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By: David Markel, Noah Kaplan, and Michael Fishel

Why would any one want to take a testosterone boosting supplement? 

Testosterone supplements help to build muscle and recover from injury. Most people taking the drug are looking for a faster way and better way to improve strength and endurance. Many athletes are forced to take supplements in order to stay competitive. Boston Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn said, "Anything illegal is definitely wrong…But if you get something over the counter and legal, guys in that power hitter position are going to use them." This logic not only applies to Major League Baseball power hitters, but many high school athletes.

What is Andro?

  Androstenedione is a natural chemical found in the body that produces testosterone. This chemical can also be found naturally in some meat and even some plants. Androstenedione, also called Andro, can boost testosterone levels when taken orally sometimes making the person stronger. Andro was first seen in capsule form in the US in the 1990's. Its popularity has grown ever since Mark McGwire, the new Major League Baseball home run record holder, admitted to taking the supplement. The companies that are selling Andro are making huge profits off the supplement that claims to increase lean muscle mass 300%. Even though most people who take the drug don't complain of any side effects at all (according to our survey) this drug has been reported to carry dangerous side effects. Most Major League sports have banned the supplement saying it gives athletes a "unfair advantage". The NBA, the MLB, and the NHL in the US have not ruled this supplement as "unfair".  There are many questions that remain about this supplement such as the long-term side effects, and how much muscle is gained by taking the drug. This supplement can be bought over the counter and is not controlled by the FDA, making Andro easy to access. Some drug chains have taken this drug off the shelf due to fear of long-term side effects. Andro can be found in some local drug chains and also on the World Wide Web. One person from our poll explains, "Andro's advantages make up for the side effects."  

What about the health risk?

Most of the health risks for Androstenedione are not known, and the long-term effects are not known at all.

Andro is a not steroid but an androgen,a precursor that requires a chemical change in the body in order to promote testerone production. However, it can have many of the same side effects.
It might convert to the female hormone, estrogen in males and females.
Too much Andro can shut down the production of testosterone in the body.
In adolescents it is known to stunt growth.

How does Andro work?

  Andro is first consumed orally.  It is then taken to the liver where it picks up two carbons.  The two carbons added to andro is testosterone.  Andro is also already made in your body.  The natural production of Andro is different.

What about Baseball and Andro?
  For more than a year St. Louis Cardinals power hitter Mark McGwire has taken the legal supplement Androstenedione. Many people believe that the drug gave him an unfair advantage last year when he shattered Roger Maris's single season home run record. Mark McGwire insists that the drug is legal and therefore should be a focal point in the media. He said, "Everything I've done is natural. Everybody that I know in the game of baseball uses the same stuff I use." However, many other players have said that they would never a drug as strong as in Andro in fear of secondary problems. Many of these same players do not denounce McGwire for taking the drug. Mo Vaughn said, "Anything illegal is definitely wrong. But if you get something over the counter and legal, guys in the power hitter position are going to use them." McGwire's use of the drug has brought it to the forefront and now many people are taking the supplement hoping for McGwire's success. Many of these people are teens participating in high school sports. Andro has different side effects in adolescents.

Conclusion

  A lot is still not known about Andro such as the long-term side effects. The FDA has no regulations against this supplement. This means that the FDA has found that the supplement is safe and will not stop any one from selling Andro unless they can prove that it is dangerous. This drug varies in side effects from person to person. One proven fact is that too much of any drug taken at one time it can cause dangerous side effects. Also it is still not known if the drug might turn into estrogen in the body. Most of the people who are taking Andro that commented on it in our survey explain that it is a successful supplement, although one man said that he lost weight instead of gaining it. The people taking this drug are mostly in the 18-30 year old range. Most people that we surveyed don't think that the media should focus on Mark McGwire's use of the supplement as well as crediting the supplement for his record-breaking home runs. The fact of the matter is that without the drug he was hitting 50 home runs in his rookie season. Mark McGwire states that "every one he knows uses the stuff he uses". He also said that if any thing really dangerous were ever found about Andro he would be willing to give it up. He states, "If anything it is for my recovery".

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