Top 10 of the different types of doping used in sport, it’s not just amphetate in…

Do you play sports and you suck? No more solution presents itself to you? You train day and night and yet there is no progress? Well know that there are plenty of possible and imaginable forms of doping, some relatively accessible (like coffee), and others a little more exclusive.

After doping it’s bad, I’m not encouraging you, and only the intensive practice of sport will perhaps settle you on the highest step of the podium.

1. Anabolic Agents

Basically that’s if you want to go from Paul Mirabel to Dwayne Johnson in the snap of your fingers. Anabolic agents, better known as steroids, are steroid hormones linked to a natural hormone, testosterone. In short, if you take it, you will significantly increase your testosterone levels and thus the size of your muscles, until you have the big arms of JCVD.

Athletes who have already taken it: tennis player Petr Korda, athlete Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong.

Top 10 of the different types of doping used in sport, it's not just amphetate in...
Photo credits (CC BY-SA 2.0): Faivre-Duboz

2. EPOs (Erythropoietin)

If you’re a little interested in sport, you’ve probably heard that “EPO” once in your life, without really understanding what it was.

To simplify things, erythropoiesis is a hormone that causes an increase in the number of red blood cells in the blood, that is, it improves oxygen transport. As a result, it makes the doping person more enduring, able to make a longer effort without being under-oxygenated.

Athletes who have already taken it: The long jumper and African 100m record holder, Blessing Okagbare, the famous cyclist Lance Armstrong (yes yes).

3. Hormonal and Metabolic Modulators

Hormonal and metabolic modulators are used in sports for several functions. The first function is that these “drugs” can block or regulate estrogen receptors (female hormones), which are directly linked to body fat.

Then, they can also help to control the production of myostatin, which is a protein produced by the human body to limit muscle growth and thus prevent uncontrolled muscle growth. Basically taking these regulators will stop myostatins to promote exponential muscle growth.

Finally, these modulators also prevent the unwanted side effects of anabolic steroids.

A small cocktail that works quite well overall.

Athletes who have already taken it: tenniswoman Maria Sharapova, who had tested positive for meldonium (used in the prevention of heart attacks, meldonium is classified among hormones and metabolic modulators). Remember that meldonium has only been considered doping since 2016 and that Sharapova had been taking the treatment for ten years already for health problems that were not related to sport.

Top 10 of the different types of doping used in sport, it's not just amphetate in...
Photo credits (Public Domain): by Andrew Huse

4. Diuretics and masking agents

So we explain everything suuuuite, these are supplements to other doping substances. Diuretics are substances which cause an increase in urinary secretion and which can be used in particular to treat high blood pressure or heart failure . But used in addition to other substances, they can actually serve as masking agents. Thus, they are used to distort the results of doping tests and to hide the taking of other prohibited doping substances.

You can imagine that most athletes who have resorted to doping have also gone through this box. These substances are also used to lose weight quickly, especially in certain sports where it is preferable to have a light weight. This is why in 2001, there was a positive case in the discipline of ski jumping with Dmitri Vasiliev.

5. Stimulants

In stimulants, we find a lot of stuff: amphetamines, cocaine (and yeah it’s also forbidden in sport to everyone’s surprise) or other psychostimulants.

Well the reasons are quite obvious, and as you may know, amphetamines can reduce the feeling of fatigue, when cocaine can for example improve reaction time and concentration. It would have served you well during the 3x500m at the ferry that, band of larvae.

Athletes who have already taken it: The cyclist Fausto Coppi who confessed to having used amphetamines several times to break the hour record (a test which generally takes place on the track and which consists of covering the greatest possible distance in one hour).

6. Narcotics

As with stimulants, you may be familiar with some narcotics. We find in particular all the drugs based on opioids, such as morphine, codeine or even fentanyl. These agents have euphoric or calming properties, and especially allow to block the sensation of pain.

Narcotics are used in particular in combat sports to relieve pain, or in cycling (again) in combination with stimulants. Indeed, we find a certain number of these products in what is called the “Belgian pot”, a mixture of amphetamines, analgesics, heroin and cocaine (sympaaa), used in cycling.

Athletes who have already taken it: the cyclists Laurent Roux, one of the best riders of his generation, as well as Christophe Dupouey, the former mountain bike world champion.

7. Cannaboids

That too you know heeein well (we won’t say anything, still no accusations here). Still not surprising, cannabis and everything close to it is considered a doping agent, even if in itself it does not really develop the capacities sports. The only thing that cannaboids can do is: relax before a big event and relax the muscles.

Athletes who have already taken it: Swimmer Michael Phelps, footballer Fabien Barthez, and American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson.

8. Beta blockers

Beta-blockers are prohibited in certain sports such as darts, golf or even archery, all things where you have to be very precise and concentrated. Indeed, beta-blockers can reduce anxiety, heart rate, and tremors while improving coordination.

These are sports in which doping is much less common firstly because for quite a long time there was no doping test (blood doping test was introduced in professional golf only in 2017), but also because they are less physical disciplines and therefore in which the classic doping agents have no real place. So there are very few proven cases of doping in these disciplines (and anyway you wouldn’t know them so who cares).

9. Glucocorticoids

Glucocorticoids are corticosteroids that have an action on the metabolism, they are basically used as anti-inflammatories, analgesics (painkillers), anti-allergics or antipreptychs (against fever). However, in sport, they can have psychostimulating effects, but also promote an increase in endurance performance and pain tolerance.

During exercise, corticosteroids help provide the glucose needed to continue the effort. They can also make it possible to limit tissue inflammation and the sensation of pain linked to this inflammation EVEN if few studies have proven the link between the increase in performance and the taking of corticosteroids.

Athletes who have already taken it: Lance Armstrong (ah boooo)

10. And finally, beta-2 adrenergic agonists (still more complicated)

They are used to treat and prevent the abnormal contraction of the muscles in the wall of the bronchi, to simplify it is a bit of ventolin. Some are allowed on medical advice, and others are simply prohibited at all times. Used in sport, they improve respiratory functions, and increase the capacity for effort and resistance.

Once again, it is above all cycling that was affected by this type of doping.

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