Would you take a performance enhancing drug that could help you become an Olympian champion? What if the drug had serious side effects? here drugs are banned in sports, but that doesn’t stop most athletes from taking them.
So what do they do and how do they work?
The most famous are Anabolic Steroids. When these are taken the body breaks down into smaller molecules that can enter cells and can bind to a structure called and androgen receptor. Normally, testosterone binds to this, but anabolic steroids can too. Once the androgen receptor is activated, your body starts to produce more proteins during the process of anabolism. The cells in your skeletal muscles start to replicate, and this means that your muscles will start to grow and you’ll become stronger. In men, exercise and steroids could lead to a 38% increase in strength, and potentially even more for women. Anabolic steroids can also help athletes train harder and recover faster by shortening catabolis (The process in which proteins are broken down into amino acids). Not all effects of anabolic steroids are positive. It can cause acne, High blood pressure, and male pattern baldness in both men and women. They can cause mens testicles to shrink, decrees sperm count and increase your risk for prostate cancer. Women using these steroids can develop facial hair, a deepens voice, and their periods may change or even stop completely.
But what if an athlete isn’t really concerned with muscle strength, but rather wants to improve their endurance?
This is where blood doping comes into play but again this is a BAD move. So bad that Lance Armstrong was stripped of all 7 of his Tour de France victories and was banned from the sport for life. The goal of blood doping is to increase the amount of the oxygen carrying red blood cells in the blood. This is usually done with either blood transfusions using your own blood, or by injecting yourself with erythropoietin, a molecule that stimulates the production of more red blood cells. The basic idea is that the more oxygen that can get to your body’s muscles, the more endurance you will have.
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Performance enhancing drugs
Does it work?
In one study blood doping increased an athletes endurance by 34% and in another, an athlete was able to run 8 kilometers on a treadmill 44 seconds faster than before.
Other performance enhancing drugs include:
Human Growth Hormone– Increases sprinting capacity by up to 4% and increases muscle growth
Putting that aside its better to just train the old fashioned way. Excluding any of the negative side effects, using these drugs means that you are cheating in the professional world that is deﬁnitely not taken lightly.