Friday 22 February 2013

Oscar Pistorius would never have failed a drug test

Thanks to Millard Baker for coming up with the best answer to what “testosterone” was found in Oscar Pistorius’s house [1]. He is a better Internet detective than me and came up with the idea of a homeopathic remedy called “testis composutim”. This costs $107 for 10 vials on Amazon (other suppliers are available). It should be used for “Lack of stamina; Nocturnal emissions; Male hormone imbalance” [2, 3, 4]. It can be taken orally as a pill or solution or injected into the Large Intestine 11 (LI.11) acupuncture point; hence the needles allegedly found by the detectives.

Here are the ingredients: Each 300 mg contains: Aralia quinquefolia 4X 3 mg, Testis suis 4X 3 mg, Agnus castus 6X 3 mg, Ascorbicum acidum 6X 3 mg, Caladium seguinum 6X 3 mg, Picricum acidum 6X 3 mg, Strychninum sulphuricum 6X 3 mg, Cantharis 8X 3 mg, Cor suis 8X 3 mg, Curare 8X 3 mg, Damiana 8X 3 mg, Embryo suis 8X 3 mg, Manganum phosphoricum 8X 3 mg, Phosphorus 8X 3 mg, Diencephalon suis 10X 3 mg, Ferrum phosphoricum 10X 3 mg, Magnesia phosphorica 10X 3 mg, Selenium metallicum 10X 3 mg, Zincum metallicum 10X 3 mg, Cortisone aceticum 13X 3 mg, Glandula suprarenalis suis 13X 3 mg, Conium maculatum 28X 3 mg, Lycopodium clavatum 28X 3 mg.

I don’t want to bore you with translating all of these, but “Ascorbicum acidum” is vitamin C and Testis Suis is presumably some form of animal testicle extract. To counteract this there is “Agnus Castus” which comes from the “chasteberry tree”. The clue as to its proposed function is in the name (it is also known as Monk’s pepper); this is a treatment to reduce sexual desire. So a confusing addition to the list of ingredients.

As Millard eloquently says on his blog [1], “If athletes are still injecting animal testicle extracts, it represents a major step backwards for science. While this may have been popular among athletes over a century ago most athletes have upgraded their choice of performance-enhancing products to reflect advances in science.” But he doesn’t need to worry. This is a homeopathic formulation. Each X is a factor of 10 serial dilution. So the most concentrated ingredient here (the 4X) dilution is only 1 in 10,000 of what was in the original material. “Conium maculatum” is an extract of the plant poison hemlock. Does this make testis composutim poisonous? Don’t worry - Oscar was in no danger. A 26X dilution is the equivalent of adding 1/3 of a drop of this plant extract into all the water in all the oceans on earth. At the 28X dilution here there is virtually no chance of there being any molecules present at all. Certainly nothing to effect its stated aim of treating “sexual nervousness with feeble erection” [3].

So if Oscar Pistorius really was injecting testis composutim he was essentially injecting a solution of dilute salt. If he was taking a pill he was taking magnesium stearate and lactose (inactive filler material).

The bad news is that, whether taken in pill or injection, this composition will have absolutely no effect on performance on the track or in the bedroom. The good news – there is no way you can fail a doping test by taking a homeopathic remedy!

[4] Note to any elite athletes reading this: Viagra is not on the doping banned list and it actually works. 

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