CNN and JAMA Websites June 1, 1999
Original CNN Story by Steve Salvatore
Androstenedione, a 'testosterone-raising, muscle-building' dietary supplement available over the counter, has been shown in a recent study to be neither. This supplement has been available for decades and came under scrutiny earlier this year when baseball star Mark McGwire admitted regular use. Following McGwire's statement, use of androstenedione among young athletes was said to increase several fold. However, Douglas S. King, Ph.D. and other researchers at Iowa State University found in a placebo-controlled study of 30 healthy young men that neither muscle building nor serum testosterone levels were increased during an eight week trial. The study appears in the June 2, 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Moreover, the King study showed that use of the supplement was associated with significant lowering of high density lipoproteins (so-called "good" cholesterol) in serum and also with increased levels of female hormones estrone and estradiol. Both changes may be related to atherogenesis, the development of lesions in arterial walls which can cause heart attack and stroke. In an accompanying editorial, C.E. Yesalis of Pennsylvania State University wrote that while not illegal, androstenedione is on the banned drug lists of the International Olympic Committee, the National Football League, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Yesalis concluded that the King study "contributes to the evidence suggesting that the government should carefully consider intervening and remove androstenedione and its derivatives from the market."