December 2, 2014
UK: 23 of 24 "suspect" supplements are spiked with steroids!
Research analysing supplements suspected of containing steroids, available to purchase from UK fitness shops, found that 23 out of 24 products contained steroids prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It also found that some of the products were being sold illegally and posed a danger to public health. The research team selected 24 products from two fitness equipment shops in the UK, chosen because they appeared to be anabolic agents due to the name of the product, the ingredients listed, or the nature of their advertising. Of the 24 products tested, 23 contained steroids including known anabolic agents; 16 of these contained steroids that were different to those indicated on the packaging and one product contained no steroid at all. Overall, 13 different steroids were identified; 12 of these are controlled in the UK under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Several of the products contained steroids that may be considered to have considerable pharmacological activity, based on their chemical structures and the amounts present. The research team warned that this could unwittingly expose users to a significant risk to their health. Analysis of the substances present in the analysed products is available here. A selection of the products in the study were advertised as ‘prohormones’, which researchers suggested could be misconstrued as legal replacements for steroids. However, UK Anti-Doping said that this was a ‘false assumption’, as ‘the steroids identified during this study are prohibited in sport and many are controlled in the UK under existing legislation, meaning they are being sold illegally’. UKAD also said that there were health concerns for users who take the tested products regularly. ‘Over 50 per cent were found to contain significant amounts of a particular group of steroids (the 17α-alkylated anabolic steroids) which are rarely used as medicines due to significant evidence linking chronic use to liver damage. Many of the steroids identified have never been licensed as medicines, meaning limited or no published safety data are available for these potent drugs.’ The research paper, ‘Anabolic steroids detected in bodybuilding dietary supplements – a significant risk to public health’, was originally published in 6 October by V. Abbate, Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King’s College London; A. T. Kicman, D. A. Cowan and C. J. Walker, Drug Control Centre, King’s College London; M. Evans-Brown, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Lisbon; J. McVeigh, Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University; Drug Control Centre; C. Wilson and S. J. Coles, EPSRC UK National Crystallography Service, School of Chemistry, University of Southampton. The paper was edited by Dr. Mario Thevis, German Sport University, Cologne.