When the entire country is watching you, the inner self craves to bring home that medal for years, and the emotion to represent your nation is quite overwhelming; the pressure must be, of course, super high. That said, sportspeople, world-class competitors, and athletes must go through a lot besides facing their opponents.
To overcome the situation of performance anxiety and be on a cutting edge, most athletes use performance-enhancing drugs, and that too, with the knowledge of their potential risks coming along. Well, performance enhancers in the sports industry have a remarkable history of decades.
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Nevertheless, it came into the spotlight when the Germans intentionally supplied steroids to their athletes in the 1960s to excel in their international performance. As a result, athletes frequently use these drugs to boost their confidence, eliminate stress, and cope with performance pressure. Moreover, some athletes prefer drug intake too;
- Gain muscle
- Supply additional oxygen to the exercising tissue
- Alleviate pain
- Lose weight
Now that we have established why athletes use performance enhancers, the concern is how such performance enhancers work? But before we dive deep into the science, let us know the nitty-gritty of such performance-enhancing drugs.
- What Are Performance Enhancers?
To put it in simple words: a performance-enhancing drug (PED) is any drug that boosts the body to perform exceptionally (both physically and mentally) in any sport. The desire to become a star athlete and perform like no other in specific sports has created hype about using performance-enhancing drugs, commonly known as doping in the sports world.
PED includes multiple types of drugs, starting from;
- Anabolic steroid
- Human growth hormones
- Protein hormones, artificial
- Oxygen carriers
- Weight control drugs
- Caffeine, and
- Masking drugs with diuretics, epitestosterone, & plasma expanders to narcotics
However, if you want to gain in-depth knowledge about different performance enhancers, you can view more by visiting reliable websites that provide authentic information about such products. Most PEDs are consumed orally, in the form of tablets or capsules. However, most athletes prefer taking PEDs by injecting them intramuscularly. Besides these two, today, PEDs are available in the form of lotions and creams for direct skin application.
- How Do Performance Enhancers Actually Work?
The performance-enhancing drugs directly work with the hormonal system, also known as the endocrine system in the body. When athletes infuse performance enhancers, the drug binds with the cells in this endocrine system to impose the desired boost to bodily function. Below is the uncomplicated explanation of how performance enhancers work in four steps:
- Step One:
Several glands in the body produce different hormones naturally to run human body processes. When performance enhancers penetrate the body, they produce additional hormones within.
- Step Two:
These hormones enter the bloodstream directly, travel through the veins, and reach different destinations across the human body.
- Step Three:
These hormones discover the cells that have the receptors they can bind with and ultimately bind with the appropriate cell.
- Step Four:
The cell-binding triggers a chemical change, leading to various body functions getting an additional boost.
These drugs bind with the hormones produced chiefly by the pineal glands, pituitary glands, thyroid glands, parathyroid glands, hypothalamus, thymus, adrenal glands, pancreas, kidneys, ovaries (in females), and testes (in males). Each of these glands produces significant hormones like oxytocin, testosterone, and growth hormones that influence body functions in multiple (favorable and unfavorable) ways. After binding with the hormones conceived by these glands, the performance-enhancing drugs impact bodily functions like:
- Blood pressure
- Pain, metabolism
- Body fat
- Growth rates
- Gastric action
- Cell production
- Brain function
- Heart function, and
- Liver function
Thus, to receive any bodily effects, athletes must take a drug miming a hormone pertaining to that particular body function. For instance, anabolic steroids target the cells in testosterone that increases muscle. Therefore, an athlete wanting a mass gain would inject these drugs into his bloodstream.
The tragic thing about performance enhancers is that their hormonal influences are so complex that you cannot achieve the desired effects without attaining a set of other unwanted results. And many times, these unwanted effects are brutal and fatal. Plus, there’s no specific algorithm to crack with performance-enhancing drugs that will exert what effects. Hence, there is always the question of the health of athletes hovering around their heads using performance enhancers.
Both safe and deadly performance enhancers are available on the market today, and athletes use all of them (legally or legally) whenever the need arises. Whether it is a national-level competition or the Olympics, the instances involving doping will occur more often as it is how the elite sports industry is in real life. Most times, the athletes use these drugs at the behest of their coaches or governing organizations themselves.
Moreover, if the athletes switch to taking designer drugs that can’t be easily detected with the help of their organizations themselves, they might expose themselves to mightier health risks like developing cancer or death. With Science evolving daily and sports organizations deploying better pharmacology, we hope that the need for doping gradually depletes and that the significance of natural health in sports rises and shines bright.