Urinary nandrolone metabolite detection after ingestion of a nandrolone precursor

Introduction: Quantities of various anabolic/ androgenic steroids have been found in dietary supplements without their presence being disclosed on the label. The aim of this study was to quantify the excretion patterns of the diagnostic metabolites, 19-norandrosterone (19-NA) and 19-noretiocholanolone (19-NE), after ingestion of small doses of 19-nor-4-androstene-3,17- dione (19-norandrostenedione). Methods: Eleven males and nine females entered the laboratory in the morning following an overnight fast. An initial urine sample was collected and volunteers then ingested 500 mL of water containing 5 g of creatine monohydrate and either 1.0 μg, 2.5 μg or 5.0 μg of 19-norandrostendione. The volume of each urine void was measured and an aliquot taken. Samples were analysed for the metabolites 19-NA and 19-NE by GCMS. Results Baseline urinary 19-NA concentrations were 0.19±0.14 ng/mL. Ingestion of the supplement resulted in peak mean urinary 19-NA concentrations of 0.68±0.36 ng/mL, 1.56±0.86 ng/mL, and 3.89±3.11 ng/mL in the 1.0μg, 2.5μg or 5.0μg trials respectively. Under current WADA regulations, ingestion of the 1.0 μg dose produced 0 positive doping tests, 5 subjects (20%) tested positive in the 2.5 μg trial and 15 subjects (75%) had urinary 19- NA concentrations exceeding 2 ng/mL after ingesting creatine containing 5.0 μg of the steroid. The recovery of the ingested dose was highly variable between individuals, with values ranging from 11 - 84 % (mean±SD = 47 ± 18%). Conclusions: Ingestion of trace amounts of 19-norandrostendione can result in transient elevations of urinary 19-NA and 19- NE concentrations. The addition of as little as 2.5 μg of 19-norandrostendione to a supplement (0.00005% contamination) appears sufficient to result in a doping violation in some individuals.