Olympic doping officials are considering whether to tweak their tests after a recent British study showed green tea might hide testosterone from the standard test.
The study was a test in a lab dish so scientists aren’t sure if the effects will be the same in people. But some experts say the results are intriguing enough that Olym-pic testing could be updated to include that possibility.
“It’s interesting that something as common as tea could have a significant influence on the steroid profile,” said Olivier Rabin, scientific director of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). He said other foods and beverages, such as alcohol, are also known to muddle test results.
“We may need to adjust our steroid (test) to allow us to exclude whether a test is modified by food or training or disease, before we can say that it’s doping,” Rabin said.
He said they might have to raise their normal threshold for what is a considered a legal amount of testosterone to allow for any such interference.
In the study, researchers added green and white tea extracts or ‘catechins’ to testosterone and tested whether the enzyme that usually detects testosterone in the body could still identify it. Tea seemed to reduce the testosterone concentration by up to 30 percent and appeared to work best when testosterone was only slightly higher than normal.