Hey there and welcome to life noggin. Would you take a performanceenhancing drug that could help you become an Olympic champion? What if that drug had some serious negative side effects? These drugs are banned in sports, but that doesnt stop some athletes from taking them. So what do they do and how do they work? Lets start off with the most famous of these drugs: anabolic steroids.
When these are taken, the body breaks them down into smaller molecules that can enter cells and bind to a structure called an androgen receptor. Normally, testosterone binds to this, but anabolic steroids can too. And from here, the real magic begins. See, 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 youll become stronger. In fact, in men, exercise and steroids could lead to a 38% increase in strength, and potentially even more for women. And not only that, but anabolic steroids can also help athletes train harder and recover faster by shortening catabolism the process in which proteins are broken down into amino.
Acids. But, of course, not all the effects of anabolic steroids are positive. It can cause acne, high blood pressure, and malepattern baldness in both men and women. They can cause mens testicles to shrink, decrease sperm count, and increase your risk for prostate cancer. And women using these steroids can develop facial hair, a deepened voice, and their periods.
May change or even completely stop. So, seriously, dont use these. But what if an athlete isnt really concerned with muscle strength, but rather wants to improve their endurance? This is where blood doping comes in handy, but again, this is a bad move. So bad, in fact, that Lance Armstrong was stripped of all seven 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 oxygencarrying red blood cells in the blood. And 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.
And the basic idea is that the more oxygen that can get to your bodys muscles, the more endurance you will have. So does it work? Well, 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. That might not sound like a lot, but when these athletes are competing with the best.
Of the best, every second counts. Now, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Other performanceenhancing drugs include human growth hormone, which helps increase athletes sprinting capacity by up to 4% and increases muscle growth as well. But trust me when I say that, if you are an athlete, its probably better to just train the oldfashioned way with a lot of hard work and sweat.