested events!

But if you’re not a drug-tested athlete, should you consider using them if you want a slight performance boost? Perhaps… but you should always consult with your doctor first!

Will Companies Reformulate?

Higenamine Molecule

WADA recently updated its list of prohibited ingredients for 2017 to include the common popular stimulant Higenamine (a.k.a. Norcoclaurine). Will companies reformulate it out? Maybe, but probably not

It’s honestly doubtful that any will reformulate, but that’s the big question on our minds as well.

Given the large number of products that contain higenamine it’s possible that a few will consider reformulating any products that include higenamine, but we’re of the opinion that it’s a major concern for them yet.

After all, most of us are not drug-tested athletes. And when we’re not drug-tested, getting a safe and slightly-effective performance enhancer is actually a good thing for a lot of us, so we hope it sticks around!

This is why drug tested athletes really need to stay away from the majority of mass public sites – we are a completely demographic from you. Instead:

What to do if Drug-Tested? Informed-Choice and Informed-Sport Certified Supplements

Informed Choice Logo

If you’re a drug-tested athlete, we strongly recommend only sticking to products whose websites state that they were manufactured in Informed-Choice facilities.

If you’re a drug-tested athlete and want to be absolutely sure that you’re not taking a banned substance, you need to research the following two organizations and the supplements they approve:

  1. Informed-Choice
  2. Informed-Sport

Of the above two, we most highly suggest looking at products that are only manufactured in Informed-Choice / Informed-Sport inspected facilities and tested in accordance with the Informed-Choice / Informed-Sport program requirements, since they have the strictest supplement tests we’ve seen yet. Their inspectors not only test finished product batches, but also test a supplement manufacturer’s equipment for banned substance residue!

Because of this, most manufacturers and brands that are Informed-Choice or Informed-Sport certified are rarely going to even touch anything that’s banned at all — it’s just not worth the risk of losing certification. There are currently only 26 supplement manufacturing facilities in the world that are Informed-Choice/Informed-Sport certified, with dozens more approved to manufacture Informed-Choice and Informed-Sport products. You can read more about their extremely strict processes in the links above.

Drug-Tested Athletes have a higher responsibility… and higher supplement costs go with that

Yes, supplements manufactured in these facilities are more expensive, but again, if you’re a drug-tested athlete, the burden is on YOU to know what’s banned – not sites like ours or the general industry at large. Whereas we love many banned performance enhancers on this site, you absolutely cannot afford to fail a single test!

PEScience was ahead of the curve on this one

Interestingly, we can’t help but wonder if PEScience has some inside sources in high places at WADA. Reason being, PES recently reformulated (and in our opinions, downgraded) their popular fat burners Alphamine and Norcodrene.

Both of these were taken from pure fat burners to supplements that were more like “light energy supplements”, and the removal of higenamine was definitely part of those reformulations.

PES even went on to say,

“We also suspect that it might have to do with fear of higenamine soon being under the FDA crosshairs, where the ingredient may receive a bans similar to picamilon. Now we’re down two good fat burning ingredients.”

While we disagree that this ingredient should be in the FDA’s crosshairs, as it’s easily found in nature and has several safety studies, but the FDA’s been known to do crazier things.


WADA - World Anti Doping Agency

Drug-tested athletes: Don’t even think about it!!! This ingredient is legal in 2016, but that doesn’t meant it’s okay for drug-tested athletes!

We already knew the supplement industry was headed for major changes in the coming year with the recent 2016 FDA NDI Draft Guidelines, but now it appears that WADA has some changes of their own.

Higenamine isn’t as common as say caffeine (which hopefully NEVER gets banned), but there are enough notable products circulating on the market containing it that’s sure to get some kind of uproar from the fans and supplement companies alike.

Keep your eyes peeled folks, the first shot in the war against the supplement industry may have just been fired!

For a complete listing of ALL ingredients banned in WADA-sanctioned events in 2017, click here. You can also read the summary of changes here.[2]


About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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  1. https://wada-main-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/resources/files/2016-09-29_-_wada_prohibited_list_2017_eng_final.pdf
  2. https://wada-main-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/resources/files/2016-09-29_-_wada_summary_of_modifications_eng_final.pdf

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