Green tea could mask testosterone doping

Peter Aldous

ATHLETES who cheat by doping themselves with testosterone may be able to mask their actions by drinking green tea. Large quantities might even provide a legal performance boost by raising levels of testosterone in the blood.

Abuse of testosterone is hard to spot because the steroid hormone is found naturally in men and women. Tests rely on detecting an unusual ratio of testosterone to a hormone called epitestosterone in urine.

In lab tests, Declan Naughton and colleagues at Kingston University London discovered that compounds called catechins, found in tea, inhibit an enzyme called UGT2B17. This enzyme attaches glucuronic acid to testosterone, making it more likely to be excreted in urine (Steroids, DOI: 10.1016/j.steroids.2012.02.023).

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