Saturday 21 July 2012

Enzo Maccarinelli and another boxing positive test

Enzo Maccarinelli takes a "fat burner" and got banned from boxing for six months.  Yet the supplement claimed to be athlete safe. I am sure this was an accident as Enzo says -  he is even seeking to sue the magazine that advertised the product. But it raises some questions about the whole supplement industry.

The banned stimulant found in the supplement in question was methylhexaneamine; as I show in my book this is rapidly becoming the new "nandrolone", at least in so much as many athletes are getting caught by taking nutritional supplements laced with this compound and hence suffering a positive doping test. 

So what was this boxer thinking about? Very few drugs can burn fat. If a supplement works as a fat burner, it is almost certainly going to contain a banned substance. Or it will be very dangerous. More likely the fat buying moniker is just industry hype aiming to sell a product.

So to summarise: the pill probably doesn't work; if it does work it will be dangerous and/or get you banned. Not a clever idea for an experienced boxer to get involved here, especially one who also trains 40 young boxers.

For the purposes of being balanced to the supplement industry I should take 5 minutes to give their side of the argument. "Fat burners" are popular with body builders. They claim to contain compounds that activate uncoupling proteins.  Uncoupling proteins can indeed burn fat with no gain in energy to the body. But we should be cautious. The slimming industry is a much larger market than the body building world. Not surprisingly a high amount of pharmaceutical and medical research money has gone into trying to produce a safe compound that activates uncoupling proteins. No one has succeeded.

What about Maccarinelli? Dexaprine is the compound he claimed to have taken. It contains “iiodo-thyronines”. This is a word meant to sound like "iodothyronines", which are thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones do indeed increase the body's metabolic rate, possibly by activating uncoupling proteins. So the manufacturers use a plausible argument. But there is one fatal flaw. Thyronines are proteins. They readily get digested in the gut. Taking iodothyroanine in a pill form is like taking EPO or human growth hormone in a pill, rather than injecting it. It just won't work.

There is only one way to "burn fat" in a pill form. It is called dinitrophenol, a compound that is used effectively by bodybuilders. As I explain in the book this was a very successful slimming drug given by doctors in the easy part of the 20th century. But some patients had an unfortunate side-effect: DEATH. Dinitrophenol became the very first drug ever to be banned by the US Food and Drug administration. Do not try this at home!

When I read all this hype in the supplement industry, it almost makes me feel sympathy with those who dope. At least they are using stuff that actually has a chance of working .........

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