OTTAWA (AP) _ Canadian judo champion Carolyne Lepage, a silver medalist at the 1995 and 1999 Pan American Games, tested positive for the steroid nandrolone, a Judo Canada official said Tuesday.

The Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport, which conducts all athlete drug testing in Canada, informed Judo Canada last week that Lepage tested positive after the national championships in May.

Francis Drouin, executive director of Judo Canada, informed Lepage of the positive test.

``She states that she didn't consume nandrolone _ at least not directly,'' Drouin said Tuesday.

Lepage, from Varennes, Quebec, won the 48-kilogram event at the Canadian championships.

``I was in a state of shock when I heard the news,'' Lepage said. ``I didn't even understand what they were telling me.''

Under Canadian policy, a first doping offense carries a four-year suspension. Judo Canada said Lepage will appeal.

``My only recourse is to appeal,'' Lepage said. ``We will introduce all the research on nandrolone _ a natural hormone produced by the body _ and explain why its levels can vary from one individual to another.''

A leading German doping expert recently said tests on volunteers given supposedly clean nutritional supplements produced positive tests for nandrolone a few hours later.

Prof. William Schanzer of the Institute of Biochemistry in Cologne said impure food supplements may be the cause of a rash of positive nandrolone tests in recent years.

Lepage's sample contained 6.67 nanograms of the illegal substance per milliliter, while the limit is 5 nanograms.

``When you are dehydrated, the rate goes up,'' Lepage said. ``I have a lot of trouble making my weight. In the preceding week, I had at least five to seven pounds to lose. There is no doubt I was dehydrated when I took the test.''

Lapage could miss the Francophonie Games in July and the world judo championships in August.

``For me this is a catastrophe, because I can't even take part in the training camps that begin Friday,'' Lepage said.

There were 343 positive tests in 1999 in all sports for nandrolone, which builds muscles and strengthens bones, with many of the athletes claiming they hadn't knowingly used the drug.

Those who have tested positive in the past include former 100 meter Olympic champion Linford Christie, American shot-putter C.J. Hunter, Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey, top Dutch soccer player Frank de Boer of FC Barcelona, tennis player Petr Korda, French World Cup player Christophe Dugarry and former 5,000 Olympic champion Dieter Baumann of Germany.