• The Cycling News forum is looking to add some volunteer moderators with Red Rick's recent retirement. If you're interested in helping keep our discussions on track, send a direct message to @SHaines here on the forum, or use the Contact Us form to message the Community Team.

    In the meanwhile, please use the Report option if you see a post that doesn't fit within the forum rules.

    Thanks!

Question lugworms? LUGWORMS????

Not since Chinese coaches explained dominating womens' international track by using some silkworm extract have I heard of this effective blood additive. The numbers on it's effecacy sounds wonderful for surgical intervention and a very, very useful tool for athletes.
Any info on dark market costs, dosages and suspects?
 
Not since Chinese coaches explained dominating womens' international track by using some silkworm extract have I heard of this effective blood additive. The numbers on it's effecacy sounds wonderful for surgical intervention and a very, very useful tool for athletes.
Any info on dark market costs, dosages and suspects?
I thought it was cordyceps mushrooms and turtle's blood that made the Chinese record breakers?

I remember reading a couple of years ago about the lugworms (Hermarina - company behind products) and it seems the company went straight to WADA to talk about it. So apparently if it's being used, people will be caught. Delpharm are the actual manufacturers, so some hard up employee may be looking to make some extra cash on the side.
 
  • Like
Reactions: pastronef
Jul 26, 2022
3
8
525
Visit site
From the CN article "Dr. Franck Zal revealing to l’Equipe that in 2020, a “well-known cyclist whose team participates in the Tour de France, contacted me because he wanted the product"

Which cyclist contacted Dr. Zal?
 
Perhaps Quintana or a Bahrain rider, given the police raids on the teams were allegedly conducted on concrete tipoffs.

yeah Quintana is the one rider that immediately came to my mind. Bahrain wasn't that good yet in 2020. the seemingly random Arkea hotel raid during the 2020 Tour would make a lot more sense. could've been anyone though. i honestly believe this stuff was actually used, it would explain a lot of things that happened that year, more at the Giro than at the Tour, though.
 
yeah Quintana is the one rider that immediately came to my mind. Bahrain wasn't that good yet in 2020. the seemingly random Arkea hotel raid during the 2020 Tour would make a lot more sense. could've been anyone though. i honestly believe this stuff was actually used, it would explain a lot of things that happened that year, more at the Giro than at the Tour, though.

A blood substitute that can transport 40 times more oxygen than human hemoglobin would stand out a little more I would have thought? Quintana's performances did not.

I think the lack of testing due to Covid is a better explanation for 2020 climbing times (incl Giro) than this stuff. And I am not sure the claim use of this stuff is undetectable in the UCI blood passport is correct either.


Scientific experts will not actually “see” a banned substance in a sample. Instead, they will compare the parameters of the new sample to parameters measured in previous samples
I believe rider parameters will be boosted by use of lug worm blood.
 
A blood substitute that can transport 40 times more oxygen than human hemoglobin would stand out a little more I would have thought? Quintana's performances did not.

I think the lack of testing due to Covid is a better explanation for 2020 climbing times (incl Giro) than this stuff. And I am not sure the claim use of this stuff is undetectable in the UCI blood passport is correct either.



I believe rider parameters will be boosted by use of lug worm blood.
Not all blood passport parameters would catch this - hematocrit, e.g., measures the % of red blood cells. This product is not carried by RBCs but rather in blood plasma, right? Which also raises the question: if it can transport 40x more oxygen, does that mean the muscles, lungs, etc will begin able to utilize 40x more oxygen? Our organs are built to receive oxygen from RBCs; can they oxygen as efficiently when it comes in blood plasma?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cookster15
This 2023 article indicates that scientists at the Center for Preventive Doping Research (Cologne), CER Groupe, Marche-en-Famenne (Belgium), and the European Monitoring Center for Emerging Doping Agents (Cologne/Bonn), have been working on (and having some success with) tests to reveal lugworm doping:
the studies were "found to allow for the specific and sensitive detection of lugworm Hb down to concentrations of 10 μg/mL from 50 μL of serum/plasma. Therefore, it can serve as confirmation procedure for lugworm Hb following visual or electrophoretic screening. Moreover, a proof-of-concept rat administration study was conducted, and the observed detection windows of at least 4 (dose: 200 mg/kg) and 8 h (dose:600 mg/kg) suggest that the approach can be readily employed to efficiently test in competition doping control samples for the presence of the drug candidate." But how expensive would this be?

Walpurgis, et. al, "Detection of extracellular hemoglobin from Arenicola marina in doping control serum samples by means of liquid chromatography and high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry," Drug Test Analysis 2023;1–9, https://analyticalsciencejournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1002/dta.3591
 
This 2023 article indicates that scientists at the Center for Preventive Doping Research (Cologne), CER Groupe, Marche-en-Famenne (Belgium), and the European Monitoring Center for Emerging Doping Agents (Cologne/Bonn), have been working on (and having some success with) tests to reveal lugworm doping:

Walpurgis, et. al, "Detection of extracellular hemoglobin from Arenicola marina in doping control serum samples by means of liquid chromatography and high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry," Drug Test Analysis 2023;1–9, https://analyticalsciencejournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1002/dta.3591

Thank you for the link, it is a very interesting read, especially the mass spec part.

(Still processing the unholy combination of lugworms and doping. Both were already in the top ten of my personal Do Not Wants individually; there was no need to team up for added impact. )
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sciatic
Not all blood passport parameters would catch this - hematocrit, e.g., measures the % of red blood cells. This product is not carried by RBCs but rather in blood plasma, right? Which also raises the question: if it can transport 40x more oxygen, does that mean the muscles, lungs, etc will begin able to utilize 40x more oxygen? Our organs are built to receive oxygen from RBCs; can they oxygen as efficiently when it comes in blood plasma?
Blood plasma can carry oxygen? I thought only RBCs can do that?

Is there a list of all the blood passport parameters? I thought they looked at both % and absolute plasma & RBC counts?

I also question that this stuff can’t be detected. If the oxygen carrying benefits linger then that should be detectable as a variation against the riders baseline regardless if the original lugworm residue is still there hours or days later. If the oxygen carrying boost doesn’t linger then there would be no lingering performance benefit. This is why I linked the passport article above as a reminder.

Maybe this is what the teams worry about and why nobody has tried this in the peloton (that we know of)?

But I am surprised there is not much discussion (so far). The potential seems incredible? The humble lug worm who would have guessed 😉
 
Yeah, didn't see this coming, but as always, gotta bow down to the innovators lol

If th
Yeah, didn't see this coming, but as always, gotta bow down to the innovators lol

If the 40x (or even 10x) oxygen carrying capacity relative to human RBCs is true and the stuff is somewhat un(der)tested, it would make a helluva blood bag.
Not sure it works that way or is preservable in stored blood. The initial impression was that it's efficacy was shorter term as well but the extracellular hgb didn't require refrigeration and that it could be used in dried form? That makes it conveniently useful for short term use if true. It only takes hours to ride out of your skin and then be undetectable....why would you need a bag?
 
Just read this:
Anti-doping expert Peter Van Eenoo has dismissed concerns about the use of marine worm haemoglobin as a blood doping product despite its ability to transport 40 times more oxygen than human haemoglobin.
Van Eenoo recognised worm haemoglobin could be performance enhancing but joked about cycling teams trying to obtain it.
Speaking to Het Nieuwsblad, Van Eenoo said: “If you see a cycling team digging up worms on the beach, please call me.”

Then the article confirmed it would be detectable but only if test shortly after application. Then, of course, it has a short detectable span in the bloodstream. It's also closely controlled by the French company that produces it so there isn't a problem there. Riiiiight. Right up to the point the process is copied by Black Market Gatorade, "the drink that replenishes quickly." I love that the expert's dismissal of concerns contains validation of why it could be so useful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cookster15
Just read this:
Anti-doping expert Peter Van Eenoo has dismissed concerns about the use of marine worm haemoglobin as a blood doping product despite its ability to transport 40 times more oxygen than human haemoglobin.
Van Eenoo recognised worm haemoglobin could be performance enhancing but joked about cycling teams trying to obtain it.
Speaking to Het Nieuwsblad, Van Eenoo said: “If you see a cycling team digging up worms on the beach, please call me.”

Then the article confirmed it would be detectable but only if test shortly after application. Then, of course, it has a short detectable span in the bloodstream. It's also closely controlled by the French company that produces it so there isn't a problem there. Riiiiight. Right up to the point the process is copied by Black Market Gatorade, "the drink that replenishes quickly." I love that the expert's dismissal of concerns contains validation of why it could be so useful.
The kind of "experts" that newspapers often pick is an interesting topic, to say the least...
 
Not sure it works that way or is preservable in stored blood. The initial impression was that it's efficacy was shorter term as well but the extracellular hgb didn't require refrigeration and that it could be used in dried form? That makes it conveniently useful for short term use if true. It only takes hours to ride out of your skin and then be undetectable....why would you need a bag?
Thanks! A bag substitute then.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sciatic
I’m not sure this method would replace blood bags but we’ll have to see. There are still no methods (or none that are being used) to directly detect reinfused blood, but depending on the expense, anti-doping scientists already developed a means of detecting lugworm blood doping in competition.
From the sounds of it they almost have to bust them at the starting line or the finish line. It's out of the system very quickly per the sketchy information provided.
Hard not to be skeptical.