Steroids blamed in bodybuilder's death
A bodybuilder aspiring to Arnold Schwarzenegger's physique died after a workout due to his steroid and dietary stimulant use, a coroner says.
In findings released today, Coroner Carla na Nagara said a man, whose identity was suppressed, died of a cardiac arrest while training in the gym.
Na Nagara's findings contained a warning against bodybuilding products and anabolic steroids, and the "significant risk of death" they posed.
On the day the man died, he was completing a 45 minute physical training session.
The session involved running and other physical exercises which were described by his friends as typical, and not particularly strenuous or demanding.
He felt dizzy and sick early on in the session, and said he had not eaten a lot that morning.
He was given the chance to stop, or to carry on, and he chose to continue.
But as he finished the workout, he was lagging behind his friends, and collapsed as they finished.
His friends went to his aid, while he struggled to breathe, making a choking or gasping sound.
They tried to resuscitate him, including with a defibrillator, but he could not be revived.
After almost an hour of trying to save him, he died just before 12.30pm.
The man's heart was structurally normal, and investigations showed it was a cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, that caused the cardiac arrest leading to his death.
Though there was no alcohol found in his blood or urine, or amphetamine stimulants, some unidentified pills were found in his room just after his death, Coroner na Nagara said.
The pills contained methandrostenolone, a synthetic anabolic steroid that promotes muscle growth.
Another type of pill was found, called tamoxifen citrate, a drug used in the treatment of breast cancer, but also used by people taking anabolic steroids to prevent testicular shrinkage and breast development.
None of his friends were aware of him taking anabolic steroids, though his good friend noted he wanted to be a bodybuilder and aimed for a physique like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The man also took several over the counter formulas such as "Rip Freak" and "Super Pump", and took caffeine tablets.
Rip Freak is known to have an illegal substance called DMMA, or geranium oil, which acts like amphetamines. Usage of the product had led to increased blood pressure and heart rate, and had induced stroke in young people.
The man also drank four or five cans of the energy drink Red Bull each day.
Coroner na Nagara said this case highlighted the significant risk of death the use of anabolic steroids, dietary stimulants, and body building products can pose.
Though some of the substances are illegal in New Zealand, they can be purchased online.
Na Nagara said those who use them should establish exactly what their ingredients are.
This could be done by asking Drug Free Sport New Zealand through their website.