Thanks to Ken Stone for pointing this out to me.
Masters [cycling] track racer Kenny Williams tested positive for the banned substance DHEA in a test taken at United States masters nationals in Colorado Springs.
In a letter first published at cycle-smart.com, Williams called the decision to take the drug a mistake and said that he had only taken it once.
My InBox was flooded with emails about the effects and benefits of DHEA. (Okay, 4 emails isn’t really considered flooding, but it did give me the inspiration to write this…)
As usual, I’ll get back to basics first…
For those who would like to increase muscle mass, or preventing protein breakdown (otherwise known as proteolysis), I would list the “substances” under the following categories:
- Anabolic effects
- Anti-catabolic effects and anti-estrogenic effects (“catabolic” is the opposite of “anabolic”, and estrogen is the "opposite" of testosterone)
- Amino-Acid and protein supplementation
Anabolic steriods, Androstenedione and Insulin all follow under the “Anabolic Effects”.
These are illegal in sports (except baseball) and on the IAAF list of banned substances. They all exhibit serious side effects during prolonged use.
Insulin is too dangerous! Anyone remember Claus von Bulow? No? See the movie "Reversal of Fortune"!
Anti-Catabolic Effects and Anti-Estrogenic Effects
But first, a brief lesson on cortisol & corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids are man-made forms of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol plays an important role in the function of almost every part of the body. Corticosteroid medications have 2 main actions in the body. (1) They reduce inflammation and (2) decrease the activity of the immune system. i.e. skin cream for eczema.
Hence, corticosteroids are not anabolic steroids, but have been known to be abused by some athletes to increase muscle mass, hence, the anti-catabolic effects.
DHEA, or Dehydroepiandrosterone, has been claimed to block cortisol’s catabolic (breakdown) effects on lean muscle tissue.
Cortisol is a catabolic (tissue breakdown) induced stress hormone. Exercise has been shown to significantly raise serum cortisol levels. Thus, DHEA has been shown to block some acute effects of stress induced cortisol release.
Phosphatidyl Serine complex is another product that follows under the same category.
PS Complex (as it is widely known) is reported to "protect from cortisol which is catabolic to muscles" as printed on the label.
There are many others, but are on the IAAF list of banned substances.
Amino-Acid and Protein supplementation
Protein powders, Chocolate Milk, Amino Acids and Creatine are topics already covered at lengths on this Blog. Use the search box to find out more.