Is it conceivable that every Major League Baseball player could use performance-enhancing dosages of testosterone and never test positive for a banned substance? Sure, although unlikely, the information is out there. There are more than a few chemists who could figure out how to exploit a :
I could figure out how to take a fair amount of testosterone and you’d never catch me, and if I can say that, a lot of others can too.
Who said that? Patrick Arnold? Bruce Kneller? Maybe another creator of designer supplements? Actually, it was Don Catlin, the former director of UCLA’s Olympic Analytical Testing Lab and founder of the Anti-Doping Research Institute.
This statement reflects Catlin’s firsthand knowledge of loopholes for testosterone detection in existing drug testing protocols. If the sport relies exclusively on the testosterone:epitestosterone ratio (T:E ratio) test with an allowable ratio of 4:1 or 6:1, then this allows athletes to use performance-enhancing amounts of testosterone without exceeding that ratio.
Recently introduced carbon isotope ratio (CIR) test seeks to determine whether the testosterone metabolites are synthetic(plant-based) or natural (endogenous). This may not be foolproof; but has been used to corroborate elevate T:E ratios (e.g.).
However, depending on the sport, the CIR test may never be used unless an athlete fails the T:E ratio test. Furthermore, some sports don’t even use the CIR test (e.g. Major League Baseball)
In these cases, an athlete can exploit the testosterone loophole in testing.
The “cream” used by BALCO was not a novel undetectable designer steroid or sophisticated method of administering steroids. It was simply a variation of the testosterone and epitestosterone cocktail that had first been used over 20 years ago to fool drug testers.
BALCO athletes simply used a transdermal delivery system to administer the testosterone and epitestosterone mixture. Transdermal testosterone has a slower release and results in lower peak blood concentrations. This makes is easier for athletes to use the prohibited anabolic steroid testosterone and remain within the 4:1 to 6:1 acceptable T:E ratio as well as avoiding excessive absolute levels of metabolites.
Even after the entire BALCO scandal, the “testosterone loophole” has not been closed. The “cream” is just as effective as ever for a professional baseball player. And no solutions to this loophole contained within the Mitchell Report.