Let’s Run: Doping?

by: LetsRun.com
March 24, 2015

Sunday’s Sunday Times in the UK had two articles that detailed the extent that Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazarand his team will go to to get their athletes an edge, focusing on the use of the legal supplement L-carnitine, including allegedly injecting assistant coach Steve Magness with L-carnitine and using him as a “guinea pig.” The articles, which are here and here, are behind a paywall (only cost £1 to read for the first month) but well worth the read. We summarize the key points and break them down below into good news and bad news for the Nike Oregon Project.

First, the facts alleged in the article.

  1. Alberto Salazar, in two shipments 14 months apart (January 2011 and March 2012), ordered 180 cartons at a cost of £3,600 ($5,380 at today’s exchange rate) of a perfectly legal supplement NutraMet Sport, a mixture of L-carnitine and carbohydrate, that “scientists found can boost performance by up to 11%.”
  2. Galen Rupp and Mo Farah admit to taking L-carnitine in the past but both said they stopped taking it, in Farah’s case because it wasn’t effective. Farah said, “I tried a legal energy drink containing L-carnitine but saw no benefit and actually gained weight so I stopped drinking it.”
  3. Studies show L-carnitine can be much more effective when injected than when taken orally. Orally, L-carnitine can improve performance in three to six months, but according to the Sunday Times it can improve performance in “as little as five hours when the substance is taken into the body via an intravenous drip.”

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