In a world where doping has become more and more prevalent, new research is being done on how an athlete can fake the results of a urine test. It is becoming harder and harder for athletes who dope to cheat the system and continue to dope without being noticed. Science is evolving and discovering new things everyday. In years past, a urine or blood sample told scientists very little. But now scientists can test for the presence of many different molecules and chemicals within the body. In sports, scientists use these samples to test for drugs outlawed because of their performance enhancing abilities.
One of these drugs is testosterone, a naturally-occurring steroid hormone within the body. It is responsible for increasing muscle mass, boosting stamina, and speeding up recovery. Athletes are banned from taking testosterone or any synthetic supplements. However, according to recent studies performed at Kingston University in London, red wine, and green and white tea could possibly mask the amount of testosterone present in the urine. Red wine inhibits an enzyme known as UGT2B17, which signals the kidney to release testosterone through the urine. Thus causing a higher amount of testosterone in the body, and lower in the urine. White and green teas inhibit a different enzyme that performs the same function, masking the amount of testosterone in the urine. These are only results of test tube research in a lab, however, and so a full clinical study needs to be performed to support these results. The researchers at Kingston University have contacted the World Anti-Doping Agency though to inform them about the possibility of cheating a urine sample test. The lead researcher, Declan Naughton, also points out that because of the enzyme inhibition, testing of urine samples is not satisfactory, and that blood or even hair samples should be tested.
These two articles just go to show how much research goes into sports and sports science, and not just in how to help our athletes excel. Clearly scientists are worried all over the world about the purity of our athletes, and evening the playing field for all. It was particularly interesting to see how much research goes into preventing athletes from cheating and using performance enhancing drugs. The World Anti-Doping Agency has a difficult task with new research being performed everyday but thankfully there is work being done to help purify the worlds sports, like that from these articles.