ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Bodybuilders Take Breast Cancer Drug

Tamoxifen, an endocrine therapy for women with breast cancer, is found in a supplement marketed to bodybuilders.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

View full profile.


Learn about our editorial policies.

Tamoxifen pillsWIKIMEDIA, NCIFor decades, some bodybuilders who’ve taken steroids to help increase their muscle mass have illegally purchased the breast cancer drug tamoxifen to prevent breast enlargement. But according to new research from Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K., others may simply have bought the dietary supplement Esto Suppress, which was found to contain the drug in three out of four samples tested by the investigators, who published their results last week (February 13) as a letter in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

“Since the 2000s, a growing number of off-the-shelf ‘food,’ ‘herbal,’ or ‘dietary’ ‘supplements’—aimed at gym goers and people wanting to lose weight or enhance their sex lives—have contained pharmacologically active substances,” the authors wrote. “Most users will be unaware that they are taking these substances.”

The amount of tamoxifen varied by sample, with one sample containing 3.8 mg per pill. The suggested...

“This research highlights the need for consumers to be aware when choosing their sports supplements,” a spokesman for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) told HuffPost Lifestyle. “These products may claim to increase performance but can contain powerful ingredients which can have serious side-effects.”

Interested in reading more?

The Scientist ARCHIVES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?
ADVERTISEMENT