Since the late 1990’s, Patrick Arnold has remained one of the most recognized names in the sport supplement industry. Earning the nickname, “The Father of Prohormones” by introducing Andro and 1-AD, Arnold has developed a reputation over the years for being intelligent, competitive, and direct, debating fellow researchers on the merit of science in the field that has brought him fame as well as infamy.
Sports nutrition – field of innovation or field of snake oil? How so?
PA: Well it’s mostly been a field of snake oil, but now that research scientists are getting more involved in performing studies on ingredients and formulas the industry is gaining some integrity. Still, many choose to interpret study results inappropriately in order to promote their products. So even though there is more science out there, that doesn’t stop the BS.
Do you believe sports nutrition & steroids elevated or stunted your career as a chemist?
PA: I have no idea. I enjoy what I am doing, that’s all I know.
To the best of your knowledge, has every professional athlete who was using “The Clear” been “outed”? Is there any field of sport related to BALCO that has yet to be exposed.
PA: There are some athletes that have used that compound and never been outed. Some are well known and successful.
After everything you went through with BALCO, what did you learn about yourself?
PA: I learned that having to endure very stressful events made me more confident and more vigilant. I learned that getting in legal trouble in such a high profile fashion made me a target and forced me to be ever more cautious about my actions.
PA: Yes, I do. I don’t’ view myself as a fitness of diet expert. I don’t view myself as an expert of using bodybuilding drugs or how to prepare for a contest. I spend most of the day in my lab or on the floor doing chemical work, whether it be synthesizing for research or production, or analytical testing.
Chemistry can be a dangerous business. In all your years of chemistry, did you ever mix anything that led to a volatile reaction you didn’t expect? In other words, did anything ever blow up on you?
PA: Accidents have happened of course, they are inevitable. The cause of any particular accident though never remained a mystery. You either knew what happened right away or you figure it out afterwards.
Many chemicals are incompatible. Two or three times I have (without thinking) rinsed a beaker out that had residual chromium trioxide in it with methanol. The result was a fireball in my face.
Small fires also happen when highly flammable (i.e. diethyl ether) come into contact with hot plates. But a fire extinguisher is always handy to take care of that.
A long time ago we were making cyclodextrin complexes. We had a shed (built for distilling methanol) blow up when a worker mistakingly shut a fan off when he went home for the night. The shed was designed to handle explosions but it was still a major event and shut the town down – mainly because the old man next door changed the placard on the shed from flammable to explosive to mess with us, and the firemen freaked out when they saw it.
We also had a larger incident in our Champaign facility. The ceiling was built to detach and channel the energy of the blast up and out. That too was due to user error (a worker shut off a pump that was essential to keep vapors from collecting in a vessel).
We are very safety conscious. I know what chemical are dangerous and I know what it incompatible with what and I am always vigilant. I could see how easy it would be for someone without the experience, safety awareness, and knowledge of chemistry to hurt themselves badly in a lab.
You introduced 1,3 dimethylamylamine (Geranamine) so you know it better than anyone. Is the FDA wrong in its current position?
PA: They never presented any data clearly demonstrating that it is dangerous. The one study that was done by the military actually came back inconclusive. However, by the time those results had come back, the FDA had already started seriously enforcing its ban on DMAA. As far as whether it was DSHEA compliant is an argument that is based more on subjective interpretation of DSHEA.
PA: KetoSports is a line of supplements designed to elevate ketone levels in the blood. The line consists of products that contain beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) salts as well as caprylic acid (pure C8 MCT), and a cooking oil consisting of ghee (clarified butter) and coconut oil. Beta-hydroxybutyrate is a ketone body. Ketones are elevated under certain metabolic conditions such as starvation and high fat diet (ketogenic diet). They act as a super fuel which can generate more ATP per unit of oxygen consumed. There is also growing evidence that ketosis (the state of having elevated ketones in the blood) can help prevent and treat a plethora of diseases as well. We developed an exogenous form of ketones that you can ingest in order to temporarily elevate ketone levels in the blood. We promote this as an aid for people who engage in in exercise that has an aerobic component and/or who need calories for training but cannot consume carbohydrates.
With the growing interest in ketosis for health reasons, do you foresee yourself focusing more of your energy on the medical field?
PA: Medical Foods is a possible area and there are companies that already make ketogenic foods for childhood epilepsy. We have talked to a couple of these companies already regarding BHB salts, and there is definite interest. There are also many other potential medical food applications for exogenous ketones such as cancer and dementia related disorders.
To sell something as a medical food though requires several studies demonstrating safety and efficacy for that application. The standard for manufacture and quality are more stringent than those for the supplement industry. It’s not a major focus of ours, however, because it is a lot of work and the market for these diseases is quite small. It would be an undertaking based more upon humanitarian motives than financial.
How can individuals get more information about your products?
PA: Please visit our site at www.ketosports.com
Patrick, you must have A LOT of stores. We KNOW you’ve got stories, because we know some of the stories that you are in. So tell us your absolute best industry story. You don’t have to name names, but we want all want to hear Patrick Arnold’s BEST story.