Does Green Tea Help Olympians Cheat?

Does Green Tea Help Olympians Cheat?

Track and Field has always been my favorite Olympic event. When I was growing up I idolized Carl Lewis. Lewis used to dominate the 100m, 200m and long jump events. Coming off of 4 Gold Medals in the Los Angeles Olympics, I couldn’t wait for the 1988 Seoul Olympics to start. You can image my shock when a Canadian by the name of Ben Johnson beat Lewis and took the Gold for the 100m dash.

It wasn’t just that Johnson won the event, but he crushed Lewis and the rest of the runners on his way to setting the world record. Well, it ends up that Ben Johnson cheated. He used a high tech mix of steroids that could not be detected at that time. They stripped him of all his medals and records. I have always thought that cheating in the Olympics is a terrible thing to do, as is cheating in anything. So you can imagine my shock when I read a few months ago that some Olympians are using Green Tea to cheat just like Ben Johnson did 24 years ago.  

Green Tea Masks Testosterone Levels

Research performed by London’s Kingston University reveals that athletes can mask the appearance of steroids or other performance enhancing drugs by drinking a lot of Green Tea. A team headed by Professor Declan Naughton, from the University's School of Life Sciences, found drinking Green and White Tea reduces the amount of the performance-enhancing hormone present in urine testing. Without getting too geeky on you, the way this works is the catechins in tea prevent your body from releasing excess testosterone. "The catechins stop enzymes tagging molecules for excretion so the kidneys don't recognize them as needing to be removed and leave them circulating in the body," Professor Naughton explained. "We found that Green and White Tea could inhibit the enzyme by about 30 percent. The levels of catechins in a strong cup of Green Tea matched those we used in our experiments."  

So people can take some steroids and drink tea to cover it up?

Basically, that is correct. What steroids essentially do is give your body more testosterone than what is naturally available, which makes your muscles stronger. It is this additional strength that can allow you hit a baseball further, run faster or jump higher. If Green and White Tea can mask a 30% increase, then that means that you can unnaturally add 30% more testosterone to your body in theory. That is a big advantage for any professional and nonprofessional athlete.  

What About Us Non-Olympic People?

This really has to do with the detection of testosterone, not the production of it. Just because you drink a lot of tea does not mean that your muscles will double in size or your forehead will grow wider. So unless you plan on competing professionally in a sport, just drink your tea because you love it. That's what I do!

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