Last Updated on March 10, 2010 by Jimson Lee
It looks like the infamous Jeff “BALCO” Novitzky is at it again.
Two products from American Cellular Labs (ACL), Tren Xtreme and Mass Xtreme, were pulled of the shelves from alleged contamination of 4-estra and Madol (also known as DMT). These two steroids are classified as “designer steroids” and are on the IAAF list if banned substances.
At $89.99 for 90 tablets, you have to wonder how this supplement can become immensely popular, especially in High School athletes on a limited allowance, with claims of fast muscular gains.
The question remains: Were these two products contaminated intentionally?
I’ll let the Feds take care of that issue.
Here is the partial article from Sign on San Diego:
Two nutritional supplements popular among body builders and high school football players were removed from shelves of area stores amid a federal investigation claiming there is “probable cause” both products contain potent anabolic steroids.
Tren Xtreme and Mass Xtreme, made by American Cellular Labs (ACL) and sold as pills, were no longer available yesterday at any of the six Max Muscle Sports Nutrition stores in San Diego County. The company’s corporate headquarters e-mailed its 140-odd franchises and advised them to remove the products pending guidance from the Food and Drug Administration.
That came in the wake of federal agents raiding a Max Muscle store in San Francisco as well as the Pacifica residence of Maurice Sandoval, identified as the chief executive of ACL.
The federal agent behind the raids is Jeff Novitzky, who uncovered the BALCO doping empire in 2003.
In a search warrant affidavit unsealed Thursday, Novitzky says Tren Xtreme and Mass Xtreme are laced with “designer steroids” 4-estra and Madol (also known as DMT). Users likely would fail an Olympic-style urine test, but there is huge demand for “legal” steroids in the loosely regulated nutritional supplement industry by the guy pumping up at the local gym and the high school athlete — neither of whom is regularly drug tested.
“It’s one of our more popular products,” Lacy Mundell, an employee at Max Muscle’s Oceanside store, said of Tren Xtreme, which sold for $89.99 for 90 tablets. “It’s right up there with fat burners. . . . Our biggest thing was word of mouth — people using it and referring their friends.”
Particularly troubling for anti-doping experts is Tren Xtreme’s apparent popularity among high school football players, who unknowingly could be ingesting steroids at an age when they could have dangerous side effects on a growing body.
“We understand this is a popular choice for high school athletes because it works and they think it’s safe,” said Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
There are also Internet posts on body building Web sites, like this one from “Marzosirus:”
Hey guys I was just wondering if any of you have tried a product called Tren Xtreme? . . . I watched my little brother who is 17 gain 25 pounds of muscle and I asked him what he was using. He said his football coach gave him this bottle of Tren Xtreme for a supplement and it’s really working for him.
On another site, Julian1988 asks for advice about Tren Xtreme while noting: My friend (in) my football class is taking it and went up on bench press from 170 (pounds) to 225 . . . he is only 16 years old.
To which another poster replies: You’re 16 . . . You don’t need steroids (that’s right, tren is a steroid).
Federal investigators agree. They say samples of Tren Xtreme and Mass Xtreme tested positive for steroids at Food and Drug Administration labs. Sandoval did not return an e-mail requesting a comment. And a man who answered his phone hung up after a reporter identified himself.
“ACL has revolutionized the industry, raising the bar for production standards and therefore delivering athletes unparalleled results,” the company’s Web site says. “Products like the extraordinarily popular Tren Xtreme have written the newest chapters in the history of sports performance supplements. ACL is the brand you can trust!”
In the search warrant affidavit, Novitzky says he was alerted to potential issues with ACL supplements by the FDA’s Medwatch program, which flags products that may be associated with adverse medical events. Medwatch reports, according to the affidavit, linked “liver and kidney complications” to Tren Xtreme and Mass Xtreme.
“In one instance,” Novitzky writes, “a transplant hepatologist in California detailed a 38-year-old male patient, who, after using Tren Xtreme and Mass Xtreme, was hospitalized with severe liver dysfunction and acute renal failure and was going to require kidney dialysis as a result.”
Often worse than the health risks while on steroids is what happens after a user stops. When the body senses an outside source of anabolic steroids, it shuts off its production of testosterone. Users who quit steroids cold turkey — as Tren Xtreme and Mass Xtreme unknowingly might do if supplies dwindle — and the body suddenly has little or no natural testosterone.
That leads to muscle shrinkage and an overall lethargy. Low testosterone levels also have been linked to severe depression and, in the case of several high school athletes, suicide.
“Based on what we know, every parent of a high school athlete should sit down with their kids and find out whether they’re using this trash as it is easy to buy at the local mall,” USADA’s Tygart said. “If they are, I’d consult your physician. Depending on how much they took and how long, there can be pretty severe health consequences.
“Not just parents, but all consumers ought to be outraged that the system allows these unscrupulous steroid salesman to profit off our children’s health.”
Tren Xtreme and Mass Xtreme are available on the Internet from ACL or from various retail stores, the most notable being Max Muscle. San Diego outlets of GNC and the Vitamin Shoppe said they don’t carry it.
Joe Wells, the CEO of Max Muscle, said his stores operate on a franchise model, with Max Muscle supplying about 75 percent of products and the remainder coming from outside companies. He said Max Muscle requires an indemnity agreement and proof of insurance before selling an outside product but does not conduct testing.
“There are literally thousands of products on the open market,” said Wells, who is based in Anaheim. “It’s tough to police them all.”