Androstenedione Study Finds Increase in Male Hormones
By MURRAY CHASS
The over-the-counter diet supplement androstenedione has been found to increase the male hormone testosterone, but scientists still do not know if it helped Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs in 1998. They plan to try to find out.
Results of a study of the supplement, commonly known as andro, that was commissioned by Major League Baseball and the Players Association appear in today's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study was led by Dr. Joel Finkelstein and Dr. Benjamin Leder of Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.
The researchers found that the men in the study who took 300 milligrams of andro a day for seven days experienced an increase in their testosterone levels. "High doses of testosterone increase muscle size and strength in healthy men," the authors of the Journal article wrote.
The researchers found "no significant adverse effects of androstenedione" in the short-term study, but they said that long-term use "could be hazardous, particularly in women or children."
Sustained high levels of testosterone have been linked over the years by medical experts to a host of health problems, from acne and baldness to heart disease.
The supplement, which can be purchased in health food stores, stirred a controversy during the 1998 baseball season when an Associated Press reporter noticed a bottle in McGwire's locker. McGwire acknowledged taking andro, a substance that is banned by the International Olympic Committee, the National Football League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association as a performance-enhancing and potentially harmful drug. But baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League have not outlawed its use.
When asked then and subsequently about baseball's stance on andro, Commissioner Bud Selig said he would await the outcome of the study.
A news release issued by Major League Baseball and the Players Association yesterday took note of the findings, but also said the
research "did not establish that the levels of testosterone were sufficient to produce enhanced performance." Dr. Finkelstein
-- Courtesy NY Times
26 in 2000