It's a question still debated by sports and science. Could baseball star Mark McGwire have belted 70 home runs in one season without the help of the steroid-like supplement commonly referred to as Andro? No one knows for sure, but one thing is for sure, the FDA is telling companies to quit selling Andro unless they can prove it's safe.
Actually, the name is Androstenedione, better known as Andro. Government health officials say they believe the over the counter supplement is as dangerous as steroids and should be regulated like a prescription drug.
"We will pursue seizure actions. We will pursue injunctions and we can even criminal sanctions against people who violate the law by continuing to market products that have not been shown to be safe," said FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan.
Meanwhile, Congress is considering legislation that would put a permanent stop to over the counter sales of Andro, putting it through the same strict prescription rules as anabolic steroids. Mark McGwire stopped using the supplement, but government health officials say that at least one survey suggests that 1 out of 40 high school seniors is still using the supplement.
Andro raises testosterone above normal levels, increasing the risk of various health problems along with a greater incidence of baldness and sexual dysfunction.
The FDA move comes on the heels of new Congressional pressure on professional sports to step up drug testing. Androstenedione, which increases testosterone levels, is not a steroid but a so-called precursor supplement, one converted into hormones once inside the body.