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Significance of 19-norandrosterone in athletes’ urine samples
  1. C Ayotte
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr C Ayotte
 INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, 245, boul. Hymus, Pointe-Claire, Québec H9R 1G6; christiane.ayotte{at}


Nandrolone and other 19-norsteroid potent anabolic steroids have been prohibited in sports for 30 years. The detection of the main urinary metabolite—19-norandrosterone—in amounts greater than 2 ng/ml constitutes an adverse analytical finding. The presence in nutritional sport supplements of steroids not listed on the label has undoubtedly resulted in positive tests, but inadvertent consumption of meat containing residues of hormonal treatment should not realistically cause apprehension. Although highly improbable, athletes should prudently avoid meals composed of pig offal in the hours preceding the test since the consumption of edible parts of a non-castrated pig, containing 19-nortestosterone, has been shown to results in the excretion of 19-norandrosterone in the following hours. Norsteroid metabolites are formed during pregnancy and excreted as minor metabolites of norethisterone, and minute amounts have been identified in some male and female samples when using more sensitive techniques of detection. Whereas exercise does not seem to be a significant factor in 19-norandrosterone excretion, some rare urine samples were found to be a suitable medium for in situ 19-demethylation of urinary metabolites.

  • 19-NA, 19-norandrosterone
  • 19-NE, 19-noretiocholanolone
  • 19-NT, 19-nortestosterone
  • GC, gas chromatography
  • IRMS, isotope ratio mass spectrometry
  • LOD, limit of detection
  • MS, mass spectrometry
  • WADA, World Anti-Doping Agency
  • 19-norandrosterone
  • 19-norsteroids
  • excretion

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  • Competing interests: none declared