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Andro May Contain Unwanted Surprise.

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Despite the controversy, the FDA allows andro and related products to be sold over the counter at health food stores, gyms, and grocery stores.

"We've seen a large rash of athletes testing positive for 19-norandrosterone in the last few years," Catlin says. "Many claimed they didn't take anything, but later admitted that they'd used andro or something similar."

Cynthia Kuhn, PhD, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., reviewed the report for WebMD. She says the levels of nandrolone found in the andro capsules are not enough to be medically hazardous. But the important point is that actual contents of the supplements differ from what is advertised, she tells WebMD.

"This has been often speculated, but rarely tested," says Kuhn, who is professor of pharmacology in the department of pharmacology and cancer biology, and has written a book about supplements. "What is in these supplements is not what the advertisers say, and there are trace elements that can cause athletes trouble."

She says, "These supplements are drugs, even if people don't think of them as drugs."

The National Institutes of Health, the NFL, NCAA, U.S. Olympic Committee, Major League Baseball, and the Major League Baseball Players Association supported the study by Catlin's group at UCLA.

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