Olympic authorities warned of potential doping loophole

Research carried out at London’s Kingston University has revealed that athletes could mask illegal doping with testosterone by drinking green and white tea. A team headed by Professor Declan Naughton, from the University’s School of Life Sciences, found drinking the beverages had the potential to reduce the amount of the performance-enhancing hormone present in urine testing.

Professor Naughton said the findings could have significant implications for major sporting events such as the 2012 Olympics. “We’ve spent the past four years researching this and as far as we’re aware it’s the first study that has found food and diet can alter the metabolism of testosterone,” Professor Naughton said. “We looked at how a particular enzyme reacts to various foodstuffs to see if it affects the amount of time certain substances such as cancer drugs stay in the body.” The enzyme in question excretes testosterone through urine and the potential to mask doping occurs when compounds called catechins – present in green and white tea but not in black – inhibit this. This means athletes attempting to enhance their performance illegally with testosterone could potentially mask a boost in the hormone by drinking a certain amount of the tea.

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