From Lance Armstrong to Marion Jones, time and time again we’ve seen disappointing cases of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs. In the past, the fact that these drugs were produced in a lab made them a bit easier to control, both in terms of distribution and access. While the number of these cases feels endless, these drugs were not necessarily accessible to the general public. But what would happen if they were? Scratch that. What would happen if they always have been?
What I’m getting at here is the idea that performance-enhancing chemicals might exist in our food, (like that stuff we buy at the grocery store). According to scientists at Freie Universität Berlin, that is not only a possibility but a reality, as they have recently discovered that ecdysterone, a steroid-like chemical found in spinach is in fact performance-enhancing. DW has reported that after conducting a 10 week strength training program with forty-six athletes, researchers found that “those taking the supplement saw their physical strength increase three times as much as their placebo-taking counterparts.” As a result, researchers concluded that ecdysterone should been classified as a banned substance on the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) list. Sounds pretty understandable to me.
When talking to CNN, the study’s co-author Maria Parr seemed to be more concerned with the fact “that ecdysterone can currently be bought legally as a dietary supplement, because TBH you would have to eat a lot of spinach to get to actually absorb that much ecdysterone. Like 8.8 pounds to be exact. Y’all, that’s more than 8 of these suckers:
As much as I love spinach, truly would never want to eat that much. And despite all of the crazy things that athletes do, something tells me they wouldn’t be down either…