ErgoPharm of Champaign, Ill., began marketing 6-OXO Extreme - an enhanced version of its 6-OXO - as a testosterone booster in the spring of 2007.
Its primary ingredient is a variant of DHEA, a testosterone-like hormone produced in the adrenal gland. The newer version of the supplement also contains other natural ingredients that enhance the capsules' effects, wrote its creator Patrick Arnold, vice-president of parent company Proviant Technologies Inc., in an e-mail message.
Dobs strongly recommends that, in the absence of a medical need, athletes avoid all compounds intended to raise testosterone beyond normal levels.
They may have have the effect of suppressing normal testosterone production, she said, which could be a problem once the supplement is discontinued. Excess muscle mass can also cause medical problems. There is some evidence of reduced sperm counts and, with limited study so far, she said, "there could be some longerterm consequences that we don't understand."
In children who are still developing, Dobs said, artificially high levels of testosterone can mimic adult levels and stunt growth.
While much of the controversy surrounding Romero has focused on what is allowed and why 6-OXO Extreme apparently produced a banned substance in a drug test, the real issue, Dobs said, is enhancing performance by raising normal levels of testosterone.
"There is always a new designer drug that is being developed that is not being detected in the athletes."
Contact staff writer Don Sapatkin at 215-854-2617 or email@example.com.