Thursday, January 14, 2016

What is “Andro” and Why Is it Banned?

Every year about this time the debate whether steroid era players should be in the Hall of Fame or not gets heated but do people really know what they are talking about? That’s not meant to be an insult or a questioning of your intelligence by any means but I’m serious, do people actually know what these steroids are and do people actually know what they do or do they follow along with the other sheep and baaaaaa all the way to the pasture? I like to think of myself as a leader and a trendsetter but also an educator when I can and I will attempt to do the latter today as I try and explain what exactly “Andro” is and explain why it is banned by Major League Baseball.

The word Andro, or Androstenedione, is a hormone that you used to be able to buy over the counter at any local GNC or pharmaceutical company that was made famous when Major League Baseball added it to its banned substance list in 2004. This was long after a reporter saw a bottle of it in Mark McGwire’s clubhouse locker in 1998 when he went on to save baseball from the strike and when he went on to break the single season home run record held by former Yankees All-Star Roger Maris and long after Mike Piazza admitted to using it in a 2013 autobiography he wrote. Why did sluggers like McGwire and Piazza want to take this? Well it was a muscle builder that promised it could increase your testosterone levels by as much as 400%. Andro also reportedly keeps your red blood cells healthy, enhances your recovery and shortens your recovery time from injuries and exercise and heightens your sexual arousal and performance but Andro does not come without its risks.

Those risks led then President George W. Bush to sign into law the Anabolic Steroid Control Act in 2004 which added Andro to the list of banned non-prescription steroid-based drugs. It was then that MLB, the NFL, college sports and the Olympics followed suit also banning Andro from their games. Andro is dangerous as a sudden spike in testosterone levels could absolutely destroy your liver for example while the drug also significantly reduces your “good” cholesterol number which could increase the risk of heart disease in longtime users. But if it works it is worth it right? Well according to a study done by Iowa State the stuff didn’t even really work anyway on its own.

Iowa State students and scientists did a study on Andro in 1999 with 20 healthy men as their control unit. Ten of them took Andro and 10 of them took a dummy pill made of rice flour while both sets of men underwent eight weeks of weight training and the gains in muscle bulk and strength were recorded. At the end of the eight weeks the numbers were almost identical. Either rice flour should be banned as well from MLB or Andro, again as a stand-alone drug, was a bust.

Which leads me to my conclusion, Andro is good for one and not to other? When I say “good” for one I mean Mike Piazza who was just elected into the MLB Hall of Fame with the other being Mark McGwire who has not yet been elected and was damned from baseball for a few years after his retirement. Scientists don’t even think Andro is worth a damn, again by itself, and yet we’re still keeping players out of the Hall of Fame because of it? Instead of, and this is directed towards the BBWAA, thinking you’re God, judge and jury how about you take a second to read a book and become educated on the matters before altering the course of MLB history because you think Andro altered it first.

This concludes another steroid-laced Hall of Fame rant by Daniel Burch. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)