Major league baseball plans to ban the use of androstenedione, the muscle-building dietary supplement used by home run champion Mark McGwire, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported Thursday.
The newspaper cited unidentified sources, who said they expect commissioner Bud Selig to formally announce a ban before spring training next season.
Selig denied the report, saying he hadn't begun to consider the issue.
"Together with the union, we've got the leading experts in this country studying this," Selig said Thursday. "It's not only very premature, but very unfair. None of this should ever diminish from Mark McGwire's extraordinary season."
Selig and union head Donald Fehr agreed Aug. 27 to appoint a committee of doctors to study andro. The doctors aren't expected to report back for 6-to-10 weeks.
"All the players will know where we stand on andro once a decision is made," Fehr was quoted as saying by the paper. "Right now, the doctors are simply investigating."
McGwire, who could not be reached for comment, hit 70 homers this year, breaking the record of 61 set by Roger Maris in 1961.
"I would hate to be in McGwire's shoes right now," said Dr. William Bryan, team physician for the Houston Astros and the past president of the Association of Professional Team Physicians. "We have just been shaking our heads all this time that androstenedione was on the shelves."
Androstenedione is illegal in Canada but legal in the United States. It is banned by the NFL, NCAA and the Olympics but allowed by baseball.
In Johnson City, Tenn., researchers at East Tennessee State are studying the supplement. Dr. Craig Broeder, exercise physiologist at the school's Human Performance Lab, said they will study androstenedione's physical and psychological effect on men between the ages of 35 and 65.
"The main reason for the study is about health issues and anti-aging," he said.
The study's 70 participants will undergo medical tests as they engage in weight training for 12 weeks.
The $28,000 study is being funded by ChemSource, a company that researches supplements and other products, and Metabolic Response Modifiers, which produces supplements.
Broeder said he hopes to find that andro cn boost men's testosterone at an age when it begins to drop. Such a drop creates a greater risk of heart and circulatory problems.
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