Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Supplements under the gun...

The recent outing of Rafael Palmiero as a steroid user has intensified the media critism of the supplement market which is something I've predicted here and in other places for a long time.

The lack of regulation and testing of nutritional supplements lends credence to the claims of players who say they were caught unaware by positive tests, one researcher said Tuesday.

The claims they are making are not true, but they provide good media run nonetheless:

Steroid building blocks known as prohormones can cause a positive test - and may not be listed on supplement labels, said Anthony C. Tommasello, a professor and director of the Office of Substance Abuse Studies at the University of Maryland pharmacy school in Baltimore.

"Some are extracts of natural products that are also metabolized into anabolic hormones but the substances are not on the banned list," Tommasello said.

One such ingredient is DHEA, Tommasello said. Mostly manufactured in China from the dried roots of a wild yam, it is a popular muscle-building supplement in the United States. While not on Major League Baseball's list of banned substances, it is converted in the body into an anabolic steroid, Tommasello said.


DHEA is hardly a popular muscle building supplement. It's effectiveness in bodybuilding has been widely disputed. Where DHEA IS most effective is for senior citizens in their fight against muscle wasting.

Never mind the following:

Palmiero tested positive for Stanazolol. which is not found in dietary supplements, except by those 'outside of the mainstream' companies.

Rafael Palmeiro's positive steroid test was for stanozolol, a powerful anabolic steroid that is not available in dietary supplements, according to a newspaper report.

The New York Times, citing a person in baseball with direct knowledge of the sport's drug-testing program, reported on its Web site Tuesday that Palmeiro tested positive for the drug known by the brand name Winstrol, most notably linked to the Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson of Canada.

The person who said that Palmeiro tested positive for stanozolol did not want to be identified because the testing policy prohibits anyone in baseball from disclosing information about test results without authorization, the Times said.

Yes, there have been instances of supplements containing banned substances, but once that fact is known, the industry has done a good job of pulling those products off the market.

We need a true, honest debate about supplements in America, not media hype and half-truth's designed to prop up Big Pharm.