The detection of misuse with naturally occurring steroids is a great challenge for doping control laboratories. Intake of natural anabolic steroids alters the steroid profile. Thus, screening for exogenous use of these steroids can be established by monitoring a range of endogenous steroids, which constitute the steroid profile, and evaluate their concentrations and ratios against reference ranges. Elevated values of the steroid profile constitute an atypical finding after which a confirmatory IRMS procedure is needed to unequivocally establish the exogenous origin of a natural steroid. However, the large inter-individual differences in urinary steroid concentrations and the recent availability of a whole range of natural steroids (e.g. dehydroepiandrosterone and androstenedione) which each exert a different effect on the monitored parameters in doping control complicate the interpretation of the current steroid profile. The screening of an extended steroid profile can provide additional parameters to support the atypical findings and can give specific information upon the steroids which have been administered. The natural concentrations of 29 endogenous steroids and 11 ratios in a predominantly Caucasian population of athletes were determined. The upper reference values at 97.5%, 99% and 99.9% levels were assessed for male (n=2027) and female (n=1004) populations. Monitoring minor metabolites and evaluation of concentration ratios with respect to their natural abundances could improve the interpretation of the steroid profile in doping analysis.
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