Is part of spinach list really doping?

The principle is of Popeye is known: Hardly any of the cartoon sailor eats a can of spinach, to swell his muscles. An international team of researchers has demonstrated this effect, now also with high-performance athletes, they report in the journal “Archives of Toxicology”. The excitement is great. “Spinach in the sight of the doping investigators,” reports of the Bavarian radio.

In fact, the substance of ecdysterone, which is, and which is also contained in spinach is suspected, already in the eighties, for an amazing performance of Russian athletes at the Olympic Games responsible for. From the “Russian secret” was out of the question. In addition, a dietary Supplement with ecdysterone came in the last few years on the market, the advertise, with positive effects on athletic performance.

“We had not expected”

Whether the spinach-substance is good, in fact, as a doping agent, were researchers in the current study to check now. For this route you want to 46 sports over ten weeks, either a Placebo or the substance of ecdysterone. After that, the athletes should jump, bench press and squats to complete. The result: The athletes, the ecdysterone had taken, fared better than the Placebo group, they also had built up more muscle mass.

The effect is most pronounced when the Bank was revealed to press. The participants had per day two pills with ecdysterone, have managed to lift after the ten-day Training on average three times more, namely, good 9.5 kg. Athletes from the Placebo group were, on average, only 3.3 kilograms and more. In the other disciplines, the performance difference is lower.

“Our hypothesis was that we will see a increase in performance. But that would be so great, we did not expect that,” said Maria Kristina Parr of the Free University of Berlin, in an Interview with the ARD-Radio-Research Sport and ARTE Re/DokThema. She recommends that ecdysterone on the doping list. If it really comes down to it, ultimately decides the world anti-doping Agency (WADA), which has supported the study financially.

More than six pounds of spinach per day

This requires, however, further investigations to find out how widespread ecdysterone in top-level sport is. In addition, previous studies provided no evidence that the spinach-fabric performance enhancing effect. It is also questionable how the inspectors in the case of a ban is to check whether or not athletes ecdysterone-tablets have to be taken, or just a lot of spinach to eat. The vegetable itself is on the doping list, is unlikely.

Who now hopes to be able to spinach to increase its performance, would have to eat very much of it. In the Experiment, the athletes took up to 800 milligrams of ecdysterone per day. In order to get to the same amount that you would must consume to 6.6 kilograms of spinach. Each and every day.