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re herbs as banned substances
- To: Ridecamp@endurance.net
- Subject: re herbs as banned substances
- From: "Beth Glace" <email@example.com>
- Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 15:51:46 +0000
- Comments: Authenticated sender is <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Organization: NISMAT
- Priority: normal
- Reply-to: email@example.com
This discussion raises an interesting and thorny issue that human
athletes also have to cope with. It is difficult to say where to
draw a line between a food stuff and a pharmocologic agent. It is
probably most important to remember that naturally occurring, as in
herbs, does not mean the ingredient is not a drug. Such
ingredients for humans include caffeine containing products such as
guarana, coffee or tea, or "energy" supplements such as Ma Huang or
ephedrines. Many of these "natural" ingredients will result in
positive drug tests by the IOC. Caffeine is allowed in low amounts
but you will be suspended if caught with amounts indicative of >5
cups of coffee. Why the suspension and possible end of someone's
competitive career? Because these substances are proven to
enhance performance, often by exerting a stimulant effect.
Furthermore, they are not ingredients essential to life or widespread
in the typical diet.
Of course, we do manipulate food and fluid intake, and in horses load
them with electrolytes in amounts they would never see in nature, to
extend their ability to exerice for prolonged periods in adverse
conditions. Given the impossibility of testing for all these
substances it becomes incumbent upon the
person to act according to the rules of the organization and of
conscience. We should remember, though, that arsinic is contained in
apple seeds, and digitalis is found in the garden. Natural does not
always mean ethical or advisable.
Beth Glace, MS
Lenox Hill Hospital
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