An excerpt from Psychology Today:
See, it comes down to math. All steroids are hormones and all hormones begin life as cholesterol. The body turns cholesterol into progesterone, estrogen, DHEA, testosterone and cortisol, but these aren’t the only possibilities. Chemists can turn cholesterol into a near-infinite number of possibilities. Unfortunately, the only tests we have are one-for-one matches and we only have around forty of those. So the race between the scientists who create new performance-enhancing substances and scientists who create new tests for new performance-enhancing substances is long over. There’s just no way to stay ahead of the numbers.
Nor is this new information. In 2001, Charles Francis, Ben Johnson’s track coach, wrote in Testosterone Magazine: “Another unmodified drug that had been widely used up to and during the 2000 Sidney Olympics was Genabol. By the time the test was developed, the word was out and athletes moved onto other products.”
Furthermore, while most know there’s currently no test for Human Growth Hormone (technically there’s no urine test and the Player’s Association prohibits needles), what is less known is that some of the other tests are dangerously inaccurate. “The test for Nandrolone (another widely used steroid) frequently produces false-positives,” says Dr. Mark Gordon, a Los Angeles doctor and steroid expert. “We can’t identify the drug directly, so we look for elevated levels of progesterone, one of the main substances present after the body breaks down Nandrolone. But progesterone occurs naturally and some people are born with levels higher than legally allowed by these tests. Even more alarming, many of these tests are administered right after exercise and exercise concentrates progesterone in the bloodstream. The tests read this concentration as elevation and innocent athletes lose medals.”
In fact, the only real way to establish any legitimate form of drug testing program is to begin taking baseline hormonal profiles of players the minute they turn pro. Which is exactly what notables like Don Caitlin have been advocating. Yes, this is expensive. Yes, this is invasive. But it’s also the only way forward if sports are serious about remaining drug free.