Developer of Androstenedione Pill Clears up Misconceptions About Supplement That's Haunting Mark McGwire

Chemist Teams Up With MET-Rx Owner to Develop Second-Generation Andro


Aug 31, 1998, 01:00 ET from MET-Rx

    IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- St. Louis Cardinals' homerun hero
 Mark McGwire takes a teeny little pill with a five-syllable name, and suddenly
 sportscasters and reporters around the world are tripping over the
 tongue-twister of a name.  But androstenedione (andro - steen - DIE - own),
 andro for short, is not just being mispronounced.  It's being misunderstood by
 most of the people talking about it.
     "There are some common mistakes being made as people report on McGwire's
 use of androstenedione," says Patrick Arnold, an American chemist who
 developed andro into a pill that is marketed in the U.S.
     Following are the two most common misconceptions Arnold has noted:
     MISCONCEPTION #1:  Andro is a drug.  It is not a drug, and it is not
 regulated as a drug.  It is a legal, over-the-counter substance.
     MISCONCEPTION #2:  Andro is an anabolic steriod.  Andro is a steriod
 compound.  The term steroid simply means a structural configuration to a which
 a wide variety of compounds, including cholesterol, belong.  When people hear
 the term steroid, they are thinking of an anabolic steroid which is related to
 tissue-building, and sex-specific testosterone activity like deepening of the
 voice, facial hair, etc.
     Another point of difference:  Anabolic steroids are pure testosterone,
 injected directly into the body in any quantity; andro, on the other hand, is
 a precursor to testosterone.  The body converts andro into testosterone
 naturally, so that for a few hours andro will raise the amount of testosterone
 in the body by approximately 15 percent.
     History behind andro
     Andro was first used as a performance enhancing supplement by East German
 scientists in the 1970s.  Athletes snorted it through nasal spray to enhance
 their performance.
     The Germans patented andro in the U.S. in the 1990s, but only for nasal
 usage.  At about that time, American chemist Patrick Arnold developed andro
 into a pill that is being marketed today through a company called Substrate
 Solutions, a division of MET-Rx Engineered Nutrition.
     MET-Rx is owned by Dr. Scott Connelly, a leading physician in nutrition
 and sport supplements who established the Connelly Lab for Applied Nutritional
 Science at UCLA.  Arnold and Dr. Connelly are currently developing a more
 effective second-generation andro supplement called androstenediol.  Lower
 total dosage requirements and reduced potential side effects are important
 goals of their research and development efforts.
     Arnold said this second generation supplement works through a different
 enzyme than the original andro, and can raise testosterone levels up to
 45 percent.
     Dr. A. Scott Connelly, a critical care and metabolic specialist is also a
 leading physician in nutrition and sport supplements as well as founder of
 MET-Rx Engineered Nutrition.  He has studied medicine and nutrition for over
 20 years, including studies at some of the finest medical institutions and
 universities in the country.  He received his post graduate medical training
 at Harvard Medical School's prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital and
 continued his medical training at Stanford University as a Senior Fellow in
 Intensive Care Medicine, where he subsequently became a member of the clinical
 faculty instructing medical students and residents in Intensive Care medicine.
 At UCLA, Dr. Connelly established the Connelly Lab for Applied Nutritional
 Science, a division of the Clinical Nutrition Center, Department of Medicine.
 He is also a visiting lecturer on nutritional physiology at UCLA.  Dr.
 Connelly is currently collaborating with researchers and scientists to study
 how better nutrition can increase muscle mass and strength, improve the immune
 system and enhance overall health.