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

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PheraPlex enlarges the heart

Let's refresh our memories.
In the last days of the Balco doping lab, Victor Conte and his men worked feverishly to produce a substitute for the once undetectable designer-steroid THG. Conte had heard through his connections that THG had been identified.

The substitute was DMT. The Canadian customs had discovered the substance when they searched sprinter Derek Dueck's car.

PheraPlex enlarges the heart
Because the DMT sample also contained traces of THG, it soon became clear that the new steroid was connected to Balco.

The unknown substance was 17alpha-methyl 5alpha androst-2-ene-17beta-ol, a 3-desoxy-steroid that Syntex had developed in the early sixties.

On 18 October, 2005, the Washington Post published an article by Amy Shipley which made it clear that this same DMT was available on the market as a supplement which went by a number of names, including PheraPlex and Ergomax LMG. And this is still the case.

Doping researcher Patrick Diel, a member of Wilhelm Schaenzer's Cologne group, has subjected DMT to animal tests, the results of which were published in Toxicology Letters. DMT is a fully-fledged androgen, Diel writes. DMT binds just as strong as DHT to the androgen receptor. Unlike THG, DMT is a specific androgen and has only a low binding affinity with the progesterone receptor. [Toxicol Lett. 2006 Jun 20;164(1):16-23.]

What's more, DMT is anabolic. The figure below compares the anabolic effect of DMT with that of testosterone propionate on castrated rats. The animals were given an injection containing 1 milligram of active ingredient per kilogram bodyweight each day for twelve days.

PheraPlex enlarges the heart

DMT increased the production of androgen receptors and IGF-1 in the calf muscle, Diel discovered. The effect was less than in the rats that had been given testosterone propionate. The anabolic effect of testosterone is therefore greater than that of DMT. But, on the other hand, DMT is less androgenic than testosterone propionate.

PheraPlex enlarges the heart

DMT also had less effect on the seminal vesicles than testosterone propionate had. As far as it goes, Syntex's research is on track, Diel notes.

DMT had no effect on the weight of the liver. It did produce an increase in the production of the enzyme tyrosine amino transferase, but the increase was not much bigger than the increase caused by testosterone propionate. The effect of DMT on the heart muscle was more worrying.

PheraPlex enlarges the heart

The doses in the trials were low, says Diel. If you consider this effect, and combine it with the literature on the relationship between anabolic steroids and structural changes in the heart muscle, then you know that you've found a potential side-effect of DMT.

Researchers are studying the effects of high doses of DMT. When these are finished we'll know more.

Toxicol Lett. 2007 Feb 28;169(1):64-71.