Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Supplement protects steroids users' livers

Supplement protects steroids users' livers
A preparation made by Natterman, which supposedly protects the liver and which chemical athletes are using more and more often: Greek researchers refer to it in their study as compound N. The researchers, at Thessaly University, set up an experiment to determine whether compound N really works.

After a bit of surfing we worked out that Compound N is Essentiale forte. [Google]

A packet contains a couple of dozen capsules, each of which contains 300 mg of polyene phosphatidylcholine. This probably resembles the phosphatidylcholine found in soya.

In addition, each capsule contains 6 mg of vitamin B1, 6 mg of vitamin B2, 6 mg of vitamin B6, 6 mcg of vitamin B12, 30 mg of nicotinamide and 6 mg of vitamin E.

The Greeks, who by the way have also done research on the psychological effects of anabolic steroids, did an experiment with three hundred and twenty athletes. Half of them, one hundred and sixty athletes, used steroids. Of these chemical athletes, the researchers gave forty Essentiale forte: two capsules a day taken with food.

All of the chemical athletes took steroids and the researchers monitored them for eight weeks. The list below gives you an idea of what the Greek bodybuilders were using.

Supplement protects steroids users' livers

Yes, the list puzzled us too. Quinbolone? [An enol-ether of boldenone – Ed.] Oxabolone? [Nandrolone with a hydroxyl group on C4 – Ed.] Are these products still on the market? And where are the 'new' designer steroids? Surely athletes in Greece use products like 1-Test and Madol too?


During the eight-week period the researchers measured the athletes' concentrations of the following enzymes: aspartate aminotransferase (AST/SGOT), alanine aminotransferase (ALT/SGPT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase (gamma-GT) and creatine kinase (CK).

The more enzymes in the blood, the harder a time the liver is having.

The figure below shows what happened to the liver enzyme concentrations. Group A = chemical athletes who took Essentiale forte as well. Group B = chemical athletes who did not take a liver-protection supplement. Group C = 'natural' athletes.

Supplement protects steroids users' livers

The researchers are not sure how phosphatidylcholine and vitamins protect steroids users' livers. They suspect that the mixture strengthens the membranes of the liver cells. The livers of steroids users have to work hard to break down all the extra substances they are subjected to. And as a result the liver cells 'cut down' on metabolising fats. The liver gets fattier because the liver cells are no longer burning fat well [beta-oxidation – Ed.] and maintenance of the cell membranes made up of fatty acid chains gets neglected. The supplement helps the liver cells to perform these functions.

Sounds attractive, but to be honest we find it difficult to believe that simply taking vitamin B pills and lecithin capsules can protect steroids users’ livers. And we're probably not the only ones who are sceptical. Reading between the lines you can also see that the Greeks had trouble getting their study published.

That's why they use long-winded sentences like: "the results from our cohort of similarly exercising individuals suggest that polyunsaturated phospholipids in combination with vitamins of the B complex protect hepatic cells from AAS-induced damage." According to the Greeks Compound N is not a supplement but "a controlled pharmaceutical agent".

But still. It's not totally impossible that the Greeks have discovered something that will enable thousands of steroids users to juice more safely.

Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2008 Jan;46(1):57-66.