North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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September 19, 2013

Update: Judge issues preliminary injunction to keep S.W.A.T.S. shut down

BIRMINGHAM — A Jefferson Circuit Court judge has entered a preliminary injunction against a controversial Fultondale company and its owners.

Judge Caryl Privett issued the injunction Thursday afternoon against S.W.A.T.S., a sports supplement supplier and fitness center, and owners Mitch Ross and Chris Key. The injunction keeps the business closed; it was first shut down on Sept. 5 in a raid by agents for Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, assisted by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

In Thursday’s hearing, the state presented five expert witnesses who testified that the products sold by S.W.A.T.S. either did not work as advertised, or were in fact harmful to users.

Testimony focused on three groups of products sold by the company. Among them are the spray products that contain insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, which the company claims is harvested from the antler velvet of immature deer.

Dr. Larry Bowers, the chief science officer of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), disputed the claimed 97 percent concentration of IGF-1 in the Ultimate Spray and S.W.A.T.S. Jacked Spray products. He also called into question a publication by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, an Australian government agency, which S.W.A.T.S. cited in its sales materials.

Bowers said that the publication was not a peer-reviewed medical study, but rather a report issued to aid those who wanted to raise deer and harvest their antlers for profit. “It’s certainly not a scientific study,” Bowers said. “Even RIRDC say it [deer antler velvet] is not curative.”

(USADA is the national agency that regulates what substances are named as performance-enhancing drugs, and therefore banned from use in athletic events.)

Dr. Jordan Geller, who is the clinical chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said that putting IGF-1 directly into the bloodstream could have severe side effects, including low blood sugar, elevated pressure on the brain, Bell’s palsy, enlargement of the tonsils, severe muscle pain and swelling of the hands, feet and joints.

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