Pop quiz time! What do the following compounds have in common?
The answer is that they have everything in common…they’re the exact same thing. These are just a few of the different ways you can write dehydroepiandrosterone, otherwise known as DHEA. Just as there are a lot of ways to skin a cat, there can be a lot of different ways to write a compound.
This is a trick that a number of supplement manufacturers use. “Chemicalese” is often used to make familiar compounds look unfamiliar. There’s a bonus too, as it makes the label look all high-tech and “sciencey.”
A twist on this trick is to use archaic terminology, so that it won’t come up in a search. A classic case came up on the “Bodybuilding Revealed” forum, when a member asked a question about a supplement compound he was trying to ID: “3-beta-hydroxyetioallocholan-5-ene-17-one.”
Yup, DHEA again – but the older, non-standard terminology made it almost impossible to trace. I had to walk through the nomenclature to make the connection.
The moral of the story? Don’t be blown away by the presence of chemical jargon on a label. There’s a good chance that the terminology is being used to conceal, rather than reveal, useful information.
Former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals, freelance writer and researcher, writing on bodybuilding nutrition and supplements