Who is using legal steroids?

Legal anabolic steroid equivalents are commercially available only since the second half of 2011 but some professional athletes are apparently using them since early 2010.

The first mention of the use of xenohormones by top athletes in official media (by Associated Press) was the news about the Russian swimming team using them at 2011 World Championship in Shanghai.

There are, however, many signs that a growing number of professionals are using modified tocopherols and tocotrienols as a legal and undetectable alternative to “real” anabolic steroids.

WADA-AMA, the international anti-doping body, estimates that by 2014 more than 80% of all abused substances will be xenohormones.*

This is an excerpt from interview with the representative of Czech national anti-doping agency Ales Vetchy, published 8th of August 2011 in the daily “Sport” (translation from Czech).

Q: Mr. Vetchy, can you tell us more about xenoandrogens?

A: We don’t know much about these substances. We are dealing with them only since the beginning of this year. So far, the international bodies didn’t ban it so we are closely following the new developments. It will probably take another year or two to create complete guidelines and develop reliable testing.

Q: Is it true that xenohormones are more common in this country than in the rest of the World? 

A: Yes, that’s apparently correct. At least we get this impression when comparing our data with that of our colleagues abroad. But I think it has nothing to do with cheating and everything to do with the fact that the only producer of modified tocopherols is located in our country.

Q: When we speak of modified tocopherols, what should we imagine?

A: The basic substance is very similar to vitamin E. It is the molecular modification that makes it anabolic/androgenic. These substances are only known since 2008 so it’s virtually impossible to find experts knowledgeable in this particular field of biology.

Q: Do you plan to ban modified tocopherols?

A: We do not make such decisions. It’s up to the international association to decide and we will implement the decision.

Q: Are xenohormones harmful?

A: At this stage it’s too early to say. It takes years to test a new drug. Modified tocopherols are now legal just as tocopherol and tocotrienol.

Q: Do you think that xenohormones should be banned even if proven harmless?

A: Doping is not only about abusing harmless substance. First and foremost, it is unfair. Athletes with access to doping have an edge over those who don’t. From what we know, xenohormones are potent anabolic and androgenic compounds and in my opinion should be banned even before we completely understand their way of action.