Sports Sunday: The low-down on Wilson Chandler’s PED of choice

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When news that Wilson Chandler, the Brooklyn Nets’ veteran forward, tested positive for Ipamorelin, a performance enhancing drug banned by the National Basketball Association, sports fans were reminded of a competitive truism. Athletes are always looking for an edge on their opponents and some are willing to go to risky lengths to achieve their goals. In the past few days, we’ve heard a lot about the player but very little about the drug.

So what is Ipamorelin? It’s technically something called a Growth-Hormone secretalogue. In more common parlance, it’s a substance secreted in the body that induces the production of growth hormone. The chemical mimics Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone (GHRH) which is naturally produced in the anterior pituitary gland, along with another chemical called somastatin that counteracts GHRH’s effects.

Ipamorelin was developed by a team of researchers at Novo Nordisk in the late 1990s. At the time, it was described as “the first GHRP-receptor agonist with a selectivity for GH release similar to that displayed by GHRH.” Like most PEDs, it was originally intended to be used clinically as a treatment for various conditions. It’s been tested as a way of reversing the negative effects of corticosteroids, increasing bone density and muscle in older patients, and diabetes. The most promising line of investigation was as a treatment for post-operative ileus, a condition that results in the inability of patients to get nutrients from ingested food due to the fact that the gastrointestinal tract has stopped functioning. Unfortunately, efficacy tests fell short and research into ipamorelin fell to the wayside.

The high Growth Hormone releasing potency of the drug brought it to the attention of the world of sports, professional athletes, and anti-doping institutions. Organizations like the NBA added it to banned substance lists because of its ability to increase muscles and energy while decreasing the time needed to recover from workouts. It also contributes to weight loss, due to its relation to ghrelin, the hormone that regulates hunger and satiety.

Is Ipamorelin hard to obtain? Apparently not. Any number of websites are selling it online. Go figure. We ain’t gonna supply you with a link. That’s on you.

So there you have it. You’re all up to date when it comes to the Brooklyn Nets, Wilson Chandler, PEDs, and 25-game NBA suspensions.

WORDS: Marc Landas

SOURCES: Thevis, M. Emerging Drugs – Potential for Misuse in Sport and Doping Control Detection Strategies. Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 2007, 7, 533-539; Raun, K. et al. Ipamorelin, the first selective growth hormone secretagogue, European Journal of Endocrinology, 1998, 139 552-561.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons; Screenshot 

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