Green Tea Masks Testosterone in Doping Tests


The healing powers of green tea apparently also include concealing powers as Olympic doping officials consider whether to modify their tests for testosterone.

A laboratory study showed that green tea may lower readings for testosterone by 30 percent leading the scientific director of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to consider adjusting the standard doping tests four months prior to the Olympic Summer Games in London.

WADA Scientific Director Olivier Rabin told Associated Press “we may need to adjust our steroid (test) to allow us to exclude whether a test is modified by food or training or disease, before we can say that it’s doping,”

He said they might have to raise their normal threshold for what is a considered a legal amount of testosterone to allow for any such interference.

Rabin explained that several different foods, alcohol and other beverages can impact results, which has led WADA to develop surveys and other techniques used in conjunction with laboratory results to determine whether doping has occurred. The organization tests for caffeine and bans diuretics that can mask drug use that includes a long list of steroids.

“There’s a human interpretation of the data,” he said, explaining that officials regularly accounted for potentially troublesome results by considering things like intense exercise, jetlag and diet.

Athletes taking testosterone will typically have a 200 to 300 percent greater concentration and green tea will only slightly reduce these readings.

The laboratory test, and earlier studies with rodents, used green and white tea supplements containing catechins. These chemicals, also present in black tea, were found to stop a test enzyme used to detect testosterone. Masking by catechins may enable the testosterone to remain largely unnoticed in urine tests for the hormone.

Testing blood would likely present a more accurate measure.

Source: Associated Press