Nutritional Supplement contamination with no labeled anabolic steroids

Patient

Q: I am a natural bodybuilder and utilize a whey protein isolate powder, as well as a multivitamin. Recently, however, I had read articles cocerning contaminated supplements that contain banned substances. I try to get most of my protein through whole foods, and my whey and multivitamin is all I take. Because I compete, I am subject to WADA drug testing and wanted to make sure that I'm not taking anything banned so I purchased a ATHome Steroid test kit in order to drug test myself. I mailed the urine to the lab address and waited a few days. I was infrmed that my sample tested positive for noretiocholanolone. I did some research on the subject and discovered that the metabolite is of nandrolone. This shocked me considering that I take no such substance. Even stranger, norandrostene didn't show up above the cutoff, and from my understanding, it is the main metabolite of nandrolone. Being a natural bodybuilder, I've never taken steroids or prhormones and don't understand this. I've ordered another test kit and have ceased this brand of protein powder for fear that it was contaminated. I've read that athletes cannot naturally produce this amount of hormone metabolite. I am a thirty three year old athletic male. Aside from contamination of my supplements, is there any medical reason that I would be producing this amount of hormone naturally? Thank you for your time and consideration in advance.

Doctor

A:   Since 1999, several studies and reports  have been published about this issue, not only in USA but in the rest of the world also. Some reports showed that nutritional supplements contained prohibited stimulants as ephedrines, caffeine, amphetamine metabolites and sibutramine, which were not declared on the labels. An international study performed in 2001 and 2002 on 634 nutritional supplements that were purchased in 13 different countries showed that about 15% of the nonhormonal nutritional supplements were contaminated with anabolic-androgenic steroids (mainly prohormones). According to many publications,there are still a lot of products in the market containing anabolic steroids such as metandienone, stanozolol, boldenone, dehydrochloromethyl-testosterone, oxandrolone etc. with  these substances not declared on the labels either. Regarding to your concern about producing “naturally” hormone metabolites, I suggest  that after cease your actual supplement and change to another nutritional supplement you can trust, wait and then get tested again, because chances are that the previous test came out altered by contamination. If you test positive after doing all this, you will require a further thoroughly examination, hormonal profile evaluation, possibly by a endocrinologist to determine the origin of those hormonal levels.

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