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Latest Fancy Bear Leaks – What 3 “Banned” Nootropics” are in the Spotlight Once Again?

Exposing British Olympians 2016


Believed to be from Russian origin, Fancy Bears are a “hack team” that in September 2016, have begun to release – “expose”, information on athletes who received WADA (World Anti-Doping Authority) permission for taking banned substances prior and in leading up to the 2016 Brazil Olympics.

Of those exposed, notable British athletes include Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, both Tour de France winners.

Their banned nootropics of choice were Salbutamol [Wiggins, June 2016] and Prednisolone [Froome, May 2013,14,15].

However, whether in fact they meet the 5 criteria a true nootropic should adhere to is debatable:

1. Increase learning & memory capabilities

2. Strengthen efficiency of neuronal mechanisms in the brain

3. Assist brain in operating under stressful conditions

4. Safeguard brain against physical/chemical injuries inflicted from barbiturates & scopolamine

5. Free of typical pharmacology present in other psychotropic drugs with minimal side effects with exceedingly low levels of toxicity

Both Salbutamol and Prednisolone are very different.

1. Salbutamol

Salbutamol, as described in Nature is a short-acting agonist and in biochemistry terms this means it is a substance which initiates a physiological response when combined with a receptor, where even in inhaler form as how Wiggins is stated as taking it, its ability to penetrate the brain appears limited.

Beta agonists are powerful compounds, which in pill form salbutamol (albuterol) do not cross the BBB (blood brain barrier) while only a little do through inhalation, hence it is classified as non-BBB penetrating. You would need clenbuterol for that which can profoundly affect the brain, exerting potent stimulatory and anti-inflammatory effects, which in this regard mimic norepinephrine.

However, all beta-2 agonists can raise your blood pressure and help people shed weight while retaining muscle – hence their appeal to weight lifters and athletes, but for the brain or nootropics purposes, salbutamol appears not valuable.

2. Prednisolone

As one avid user four years ago explains on reddit, prednisolone helped define his most productive period in his life, but it should not be categorized as a nootropic, rather a synthetic corticosteroid and if you were to refer to it at Wikipedia its medicinal uses do not include using it as a daily “sort your life out” pill; but in this instance on this thread, prednisone typically can create this and other types of behavioral changes in all people, whether as is questioned he has pre-existing conditions of bipolar or not.

One commenter points out: I want to clarify that prednisone can have manic like effects on healthy people as well as people with BP [bipolar] disorder. I think everyone who takes it [prednisolone] experiences some form of psychological change, and very often it's in the form of "drive" to do things.

Chis Froome’s use of prednisolone spans 3 years, and appears to have been prescribed on each occasion for exacerbation - shortness of breath. Prednisolone is a steroid and when taken in high doses for a few days, this is called a steroid burst, but prednisone is a corticosteroid and as such not an anabolic steroid so it does not help you build muscle mass.

3. Triamcinolone

A key ingredient in certain eczema steroid creams, triamcinolone is considered about 8 times as potent as previously discussed prednisone and is used to treat various skin conditions, mouth sores and allergic rhinitis.

In terms of its nootropic affects when administered as a skin cream, it is a corticosteroid and a possible side effect to these include brain fog.

While minor levels may reach the blood, steroids can affect the bacteria in your gut – aka your second brain, so there may be cognitive affects while using triamcinolone frequently on the skin, but in terms of it as a physical performance enhancer when applied to the skin, I would urge you to read this thread over at the Talk Tennis to determine whether a ban is warranted.

Triamcinolene is a corticosteroid not an anabolic steroid – it doesn’t/can’t increase muscle mass but the ITF (international tennis federation) state: these drugs can produce a stimulant "high" which could potentially be performance enhancing… and can also mask pain and fatigue. Wiggins’ lifelong allergy to pollen allowed WADA to allow it.

There is no suggestion that the athletes in question by Fancy Bear have partook in a performance enhancing doping program, but such release of documents highlights the disparity of treatment received and passed down on other sports stars who simply didn’t receive a “Certification of Approval for Therapeutic Use” , inevitably tarnishing careers.