Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone MLB Positive Drug Tests – Could Supplements be the Culprit?May 9, 2016
Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone MLB Positive Drug Tests
Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone MLB positive drug tests have been flying through the news faster than home runs in Denver. The early season so far this year has seen Daniel Stumpf and Chris Colabello test positive for this drug, also called Oral Turinabol (Oral-T), and Wednesday ESPN reporter T.J. Quinn wrote that several more dehydrochlormethyltestosterone MLB positive drug tests will soon be announced. We examine the theories on how someone could test positive for this old drug from the 1970s.
Three theories have been put forth in the discussion about dehydrochlormethyltestosterone MLB positive drug tests to date. First, the players took the drug itself, second the players took a dietary supplement that was contaminated with Oral-T (perhaps without their knowing), and third a designer steroid present in a supplement could convert or metabolize into Oral-T.
As for the first theory, Oral-T became popular because it is a powerful oral anabolic agent. It was a known and well-characterized drug that the Germans used during their state-sponsored doping in the 1970s. Some people have considered Oral-T to be a drug of the past, yet it remains widely available on the internet. In a brief search, we found Oral-T available in ready-to-take form on at least two different websites from Canada and other countries. So, it appears that it remains available.
According the Anti-Doping Database, dehydrochlormethyltestosterone was reported five times in 2012, 72 times in 2013, then dropped to 17 in 2014 and to 14 in 2015. Prior to 2012 it was only reported one or two times a year. What caused the spike in 2013 is an interesting question, as another spike seems to be occurring now in MLB.
The ESPN article also discussed improved testing sensitivity for Oral-T urine metabolites. In simple terms, additional research has identified new long term metabolites that can extend the window of detection. The improvements in detection capabilities may be contributing to the current spike. An off-season Oral-T doping regimen that would previously be expected to clear the body quickly based on experience may not be useable anymore with the improved detection capabilities. Given that these positives are coming from preseason or early season testing, this theory seems strong.
Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone MLB Positive Drug Tests – Could Supplements be the Culprit?
As for the theory that a supplement that contained dehydrochlormethyltestosterone could have caused the positives, that is also very plausible. As T.J. noted in his piece, there is a supplement on the USADA High Risk Dietary Supplement List, Alpha-4D sold by Shredded Labs, that contains Oral-T. To be more precise, there are actually two more supplements on the high-risk list that either mention or have been shown through testing to contain the drug: Orla Test from Chem 33 and OstaRx from IronMagLabs. Several more supplements on the high risk list contain the closely related drug turinabol.
In most cases the products did not list Oral-T on the label. For example, OstaRx from IronMagLabs was labeled to contain the SARM Ostarine but instead showed the presence of Oral-T. This demonstrates a primary challenge for athletes, that some supplements can be contaminated with banned substances even if they are not on the label. The concern is heightened for supplement brands, like IronMagLabs, that choose to sell products with illegal or banned substances on the label, like the SARM Ostarine in the case of OstaRx from IronMagLabs.
The final theory of how dehydrochlormethyltestosterone MLB positive drug tests have been occurring considers the possibility that a designer steroid closely related to Oral-T and sold as a dietary supplement could be the culprit. Sadly, many illegal dietary supplements that contain designer steroids continue to be sold despite efforts to regulate them. These include infamous designer steroid ingredients like methasterone, or MADOL, or Halodrol.
Halodrol is of particular interest to consider. If you look at the message boards for Halodrol, you can see the potential behind the theory for why such a designer could be responsible for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone MLB positive drug tests. One board provides the following information on Halodrol: “Originally brought to market by Gaspari Nutrition as ‘Halodrol 50,’ this compound is the diol version of the steroid the East Germans were taking to cheat at the Olympics in the late 60s and early 70s, Oral Turinabol (4-Chlorodehydromethyltestosterone). Halodrol is said to convert to the active steroid Turinabol by experts at around 5-8% so it’s a very low conversion rate but the inactive metabolites of Halodrol have very anabolic properties by themselves.” Strong Supplement Shop has five Halodrol supplements available, so these designer variants of Oral-T remain widely available.
The interesting thing about designer steroids is that it can be difficult to pinpoint the urine metabolites to use for doping detection because some of these designers are not well made and have remnants of other compounds present. Other times, the new drugs are simply things we haven’t seen before and haven’t done a urine study to evaluate. Some of these new drugs, or recycled old drugs, may share metabolites with known drugs and thus would be detectable.
Evaluating this theory further, we consider that the positive drug tests in the MLB have specifically been called for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone. This means that the lab likely identified the parent drug as well as metabolites that are indicative of use. If the findings were called based on the presence of metabolites only, those metabolites would need to be specific to Oral-T in order to make a definitive identification. Under that scenario, there is a slight possibility that a designer steroid like Halodrol could share similar metabolites with Oral-T and result in a finding for Oral-T. Most of the time similar steroids can be differentiated based on unique metabolites or the presence of the parent drug itself.
If the player used Oral-T itself, they obviously should be held accountable. If they used a designer steroid like Halodrol thinking it would not be detectable, again they should be held accountable. If it was determined a benign supplement like a vitamin or protein powder was contaminated, that could be considered for a reduced sanction. Given that so far the players have given up appeals and accepted sanctions, we have to think one of the first two theories holds true.
The risk of banned substance contamination in supplements is very real for athletes, regardless of whether one is a culprit in the recent dehydrochlormethyltestosterone MLB positive drug tests or not. Athletes who don’t want to risk a supplement being contaminated with prohibited drugs should consider products that have been certified by a third party like BSCG Certified Drug Free®. Such programs evaluate and test supplement products to ensure they are free of banned substances and help athletes to mitigate the risks of supplement use.