Friday, July 31, 2009

Another Reason to Stop With the "PED" Leaks

I don't really want to belabor this point, but I saw something interesting about the 2003 baseball study that has resulted in a serious breach of contract and trust by baseball players on the use of alleged performance enhancing drugs. I had been under the impression that the study was focused on traditional anabolic steroids, as used by bodybuilders and weight lifters, and perhaps some of the "designer" steroids like THG (better known as "The Clear") from now infamous BALCO Labs.

Turns out baseball's survey testing was also looking for the stinky, evil Performance "Enhancing" substance 4-Androstenedione, infamously known as "ANDRO". Remember the bottle of pills some reporter found in Mark McGwire's locker during 1998? Yeah, that. Well, it turns out that a lot of baseball players were using Androstenedione back then because they thought it would help give them an edge and it was completely legal and not banned by Major League Baseball. In fact, middle-to-back of the rotation junk baller Bronson Arroyo, who is most famous for having Alex Rodriguez slap his arm at first base, stated that he took both Androstenedione as well as some unnamed "amphetamines" back before they were banned and that he likely came up positive in survey testing.

So why does this matter? Well, if androstenedione is the reason some or most of these guys tested positive (A-Rod admits to using Primabolan, which is an actual anabolic steroid and was a favorite of the worst governor in California history during his days as the greatest bodybuilder ever), what is the big deal? First, all these "pro-hormone" supplements were legal until 2004. They weren't banned by baseball either. Further, the only reason they ended up getting banned was because 1) the media hyped the hell out of it, and 2) supplement companies started making "pro-hormones" that were really just steroids masquerading as something else. The reality is, however, that baseball players were not getting any benefits from androstenedione because, while it is a dangerous androgen that gives you all the bad side effects of steroids, it has little if any anabolic activity. If anything, a guy like McGwire who was 34 when he hit 70 home runs in 1998 (saving baseball in the process) was getting more benefit from the DHEA that was often "stacked" with the androstenedione back then. DHEA is something the body produces in abundance until around age 30 and then production falls off a cliff. In fact, this is probably something that not only lengthened McGwire's career, but his life.

The reality is that healthy, young baseball players were likely getting zero or close to zero benefit from the dreaded ANDRO. They were more likely getting help from completely legal, good for you, food supplement creatine monohydrate, which acts by helping the body "recycle" ADP into ATP more efficiently.

The conclusion to all of this? Knock this shit off and just enjoy your baseball game.

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