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As Mark McGwire established the single-season record of 70 home runs,
reporters, sportswriters, columnists, and fans speculated about the possible
role of the steroid, "Andro," in his achievement.
The Endocrine Society, representing the specialists who conduct hormone
research and treat disorders of the endocrine system, wants you to know
some important facts about androstenedione -- "Andro" for short.
Here's what we know:
- Androgens are the male sex steroids. They increase body hair, facial
hair and acne; deepen the voice; enhance prostate growth; and promote muscle
growth. The best known androgen is testosterone.
- Androstenedione is a steroid. In the body, it is converted to testosterone.
It can also be converted into the female sex steroid, estrogen, in boys
- Androstenedione is not a banned androgenic steroid in baseball, but
it is banned in most other sports, both in the U.S. and abroad.
- Androstenedione can not be a dietary supplement, since it is not part
of a normal diet.
- The body has its own wisdom. Too much androgen shuts off the body's
own production of testosterone. This can impair normal testicular function
- "it shrinks your grapes to raisins."
- The use of androgens is especially dangerous among adolescents in whom
it is known to stunt growth.
Here's what we don't know:
- Whether Andro improves athletic performance.
- How much Andro is converted to male or female sex steroids when it
is taken by mouth or injected.
- How much Andro is absorbed in the body, or where in the body it goes.
4.Whether Andro shrinks testicular size like androgens do.
- Whether Andro causes liver cancers and heart disease like oral androgens
- How to detect Andro by drug testing.
- The purity of commercial Andro is unknown, unregulated, and probably
varies a lot. The user of Andro has no way of knowing what he or she is
- At present, it is not known whether Andro is either safe or effective.
For these reasons, The Endocrine Society believes that more research is
needed before any use of this agent can be recommended.
- This article was obtained from The
Endocrine Society, which is the oldest, largest, and most active professional
organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice
of endocrinology. In August 1999, McGuire announced that he had stopped
taking androsterone in April.
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