Spinach extract to be placed on WADA banned list.

A recent scientific paper, publised 5th July 2019, indictaes that a German research group, based at Freie Universitat in Berlin have provided evidence that a spinach extract, when combined with the amino acid, leucine, has an anabolic effect that potentially surpasses that of the banned androgenic steroid, metandienone.     

The potency of this spinach extract was so dramatic, after results were observed in a 10-week human performance trial, that the researchers have strongly recommended its inclusion on WADA’s prohibited substances list under class S1.2 “other anabolic agents” 

The compound is called ecdysterone and is known as “the Russian Secret”

In a Google search for ecdysterone supplements, it was not difficult to find products containing this ingredient at levels of 100mg per serve / dose which was the amount of ecdysterone per capsule used in the German study.  (The specific supplement called Peak Ecdysone  used in the German study appears to have been withdrawn from the market.) 

So,…  should spinach be avoided by athletes, especially vegetarian athletes? The answer is likely to be no; keep eating spinach. The quantity of spinach required for even a low dose effect would range from between 250g and 4kgs of cooked spinach per day. Regardless of the anabolic effect, this level of spinach consumption would greatly elevate the risk of kidney stones, due to spinach having a naturally high level of oxalic acid and so attempts to consume this quantity of spinach should be strongly discouraged.    

In 1929, when Popeye the Sailor first appeared in a comic strip, who would have thought that nearly 90 years later, the miraculous physical transformation that was wonderfully portrayed from eating spinach, would have proven to be true. 

Of course, this raises the issue that in a world where drug testing in sports is everywhere, you can’t assume that because something is natural or from plant origin that it will be safe for an athlete to consume. 

PowerAmp Sports batch tests all its supplements and hydration drinks.  Look for the “Informed Sport” logo on the bottle.    

See the details from the study here.