During the 1960s, the use of performance enhancing drugs gained pace, and athletes and sportsmen from all across the globe, started to consume these drugs to boost their performances. Countries like East-Germany started to make these drugs available to their athletes, to gain absolute dominance in sports. There are a great number of performance enhancing drugs available, such as, anabolic steroids, beta-2-agonists, human chorionic gonadotrophin, luteinizing hormone and insulin. However, the use of these performance enhancing drugs pose great health hazards. Therefore, there are several regulatory bodies have been established all over the world to check and monitor the use of these products. As far as the Olympics are concerned, the World Anti-Doping Agency, headquartered in Montreal, Canada, invigilates the consumption of prohibited drugs by the athletes. It issues an updated list of all banned drugs every year to spread awareness. However, there are certain drugs which are allowed to be taken, albeit up to a permissible limit. To learn more about some of the most popular performance enhancing drugs, scroll down and read the article below.
Stimulants are psychoactive drugs which temporarily boost mental and physical capabilities. Consumption of stimulants leads to a sudden surge in the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. With this, the blood pressure as well as the heart rate increases. After the consumption of stimulants, the blood vessels get constricted, followed by an increase in the blood glucose and fast breathing. The aftereffects are an enhanced degree of alertness, and a feeling of great ecstasy. Stimulants enhance the abilities of athletes by providing them with a superlative degree of stamina. However, these drugs beget certain health hazards such as cardiovascular failure and fatal raptuses. Some of the most popular stimulants are cocaine, adrafinil and pemoline.
Narcotic analgesics are the most efficacious type of painkillers. Narcotic analgesics can be categorized as the opiates, and the derivative of opiates, known as the opioids. Opiates are the alkaloids present in the opium. The source of these alkaloids is seeds of the opium poppy. Athletes use these drugs as they alleviate the pain and, as a result, athletes can train harder and for much greater periods of time at a stretch. Narcotic analgesics also have many stress reducing properties, which can also be immensely beneficial in elevating the performance of a sportsman. Some of the most common narcotic analgesics are buprenorphine, dextromoramide, heroin, morphine, pethidine.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids are synthetic counterparts of a human hormone, testosterone, as they are found to possess the same chemical properties. They help improve muscle mass, and also help reduce the body's recovery time. Basically, anabolic-androgenic steroids can be divided into two categories; the exogenous, which isn’t produced in human body naturally, and the endogenous, which human body produces naturally. Metenolone is an example of exogenous anabolic-androgenic steroids and androstenediol (or andro) is a kind of endogenous anabolic-androgenic steroid.
Produced in the human body, peptide hormones are carried across by blood to different organs. These hormones can influence the performance of other organs of the body. Consumption of these hormones boosts the strength of the muscles. These hormones also promote the production of red blood cells which, in return, raise blood’s oxygen carrying capacity, which is directly related to performance. Erythropoietin, human growth hormones, insulin, corticotrophins etc. are some of the most common examples of peptide hormone.
Beta-2 agonists dilate the muscles in the air passages by stimulating the beta cells. On inhaling, they induce the same effects as that of stimulants while they can act as anabolic steroids when injected to the body. Some of the most common beta-2 agonists are albuterol such as AccuNeb, Proventil HFA, ProAir HFA, Ventolin HFA, levalbuterol which includes Xopenex, Xopenex HFA and pirbuterol like Maxair, Maxair Autohaler etc. It is permissible for athletes suffering from breathing disorders to use inhalation-based beta-2 agonists to ward off bronchoconstriction during their performance.
Some More Performance Enhancing Drugs
Masking agents, such as diuretics, dextran and epitestosterone, are prohibited for athletes as they make the detection of other prohibited drugs in the urine or other samples impossible. Glucocorticosteroids, including dexamethasone and prednisone, possess anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, which enable the athletes to compete without even the faintest sensation of pain. When injected directly into blood, these drugs can also create a sense of ecstasy.
The way a performance enhancing drug acts on human body may differ a great deal depending on body type, doze, etc. As they can impart deleterious effects on the users’ health, the guidelines regarding permissible limits of these drugs are becoming more and more rigorous day by day.