In January of 2006 United States Skeleton competitor Zach Lund was at the peak of his career. He was ranked number one in the world and was the obvious favorite to win the gold medal at the olympic games the next month in Turin, Italy. Unfortunately, it was at this time that he received devastating news. He had tested positive for a banned substance.
The banned substance was finasteride. Finasteride is the active substance in the drug Propecia, which is commonly used to combat male pattern baldness. Lund was predisposed to male pattern baldness and had been using Propecia for seven years in an effort to delay the loss of his youthful head of hair for as long as possible. When he received the bad news he was confused – he didn’t know what finasteride was. When he figured out that it was the active ingredient in his balding medication he was even more perplexed, yet he surely figured that this misunderstanding could be easily resolved.
Only very recently had the world anti-doping agency (WADA) added finasteride to their list of banned substances. The reason was not because finasteride offered any performance enhancing benefits, but because its use threw a wrench in the testing methods that the doping chemists used to detect various anabolic steroids. Finasteride blocks an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase which is involved in the metabolism of a variety of steroids. Because of this, the use of finasteride could muddy up the detection of certain steroids and potentially result in a steroid positive urine sample being misidentified as steroid negative. So by adding finasteride to the list of prohibited substances as a “masking agent”, WADA could conveniently solve this dilemma.
Unfortunately, finasteride – as the active ingredient in propecia – had for years been a commonly used medicine by men like Lund who were concerned about hair loss. Guys like Lund don’t know what finasteride is, nor do they have the ability to comb through every update of the banned substances list to match esoteric chemical names to things that might be in their bathroom cabinet. And it’s not like WADA made any effort to make sure athletes were aware of this new addition to the list – as far as they were concerned that’s the athletes problem, not theirs.
WADA demanded a two year suspension for Lund’s finasteride positive. Even though Lund was not aware that finasteride had been added to the list he still had been reporting for several years to the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation all the drugs he was taking, including Propecia. Obviously if Lund’s intention was to take steroids and evade detection he would not have been so open about his use of the balding medication.
After some wrangling with USADA, WADA, and the court of arbitration Lund was able to get his punishment reduced to a one year suspension. Still, Lund missed out on his opportunity to take home olympic gold.
Lund never regained is prominence in the sport of skeleton after his doping drama. Although he competed in the 2010 winter olympics in Vancouver he failed to win a medal. And finally, in a cruel twist of irony, in 2009 WADA removed finasteride from the list of prohibited substances.
Hope Solo is the goaltender for the United States women’s soccer team. The U.S. team has achieved enormous publicity in recent years with their gold medal victory in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and their heartbreaking shootout loss to the Japan team in the finals of the FIFA World Cup in 2011. Girl’s Soccer in the U.S. is huge, and as the most recognized member of Team USA Solo has a huge fan base – especially among young athletic females who look up to her adoringly as a role model. It’s no shocker that sponsors have taken notice of this, and many millions of dollars of advertising money have been made off of the women soccer team phenomenon – with Solo at the center of it all.
So it had to be a moment of panic for all concerned on June 15th when it was discovered that Solo had tested positive for a banned substance – the diuretic Canrenone.
Diuretics are banned for two reasons. First and foremost, they can be used to dilute urine and therefore mask the presence of other controlled substances. Secondly, they can be used to quickly lose weight which can be an advantage in sports where “making weight” is an issue, or in sports where being light and agile are an advantage. [soccer goaltender??]
Like Lund, Solo claimed that the drug was in her system as the result of a medication she was taking. In this case it was a medicine to help alleviate the discomforts associated with pre-menstrual syndrome. The situation with Solo however developed quite differently than the situation with Lund did. After cooperating with USADA, it was agreed that Solo had made an “honest mistake”, and she received a simple public warning. She was allowed to continue to participate in soccer matches, and most importantly she will be able to goaltend for Team USA at the London Olympics.
Gatorade won’t have to worry about blowing their multi-million dollar deal with Solo and there won’t be disillusioned little girls sadly removing Hope Solo posters from their bedroom walls. All remains well in the land of the free.
Competitive sports organizations often have policies that ban the use of substances that enhance performance. Substances include such well known things as steroids and stimulants, but they also include more esoteric ones such as blood boosters and agents that enhance metabolic efficiency. The granddaddy of doping policing bodies is the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and they have been known to throw just about anything on their list of prohibited substances. It doesn’t have to be a synthetic drug, or even unhealthy – it just has to have the ability (in their interpretation) to offer an unfair advantage . All of this makes me wonder whether newly published information regarding an extremely popular natural anti-aging supplement might not result in it being added to the next update of WADA list of prohibited substances. Furthermore, if it is not added to the list, I would be curious as to why it was not.
The supplement I am referring to is of course resveratrol (it’s in the title – duh). For those of you unfamiliar with resveratrol it is a compound found in many natural plants. It is particularly well known for being present in red wine, and as a consequence many of the purported health benefits of red wine have been attributed to resveratrol. Resveratrol gained particular notoriety due to work by a Harvard University researcher named Dr. David Sinclair in the 2000s. Sinclair was the first to demonstrate life extension benefits of resveratrol, and he also authored a highly publicized paper showing resveratrol dramatically preventing the harmful effects of a high fat diet on the health of mice. As a result of all this, resveratrol sales skyrocketed and it is perhaps the top selling anti-aging supplement ingredient on the market today.
Although there have been some studies with data hinting at the exercise benefits of resveratrol, nobody had done a study specifically designed to explore that in depth – until now. Researchers from University of Alberta explored what effects resveratrol might have on exercise performance in rats. The study was just recently published in Journal of Physiology. In the study they subjected rats to training on a treadmill five days a week for 12 weeks. They used air puffs and electric shock to prod the rats to run and the training was made progressively more difficult over time. The rats ran essentially to exhaustion (where they couldn’t be prodded anymore).
These exercising rats were divided into two groups. The first group received resveratrol in their chow (4g per Kg chow) and the second group just ate a control chow. The resveratrol group experienced a striking 21% increase in exercise performance versus the control group. The force generation in the slow twitch soleus muscle was also enhanced significantly over control. Fatty acid metabolism by muscle was enhanced in the resveratrol group versus control as well. Finally, the efficiency and structural integrity of the heart muscle was improved more so in the resveratrol group.
So it appears that resveratrol at high enough doses can be an effective enhancer of performance (at least as it concerns endurance exercise) and it appears to do this in large part by supporting the efficient utilization of fatty acids for fuel. Resveratrol has a low oral bioavailbility and extrapolating off the top of my head I would think that a human would need at least 2 grams a day of the compound to come close to matching any of these results. A topical formulation may be a good alternative to oral resveratrol due to its ability to avoid first pass liver metabolism as well as providing a sustained release effect ( a great topical resveratrol is Prototypes R-Spray http://www.prototypenutrition.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=R)
Now back to my original question. Will this be put on a list of prohibited substances? People ingest very small amounts of resveratrol in foods every day, however the amounts that were used in this study were orders of magnitude higher. Might WADA make a rule saying that levels of resveratrol in the urine over a certain low concentration are a violation? I can’t really think of anything stopping them. There is certainly no love lost between WADA and the supplement industry. It will be interesting to see what happens
Current opinion amongst diet experts regarding frequency of meals tells us that it is healthier to eat fewer small meals a day than one large meal. It is thought that this leads to more stable blood sugar and lower insulin levels – which leads to less fat gain and the subsequent metabolic consequences thereof, such as high blood pressure and inflammatory related dysfunctions. This practice of many small frequent meals throughout the day is referred to as “grazing”.
Two apparently unrelated studies were recently released however which seem to fly directly in the face of the grazing philosophy. The studies used mice and they compared the metabolic effects of a grazing type diet (referred to as ad libitum feeding in science) to a diet where the mice only were allowed to eat during a limited period of the day (referred to as time restricted feeding).
The first study was performed at the University of California, San Diego, La Jolla. In this study groups of mice were fed either a high fat diet or normal fat diet, with one group eating ad libitum (AL) and the second group practicing time restricted feeding (TR) where they could only eat during 8 hours of the day. Despite the fact that the animals ate the same amount of food, the TR group eating both the high fat and normal fat diets showed greater energy expenditure than the corresponding AL groups. The TR group eating the high fat diet seemed to be protected from the adverse effects of that sort of diet such as body fat gain, hyperinsulinemia, and liver dysfunction. They also showed improved coordination compared to the AL group on the high fat diet.
The second study was done at the Hebrew University of Jersusalem. The researchers looked at mice over 18 weeks while being fed a high fat diet. One group was fed AL while the other was fed TR (this time the restriction was for four hours during the day). There was also a third group that was fed a low fat diet AL. All groups consumed the same amount of calories. Compared to the AL low fat group the TR high fat group weighed 12 percent less, had 21 percent lower cholesterol, and had 1.4 times greater insulin sensitivity. The comparison to the AL high fat group was even more startling, with 18 percent less bodyweight, 30 percent less cholesterol, and a 3.7 times greater insulin sensitivity. In addition to this, plasma ghrelin (a hunger hormone) was 25% lower in the high fat TR group and plasma corticosterone (the mouse equivalent to the stress hormone cortisol) was 53% lower.
What does this all mean? This all has to do with circadian rhythms and the apparently important role it has in determining how animals utilize dietary energy. It’s a pretty complicated subject and has to do with things called clock genes and with all sorts of hormones related to the light/dark cycle. It’s known that mice and most lower animals are very influenced by circadian rhythms and these studies indicate that circadian rhythms and the timing of dietary intake have a pretty profound connection. However, we don’t know how this applies to humans. Yes, humans have circadian rhythms too but we probably are not influenced by them to the extent that a lot of other species are. In other words, this experiment may not work the same in humans at all. On the other hand, it might. My only concern is that most people I know would be so hungry by feeding time they will end up gorging and eating twice as much as they would if they had grazed throughout the day. Whatever the case, it would be interesting to find out.
SERM stands for selective estrogen receptor modulator. Also known as estrogen receptor agonist/ antagonists (or anti-estrogens), these drugs are used by bodybuilders to block the estrogenic effects of anabolic steroids and/or to help stimulate the production of natural testosterone after a steroid cycle. Examples of SERMs are tamoxifen (Nolvadex), clomiphene (Clomid), and raloxifene (Evista).
These drugs work at the estrogen receptor to block the effects of estrogen in certain areas of the body (such as the central nervous system and breast) while in other parts of the body (bone, liver) they act as active estrogens. Their antagonist properties at the breast make them useful in avoiding or treating anabolic steroid induced gynecomastia, while at the hypothalamus/pituitary the anti-estrogen action helps to block the suppressive effect of estrogens upon luteinizing hormone production (and hence testosterone production).
Lately, some people have explored using SERMs as an alternative to testosterone replacement therapy. Indeed they do work to stimulate testosterone production in most males and they can restore healthy levels to guys who have lower than normal testosterone blood readings. The question is however, are you getting the full biological effect of testosterone when you are taking a SERM?
This is an interesting question since it has been observed by many SERM users that the subjective physical response one gets from a SERM often does not correlate with the measured substantial increase in circulating testosterone. In other words, you don’t feel the same when your blood testosterone is doubled by taking a SERM as compared to when it is doubled by a testosterone injection or testosterone gel. Why is that?
There are some theories. Number one, SERMs may act as estrogen antagonists in the brain and it is well known that many of the effects of testosterone upon libido and mood are due to its local conversion to DHT as well as estrogen (estradiol) in the CNS. Therefore blocking the effects of estrogen upon key levels of the brain may blunt the psychological response one would expect from testosterone.
SERMs also are known to act as estrogen agonists (active estrogens) in the liver. This can have a couple of relevant effects. First of all, estrogens strongly promote the production of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This protein circulates in your blood and irreversibly binds to sex hormones such as testosterone, rendering them inactive. So with a SERM you may have high total testosterone levels but actual bioactive testosterone may not be so high.
Another consequence of SERM estrogen agonist action in the liver is suppression of IGF-1 production. IGF-1 is a systemic hormone responsible for whole body anabolism and it is produced in the liver under the positive influence of growth hormone, as well as other hormones such as insulin, thyroid hormone, and androgens. Estrogens on the other hand suppress IGF-1 production in the liver. In a recent study* it was directly demonstrated that administration of either tamoxifen or raloxifene to males increased LH and testosterone levels (as expected). However they also significantly reduced circulating IGF-1 production. Given the fact that it is well demonstrated that exogenous administration of testosterone increases IGF-1 levels in the blood you begin to see that this may be a big part of the SERM testosterone mystery. Systemic IGF-1 levels may not do much for contractile muscle tissue growth but they can lead to overall body composition changes and increases in bodyweight. The difference between the suppressed IGF-1 state (compared to control) of the SERM user to the heightened IGF-1 state (compared to control) of the exogenous testosterone user may indeed be quite profound.
In conclusion, I suspect that once all this information is considered and digested by people then the use of SERMs may go out of favor as an alternative to testosterone replacement therapy. It is my personal opinion that carefully titrated estrogen control via use of an aromatase inhibitor (perhaps combined with a proven natural testosterone elevator such as D-Aspartic Acid) may be a smarter way to achieve the end goal of natural testosterone elevation.
If you read part one you know I am discussing the mystery steroid in the product known as “Super DMZ”. I have to warn you, part 2 is going to be a little technical. I will summarize what is important though in simple language at the end.
The ingredient is referred to most commonly as Ethylene Deltenone,and it is a readily available synthetic intermediate used in china for manufacture of some progesterone derivative drugs. What it is, in organic chem speak, is the 3,3-ethylene ketal of estra-4,9-diene-3,17-dione. Estra-4,9-diene-3,17-dione, as you may know, was a popular prohormone ingredient that was commonly (and somewhat erroneously) referred to as “tren”. “Tren” was made a controlled substance (anabolic steroid) in 2010 as the result of an administrative act by the Department of Health and Human Services.
So what is a “ketal”? A ketal is a derivative of a ketone. Chemists use certain derivatives of ketones to protect them during synthesis procedures. For instance they may want to change another part of the molecule using some reaction but they can’t do that without messing up the ketone. So they first change the ketone into a derivative that is impervious to the procedure they want to perform on the other part of the molecule. Then, after the reaction is completed, the protecting group is removed (hydrolyzed) and the ketone is reformed. Examples of ketone protecting groups other than ketals are thioketals, acetals, oximes, semicarbazones, and many others.
[Note: this topic of ketone protecting groups has ramifications that go beyond just this product, and I will be discussing that later].
Check out the structures below. On the left is Ethylene Deltenone. On the right is what happens when you hydrolyze the ketal protecting group in Ethylene Dienone. You get “tren” (plus an equivalent of ethylene glycol). You may be wondering why the double bonds in Ethylene Dienone are shifted to different postitions. This is just something which commonly happens when ketals are formed from ketones with conjugated double bonds (alpha-enones). I don’t recall the explanation for this nor would it serve us to explain it here if I did (since this article is already far too technical).
So this is the question. We know that Ethylene Dienone is hydrolyzed by chemical means (acid does this readily). But will it hydrolyze in a similar manner in the body? I looked into this and I did find research on other steroid ethylene ketals. This research indicated that indeed ketals do readily hydrolyze in the body back to ketones (perhaps via enzymes). The second question is whether or not the double bond isomerization back to 4,9 will occur with in-vivo hydrolysis. This I am not entirely sure about. It may not. Acid may be required to catalyze this double bond shift and it is possible that in-vivo hydrolysis lacks this acid component. In that case you would be left with the double bonds in the 5(10),9(11) configuration – which is a configuration that I doubt is associated with much physiological activity.
What do we have here?
What we have here is (possibly) a “tren” pro-drug – a chemical derivative of “tren” that might convert to “tren” in the body. But didn’t they ban all chemical pro-drug derivatives with the latest update to the anabolic steroid control act back in 2010? Actually they didn’t. And although I didn’t say anything about it at the time I had to shake my head in disbelief when I read the provision in that law where they thought they were covering their assess by making all hydrolyzable chemical derivatives of AAS illegal. I shook my head because they only covered derivatives of alcohol groups – specifically esters and ethers. They completely neglected the whole slew of ketone derivative possibilities. I always thought in the back of my mind that someday someone would figure this out and make a ketal or hydrazine or whatever of a controlled steroid. Finally it appears someone has done just that (although I doubt IronMagLabs did this intentionally – rather I think they just stumbled into this).
Bottom line then is that this is the first ketone derivative of a controlled anabolic steroid to hit the market. Whether it fully converts into its original compound via double bond isomerization in-vivo is still up for debate. But this whole situation is much larger than “super dmz” because now that this has been done, and I have shined a big search light on it, we may expect to see nandrolone 3-oxime, or dihydrotestosterone-3,3-dimethyl acetal, or trenbolone-3-semicarbazone – all easily synthesized derivatives of controlled anabolic steroids that can slip through yet another loophole due to an inexplicable oversight by legislators.
When will this silliness end?
The bodybuilder message boards have been going crazy with folks who are curious about a new grey market supplement product called “Super DMZ”, sold by a company called IronMagLabs. This product contains two synthetic steroid products with structures (not to mention marketing claims) suggesting they are in the class of anabolic / androgens.
One of the ingredients is already known by many under the name of dimethazine. Dimethazine is a steroid that was sold at one time overseas and consists of two molecules of methasterone (aka superdrol) linked together by an azine group at the 3 positions. This azine group is hydrolyzable in the body so basically dimethazine is a methasterone prodrug. As such it delivers many of the same anabolic effects as methasterone, along as presenting similar toxic risks.
The second ingredient in Super DMZ is the interesting ingredient and the one surrounded by all the mystery. Much of the mystery arises from the fact that IronMagLabs is being deliberately evasive about the true nature of the compound. They have changed the name of the compound once already, and the names they have utilized had faulty syntax and spelling.
The first name they used, even though they screwed it up, was descriptive enough that myself and a couple of other people were able to decipher its identity. IronMagLabs then oddly changed the name, perhaps due to fear that the first name was too descriptive and not secret enough. Forget the fact that it is illegal to not disclose ingredients on a label (this is the bizarro world of grey market supplements). Anyway, the first name they used was 3-ethylenedioxy-stem-5(10),9(11)-dien-17-one. Although they bastardized this name it is pretty clear that what they are referring to is 3,3-ethylenedioxy-estra-5(10),9(11)-17-one. Now before I explain what this compound is (i.e. what its used for, and what probably happens to it in the body) I will tell you what IronMagLabs is claiming
To be honest it’s really hard to figure out what IronMagLabs is claiming, but I will tell you what comments they made when pressed on the Anabolic Minds message board. The first comment was “A Mifepristone intermediate; antiprogestational antiglucocorticoid antagonist steroidal spirooxazole.” Now this is true, in fact it was taken right off the website of a chinese company which supplies this compound. However, if IronMagLabs is suggesting that it has pharmacological activity similar to mifepristone (also known as RU-486 or the abortion pill) they are gravely mistaken. It is simply a chemical intermediate (and quite a distant one from the final drug target). The next comment IronMagLabs made was even stranger. It was simply a link to the Wikipedia entry for the endometriosis drug gestrinone. Like mifepristone, gestrinone has anti-progestational activity but unlike mifepristone there is no connection whatsoever (not even a nebulous one regarding chemical synthesis processes) between gestrinone and their mystery steroid ingredient.
So putting aside all the confusing banter put out by IronMagLabs , let’s look at what this ingredient really is.
End of Part I
Last weekend I attended the Arnold Classic Fitness Expo – just like I have every year for the last 15 years. Boy has that show changed. The first several years the expo was primarily a bodybuilding event and it was more or less a freak show with ripped bodybuilders everywhere and tons and tons of scantily clad women. Now it’s become more of a family event, with regular people of all ages walking around. Of course that’s in large part because it’s become way more than bodybuilding. In addition to the fitness expo there is the Arnold Sports Festival going on, which includes competitions in over 30 sports. Many of these sports are quite far removed from bodybuilding, and there are many sporting events that include children as competitors. As a result, the whole feel of the show has been changed towards a more “wholesome” atmosphere.
Most of the years I have gone to the Arnold it has been as a supplement company vendor with a booth. This year I worked the booth of my primary nutritional supplement company Epharm. Working the Epharm booth is a lot of fun because we sample our energy shot Clearshot Concentrate. Clearshot Concentrate is a wicked hot spicy shot that hits you almost instantly, so it’s a blast to see unsuspecting people shoot one down and then react. Reactions include crying tears, yelps, contorted faces, looks of shock, and the occasional person who feigns the stoic face but is actually peeing their pants. Often – after the burn goes away and they get their senses back, – they realize how awesome they feel and they proceed to buy a bottle. We sold a ton last weekend.
The Arnold expo floor is very crowded for most of the hours it is open, so those who work the booths are essentially trapped. The Epharm booth however was on the far edge of the show and right behind the curtains was the emergency row. The emergency row is blocked off and empty, so we were able to sneak in and out of our booth with relative ease. Still, to walk the actual expo floor is pretty much impossible except for late on Sunday, so that’s when I hit the floor to see what was going on.
There wasn’t a whole lot of new stuff to see. I got to meet up with some of my friends from other companies and chit chat. One of these guys is a person named Markel Boulis, who owns 2:1 protein bar company. He won the GNC protein bar of the year award again (I
think this is like his third award in five years). His bars are remarkable, almost too good to be true. Anyway what makes Markel’s story interesting is that I met him in prison back in 2006-2007. We were in the same unit and hung out a lot. Markel was a chiropractor and had nothing to do with the supplement business. After prison I never talked to him but then at the Mr. Olympia expo I ran into him at his bar booth. It was quite a shock to see that this guy got out of prison and started a company and within two years had won the best protein bar in GNC.
I also talked to John Perrotta who was promoting an interesting product called the spider bottle. The spider bottle is a shaker bottle with a built in wire spring that serves to open and close when the bottle is shaken. This spring oscillates and acts sort of like a whisk to break up lumps and ensure complete even mixing. It’s a neat little invention and John is a good salesman and a nice guy.
On Saturday I hung out quite a bit with Vince Andrich, an industry vet who is working with Dr. Scott Connelly on introducing a new protein powder called Myotropics. The protein powder should be on the shelves any day now and is some sort of high grade whole milk protein. I am looking forward to trying it. Vince always is fun to talk to because he has been through it all in this industry.
Last but not least I wanna give a call out to my dear friends Rick Collins, Mike Dimaggio, Marc Gann, and Alan Feldstein. Yes, these guys have been my attorneys for years but our relationship goes far beyond a professional one. They have to be the most clever and hilarious people I know, and they truly care about me and my business partner Lakhan – not just on the attorney/client level but on a personal level as well.
I am sure I skipped over a lot of other interesting things that happened that weekend. No, I did not attend the bodybuilding show. I am not a huge fan of competitive bodybuilding and with so much other stuff going on it’s just not worth it to spend a few hours watching posing and flexing.
If you have never attended the expo you should make an effort to get there at least once in your life. Next year is the 25th anniversary so it should be an interesting spectacle. If you attend and run into me please say Hi (just look for the name badge around my neck)
I have good news to tell everyone! Considering how our nutritional supplement industry has been under unprecedented assault here in the states with the FDA’s intolerant and strong handed stance on issues, issues that intend to dismantle what our whole industry is based upon ( a law called DSHEA), I find this recent small development something worthy of recognition. Something to remind us all that we CAN make a difference.
In this blog, on January 4th, I told you all about an issue regarding 7-keto DHEA (and derivatives thereof). This issue involved the government of the United Kingdom (UK) and some unfortunate knee jerk legislation motivated by a desire to make everything “peachy keen” for the upcoming 2012 London Summer Olympic Games. We can all completely understand why they (the UK government officials involved) would want to make their olympic games as clean and controversy free as possible. Problem is these folks are not qualified to make certain decisions. So these folks rely upon organizations such as the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) for guidance.
WADA’s job is to make sure athletes don’t resort to artificial means to enhance their performance. That is a pretty hefty load to carry, considering how our modern world kind of exists upon artificial means to help pretty much everything. Anyway, WADA does their job as they feel it needs to be done. Which means ban everything that even can remotely be imagined to help performance. That’s cool, let them do that. Unfortunately the problem occurs when their athletic organization laws carry over into policy of state government. Then it gets weird.
And it got weird in the UK. Basically what happened was some government bureaucrats had good intentions gone stupid. These folks thought that it would look good to the rest of the world if on the eve of the summer games they banned some of these nasty performance enhancing drugs (in this case stuff classified under the category of steroids – a tragically misinterpreted chemical term….).
By banned I mean banned officially by the UK government. These bureaucrats figured that their guide would be the WADA list of banned substances. Hell, they didn’t know any better.
Problem is, WADA does some strange things. For all intents and purpose they kind of do whatever they want. And whatever they want often makes little sense – as in classifying compounds as anabolic steroids that are not anabolic steroids. Which is exactly what happened with 7-keto DHEA. WADA decided (arbitrarily, capriciously, and with no effort insofar as to background research) to add 7-keto DHEA to the list of anabolic steroids
So taking the baton from their WADA masters these UK bureaucrats thought they would do a wonderful thing by banning 7-keto so that no UK citizen can touch the stuff without being a serious criminal – all because they trusted that what is on the WADA list must certainly be verified “bad”. Bad not just for helping an athltete perform better but bad for society in general. The assumption was it must be a dangerous substance of abuse. This is no exaggeration
The real sad thing is all this would have happened without protest – that is if it weren’t for my eagle eyed friend Andy.
Andy, a UK citizen, somehow got wind of this pending legislation and he informed me of it. How he knew about it I don’t know. This issue is not something that is front page news so Andy had to have made an effort to catch this. Andy apparently took to time to read the news that falls through the cracks. I was quite taken aback by all this when Andy emailed me and told me.
It’s kind of a big deal to me – 7-keto DHEA and its derivatives such as beta-AET are supplements I often tout as being one of very few products that really, really do something and have scientific support. And I know they are not anabolic steroids. Not even close. I am quite familiar with pharmacology as it relates to these substances.
So this is what I did. I told Andy to contact Humanetics Corporation. I know the people there, I have visited them and done business with them. They own the patent on 7-keto DHEA. They actually originally intended to sell the product as a drug, and then decided to market it as a supplement. These guys have worked closely with the United States FDA and they have very impressive documentation on the safety and efficacy of 7-keto. But not just the safety – more importantly they went out of their way to prove that it is NOT an anabolic steroid – as per the classical pharmacogolical definition.
Recall that 7-keto dhea has a steroid structure – but that does not mean it is an anabolic steroid. Anabolic steroids are a class of drugs associated with well documented ethical and toxicological concerns. A square is a rectangle but not all rectangles are squares. U follow me? i hope someone does….
Anyway, Andy contacted Humanetics, and as I anticipated they were quite taken aback. Humanetics proceeded to get in touch with the relevant characters in the UK and they provided them with their abundant archives of scientific and US government agency related documenations that convincingly showed that 7-keto (and its derivatives)
1) are not anabolic steroids
2) have undergone extensive safety and efficacy studies published in highly regarded peer reviewed journals
3) is (7-keto dhea specifically) explicitly recognized by the US FDA as a legitimate dietary supplement ingredient
So kudos to Andy and how he stayed on this issue till it was resolved. One person can make a difference sometimes
the UK reversed their decision. Document below
12-02-07 Further advice ACMD (2)
Lately I have noticed a lot of talk about Beef Protein Isolate. Several companies are promoting products that supposedly contain protein extracted from beef in the form of powders and in one case a liquid. Having been in the industry for quite some time this is not something new – products purported to contain beef protein amino acids, or beef protein extract / isolates – have made it to the market here and there over the years and have enjoyed varying degrees of sales success.
But what do these beef protein products really contain? Do they contain actual beef (bovine muscle tissue) that has had the protein isolated out from the fat and water content? Well let’s think about that for a moment. I don’t need to do the math but the price of beef is obviously extraordinarily high per gram of protein compared to other sources that we drink as powdered isolates / concentrates such as soy, milk (including whey and casein), and egg. Is it even economically feasible to take that sirloin or rib eye and extract out the protein? It simply is not. Even with the cheapest cuts it just is not I am afraid.
So is this all a big lie? Well, I don’t think it’s necessarily a blatant lie because I truly believe these protein products are derived from cattle……..just not the part of the cattle you think. It is my conviction that these beef protein isolates are made from cattle bones, ligaments, hides, ears, and other miscellaneous throw away parts of the carcass. All of these pieces of cattle are treated with a series of hot water and dilute acid treatments and filtration steps to yield a thick viscous liquid that is usually then dried. You may be familiar with the end product. It’s called gelatin.
Yes gelatin is a protein and yes it can be derived from cattle (and also from pigs and chickens). The unfortunate thing about gelatin however is its amino acid profile. It’s pretty terrible. It consists mostly of three unessential amino acids – glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. It is deficient in the essential amino acids isoleucine, threonine, and methionine and contains no tryptophan whatsoever. So it’s a really poor protein source. Of course, combined with other protein sources that complement the amino acids that are lacking, gelatin can be a helpful contribution to one’s daily protein intake. But by itself it’s a far cry from whey, egg, or even soy for that matter.
What makes me so sure these products simply contain gelatin? Well besides the obvious economic factors (steak is expensive, gelatin is dirt cheap), all one has to do is look at the amino acid profile of the products. Lately people selling these products are apparently being cleverly deceitful and not putting on their label the full amino acid profile, but fortunately one very well-known company has
If you look at the amino acid profile in that link and compare it to that of gelatin below
you will notice the match is a dead give away. The only slight discrepancies are probably due to the fact that the product contains small amounts of beef albumin and beef liver too.
Now I won’t go so far as to say that all of these products that contain beef protein isolate (errr…I mean gelatin) are poor. I have noticed that some of them have beefed up (pun intended) their formulas with the addition of tryptophan, BCAA’s, and other amino acids. This would provide a product with a more complete amino acid profile which would make the overall nutritional value decent. But the bottom line is it doesn’t appear you are getting what you think you are getting, and depending on the price, getting what your dollar is worth.
I am going to stick with my egg and casein.
The ex-Philadelphia Phillies pitcher JC Romero and his attorneys recently settled a lawsuit (I assume with Vitamin Shoppe and GNC) regarding a product I once sold called 6-oxo extreme. You can read the New York Daily News Article here
I don’t want to waste my time going into the background of this case. And I am not going to discuss it in great deal as to do so would bore the hell out of you. In reality, there is no need to say anything more than to present to you vital facts which make every other aspect of this matter irrelevant.
So I present to you these facts (which sadly the media completely missed)
1) The supplement ITSELF that Romero took was under a class of banned substances. It was under the category of “aromatase inhibitors”. Regardless of whether there was contamination this fact remains. Compounds within a category are considered illegal under a “catch all” phrase, even if they are not specifically listed.
2) The product, 6-oxo extreme, had a clear disclaimer which told users to check with their athletic organizations before using if they are subject to doping testing. This disclaimer was put on there specifically to make sure that people like JC Romero would not take it!!
3) Romero failed to heed the label warning – not to mention the MLB rules – and failed to check with his organization to see if the product was admissable.
4) Romero admits he took 6-oxo extreme, clearly a banned product under MLB doping rules.
REGARDLESS OF CONTAMINATION HE ADMITTEDLY COMMITTED A DOPING OFFENSE
In essence, this is really not much different than taking growth hormone that is contaminated with testosterone – testing positive for testosterone – and then protesting your innocence by blaming the manufacturer of the growth hormone.
That’s pretty much all I have to say