Performance Enhancement Drugs In Sports

According to Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, the first known incident of using performance-enhancement nutrients dates back to 8th century BC when the ancient Greeks ate sheep’s testicle today recognized as testosterone. In the 19th century cyclists used caffeine, cocaine and ether coated sugar cubes to help improve performance, decrease pain and ward off fatigue. According to Savulescu et al.

, the usage of performance enhancement drugs dates back to as early as Third Olympiad, wherein Thomas Hicks was injected with strychnine in the middle of the race which he finally won. In 1928 the International Amateur Athletic Federation officially banned the usage of “stimulating substances” by a sporting organization. Mayo foundation states that the drugs and supplements used to boost athletic performance, reduce signs of tiredness and augment physical appearance are called performance enhancing drugs.

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According to Meduna, “Doping in sport refers to any banned method or substance that artificially improves an athlete’s sporting performance to give an unfair advantage over other competitors. ” Mehlman stated that according to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) the term “doping” was probably coined from the Afrikaans word “dop” meaning a concoction extracted from grape leaves. Illegal drugging of race horses at the start of 20th century was termed as doping.

Doping in sport now includes a range of practices, including “blood doping” (the practice of autologous or homologous hemoglobin transfusions) and the use of synthetic erythropoietin (EPO) to increase the number of red blood cells; anabolic steroids and human growth hormone to grow skeletal muscle; stimulants to improve cognitive function and reduce fatigue; and nitrogen tents and “houses” to simulate the effects of sleeping at high altitude. According to the Mayo foundation some of the performance-enhancing drugs are as follows: 1. Anabolic Steroids 2. Androstenedione (andro) 3. Ephedrine 4.

Creatine 5. Stimulants such as Caffeine, Amphetamines (Dexedrine and Benzedrine), Phenypropanolamine (Acutrim) and Cocaine. 6. Diuretics such as Acetazolamide (Diamox and Storzolamide), Benzthiazide (Marazide and Aquastat), Spironolactone (Aldactone), Dichlorophenamide (Daranide) and Furosamide (Lasix and Fumide). Now let us consider the impact of usage of the above drugs on an athlete’s body. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) anabolic steroids also known as anabolic-androgenic steroids help in growth of skeletal muscles and develop male sexual characteristics.

According to the Mayo foundation usage of Anabolic steroids may have side effects such as men may develop breasts, baldness, shrunken testicles, higher voice and infertility. Whereas women may develop a deeper voice, enlarged clitoris, increased body hair, baldness and increased appetite. Whereas both men and women may experience severe acne, abnormalities and tumors in liver, increase in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, decrease in high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, aggressive behavior, psychiatric disorders and drug dependence.

Androstenedione is a precursor hormone that gets converted to testosterone and estradiol in men and women. Side effects in men include decrease in testosterone production, increase in production of estrogen, fall in sperm count, shrinkage of testicles and enlargement of breasts. Women may experience acne, baldness and masculinization. Supplemental Androstenedione lowers the high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol leading to a risk of heart attack or stroke. Usage of ephedrine a stimulant similar to amphetamines wards off fatigue, improve mental alertness and reduce weight.

The side effects include an increase in blood sugar levels causing an irregular heart rhythm, seizures, strokes, heart attacks and even death. Usage of creatine helps in circulation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), reducing energy waste products such as lactic acid thus leading to a better performance and reduction in fatigue. Side effects of usage are stomach and muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Excess usage of creatine may damage kidneys, liver and heart. Stimulants may decrease fatigue, reduce appetite, increase alertness and aggressiveness.

They also stimulate the central nervous system, increase heart beat, blood pressure, body temperature and metabolic activity. Side effects include nervousness, irritability, insomnia, heart palpitations, heart rhythm abnormities, loss of weight, mild hypertension, hallucination, convulsions, brain hemorrhage heart attack and other circulatory problems. Diuretics are used for treatment of blood pressure and for causing fluid retention (edema). Usage of diuretics may lead to muscle cramps, exhaustion, potassium deficiency and heart arrhythmias.

According to Meduna, in addition to the above mentioned drugs human growth hormone (hGH) also known as somatotrophin or somatotrophic hormone could be used for doping indirectly as investigated by Australian scientists. hGH boosts RBC count, boosts heart function and stimulates the breaking down of fat making more energy available. Detection of Erythropoietin (EPO) is difficult since its levels do not remain elevated for long in blood. The present blood sampling tests detect the RBC levels rather than EPO levels, hence better reliable tests need to be conducted to detect EPO levels in blood.

First recorded instance of death due to doping was in 1879 when an English cyclist died of over dosage of amphetamines in France, similarly a Danish cyclist died in 1960 Rome Olympiad due to the usage of amphetamines. EPO is cited as the reason for the death of 20 European riders since 1987. Concluding the article I would like to state that doping may give a player an advantage over rest of the competitors, but it has the necessary negative impact as already discussed above on the nervous system, hormonal production, behavioral attitude, health and circulatory system.

The player may win a medal for his/her country, receive lots of money and gain name and fame, but all this at what cost? Not certainly at the cost of health and life. As already mentioned risks are many and some are even unknown. The advantages due to doping are short-lived but disadvantages are long-lasting. References Doping (sport). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2006). Retrieved on September 21, 2006 from: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Doping_(sport) J Savulescu, B Foddy and M Clayton. Why we should allow performance enhancing drugs in sport.

British Journal of Sports Medicine (2004). Retrieved on September 21, 2006 from: http://bjsm. bmjjournals. com/cgi/reprint/38/6/666 Maxwell J. Mehlman. Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports (2005). Retrieved on September 21, 2006 from: http://www. randybarnes. com/index. php? option=com_content&task=view&id=210&Itemid=2 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Mayoclinic. com. Teen’s Health. Teen athletes and performance-enhancing substances: What parents can do (2006). ). Retrieved on September 21, 2006 from: http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/performance-enhancing-drugs/SM00045

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Mayoclinic. com. Fitness. Performance-enhancing drugs: Dangerous, damaging and potentially deadly (2006). Retrieved on September 21, 2006 from: http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/performance-enhancing-drugs/HQ01105 Office of National Drug and Control Policy. Drugs and Sports (2005). Retrieved on September 21, 2006 from: http://www. whitehousedrugpolicy. gov/prevent/sports/doping. html Veronika Meduna. The News. Drugs in Sport (2000). Retrieved on September 21, 2006 from: http://www. dooyoo. co. uk/discussion/drugs-in-sport/1022598/