Athletes primarily use performance enhancing drugs to – as the name implies – improve their athletic performance. Below are the four most common performance enhancing drugs and their risks.
1. Anabolic Steroids
Anabolic androgen steroids – also known as just anabolic steroids – are a kind of steroid that allows athletes to boost their strength and muscle mass. Testosterone, the hormone responsible for building muscle, is the most predominant anabolic steroid hormone produced by the body.
Anabolic steroids can also be used to help athletes recover from their tough workouts by reducing the muscle damage from workouts. Some athletes even enjoy the aggressive rush they get after taking anabolic steroids for themselves.
There are “designer drugs” that are a particularly harmful form of anabolic steroids. These steroids are synthetically created so they don’t appear in drug test results; allowing athletes to enhance their performance illegally without reprimand. Such drugs have not been approved or even tested by the FDA and could potentially be a major health risk to the people taking them.
Risks of Anabolic Steroid Abuse:
Taking anabolic steroids at a high dosage can cause physical side effects. For men, these side effects present as early baldness, prominent breasts (gynecomastia), infertility, shrunken testicles, impotence, and an enlarged prostate. It has a different set of side-effects in women, where it causes a deeper voice, increased body hair, an enlarged clitoris, baldness, and can disrupt periods.
There are other common side effects of anabolic steroid abuse including acne, increased risk of tendon rupture and tendonitis, liver problems and tumors, increased levels of the “bad” LDL cholesterol, decreased levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol, aggressive behavior, rage, violence, and other psychiatric disorders.
Androstenedione – also known as andro – is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, testicles, and ovaries. Both men and women will typically convert the hormone into testosterone and estradiol.
Andro is a controlled substance that can only legally be obtained with a prescription from a doctor. Scientific studies have shown that supplementing with androstenedione has no noticeable impact on testosterone or strength levels.
Risks of Androstenedione Abuse:
Androstenedione generally reduces levels of HDL cholesterol, which can increase your risk of suffering from a stroke or heart attack.
Androstenedione can cause acne in men, as well as reduce their sperm count, shrink their testicles, and enlarge their breasts. In women meanwhile, androstenedione is likely to cause acne, a deeper voice, and male pattern baldness.
3. Human Growth Hormone
Human Growth Hormone – known as HGH or gonadotropin, is a hormone that produces an anabolic effect. The hormone is used by athletes to improve their strength, muscle mass, and performance.
The reality of the situation is that the hormone is not able to boost strength or endurance. HGH is a controlled substance that can only be obtained legally through a prescription. It is taken through injections.
Risks of Human Growth Hormone Abuse:
There are a number of risks of growth hormone abuse. It is known to cause mild to severe side effects including muscle weakness, joint pain, vision problems, fluid retention, impaired glucose regulation, carpal tunnel syndrome, an enlarged heart, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol levels.
Many athletes take HGH because it is difficult to spot it in tests, but the risk hardly seems the reward when you consider it’s not as effective as people think and causes a range of side effects.
Erythropoietin is used by professionals to treat anemia in patients suffering from severe kidney disease. The hormone is known to improve your body and boost the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin. This allows oxygen to flow freely between the lungs, heart, and muscles.
The most common form of erythropoietin used by endurance athletes is a synthetic strain known as epoetin.
Risks of Erythropoietin Abuse:
Erythropoietin was most commonly used by competitive cyclists during the 1990s. The hormone allegedly caused at least 18 deaths, proving how unsafe it is and justifying the banning of it.
Abusing erythropoietin can increase the risk of thrombotic events including heart attacks, strokes, and pulmonary embolisms.
While there hasn’t been enough studies into the long-term benefits and effects of performance-enhancing drugs, even the short-term benefits of them come with a number of health risks. There is also the issue that practically every sports organisation prohibits doping (taking steroids). This is why we believe that no one should be taking these performance-enhancing drugs. There are some legal and safe alternatives to steroid you can buy without prescription today. However, we suggest you to consult your doctor before taking any sport enhancement supplement.