5 Performance-Enhancing Drugs You Should Know
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5 Performance-Enhancing Drugs You Should Know

5 Performance-Enhancing Drugs You Should Know

Hundreds of people are running. They're all going in the same direction; their goal is to cross the finish line. You're running with them. It's a Marathon, the heat is building up, sweat is running down your face and all over your body. You're gasping for breath, your hand is holding a stitch in your side. You keep on running, for the competition, by the adrenaline, towards the finish line. You're almost there; you somehow find more energy to run faster. You're there. You did it! There's nothing in the known world that beats the feeling of achievement you're feeling.

You've been training so hard for this, for months. But you came in second; you're "almost" a champion. Wouldn't it feel even better if you were the best?

What if we told you that, with some added tweaks, the same training you went through could've given you the champion medal? Chances are the athlete who just beat you might have been using some of those tweaks.

What's a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED)?

You probably know where we're going with this. It's not uncommon for athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs to give them superhuman capabilities. So what are PEDs, you ask? And are they really safe to use?

A performance-enhancing drug is any of the many substances used to improve performance in sports or training generally. Athletes usually use them to boost their powers, bodybuilders use them to increase their muscle mass and form, and people who are just getting started find PEDs a very attractive shortcut to get quick and easy gains. But at what cost?

Many of the most commonly used PEDs have detrimental side effects. Let's take a quick tour through the most commonly used PEDs and have a quick overview of their benefits, and side effects.

5 Performance-Enhancing Drugs You Should Know

1- Anabolic Agents

Anabolic agents refer to the substances used mainly to increase muscle mass and strength, the most common of which are:

  • Anabolic steroids

Anabolic androgenic steroids, or just anabolic steroids, are mainly good old testosterone or any of its synthetic modifications. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone produced naturally in your body. It promotes muscle building, and is responsible for male characteristics, like facial hair and a deeper voice.

  • Designer Steroids

Designer steroids were developed to go under the radar of the authorities, as they can hardly be traced. They are synthetic agents that haven't really undergone research and testing, so many of their side effects remain unknown. The risk of using them, however, is almost the same as using anabolic steroids.

  • Androstenedione

Androstenedione is another naturally occurring hormone produced by our adrenal glands, and it's converted to testosterone and estradiol in men and women. Again, the risks of using it are the same as that of anabolic steroids.

2- Hormones and Related Substances

Such substances are mainly used to treat medical conditions of cancer or prematurely-born babies. People use them to enhance their physical performance, but they also have side effects.

Such substances include:

  • Erythropoietin

While it's mainly used to treat anemia, erythropoietin increases the amount of oxygen delivered to your cells and muscles, by increasing the production of the agents that carry said oxygen (red blood cells and hemoglobin). In doing so, it increases your endurance capacity and overall stress threshold. This is the same concept of how blood doping works.

  • Growth Hormone

GH is also an anabolic agent, meaning it increases muscle mass and performance.

Besides the side effects resulting from using anabolic agents and hormones, one of the main issues arises from the fact that they are naturally produced by the body. So thanks to the feedback system our bodies have, once you start injecting or using those substances, your body starts to slow down on, or even stop, synthesizing them naturally, That is a huge problem, as more often than not, the body stops producing them for good.

3- Creatine

Creatine is one of the popular supplements, used during weightlifting workout regimes. Creatine is also a naturally occurring compound which helps muscles store more energy, to provide short-term bursts of power during exercise. It is also used to gain weight and build more muscle mass. Some people also claim that it aids in muscle recovery after strenuous exercise. So far, it appears to be safe to use, given that you follow the recommended doses.

4- Stimulants

Stimulants are those agents that work on the central nervous system, enhancing the brain function to be more alert. People use stimulants to improve focus, get that adrenaline pump, and generally increase their cognitive and neuromuscular functions.

Stimulants can range from safe to use to illegal and dangerous. One of the most commonly used stimulants is caffeine, found in almost all of the energy drinks, or just a cup of good old coffee. Other stimulants are illegal to use, such as amphetamine and cocaine. They also have dangerous side effects, of being both addictive and detrimental to overall health.

5- Narcotics & Cannabinoids

Some athletes turn to narcotics and cannabinoids use to relax and ease their minds, arguing that they help soothe their nerves during competition. They also say that these substances help speed their muscle recovery. We don't need to mention that narcotics are highly addictive and illegal to use. Cannabinoids, however, have been lately legalized in many of the U.S states for medicinal and recreational use. While there's little scientific evidence regarding their ability to speed recovery, they do help with soothing the pain and relaxing the nerves.

PEDs: Do You Need To Use Them?

While they may look very appealing to use for quick gains and easy shortcuts, you should first weigh the benefits and risks before using any substance. You should also consult with your personal trainer or general physician before getting started on any of them. There are several natural alternatives to boost your strength and aid your recovery. And anyway, wouldn't it be better if you pushed yourself to its limit without cheating, and then see the result of all of your hard work manifest itself in natural ways?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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