Green tea and doping tests

British scientists have discovered that green tea could bias the results of doping controls, by reducing the concentration of testosterone in the blood.

Researchers at Kingston University, UK, found that tea had the ability to inhibit a specific enzyme, thereby reducing the third testosterone detected.

Testosterone is the hormone most commonly used in doping to enhance performance of athletes. Doped athletes then present levels of 200 to 300% above normal, when they are controlled.

To reach these conclusions, the researcher Declan Naughton and his team have added extracts of green tea or white tea in blood samples containing testosterone.

Some experts said the limited effects of foods like green tea on masking illegal drug use would be too small to help doping athletes. “You would probably need to drink the tea continuously to get any sustained but minor effect,” said Andrew Kicman, head of research and development at the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London, which is providing the anti-doping laboratory for the upcoming Olympics.

The results of this work were published in the journal “Steroids”.

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