Essay On Ergogenic Aids

Ergogenic Aids In Sports Essay

Ergogenic Aids in Sports

A large problem in sports today is the use of ergogenic aids. An ergogenic aid is any substance or device that increases or enhances energy use, production, or recovery giving the athlete an advantage in competition. Not all ergogenic aids are illegal; many such as dietary supplements, vitamin supplements, or protein supplements are widely used and accepted, however, many are illegal and are banned by many athletic committees(Ahrendt,1). I will be discussing these illegal aids and the affect they have on the athlete and the athletic community. Some of the more commonly used illegal aids include blood doping, caffeine, corticosteroids, diuretics, and human growth hormones (HGH).
Blood doping is taking blood out of oneself or from someone else and injecting it back into the blood stream (blood,1). This is done by taking out the blood and freezing it for 5-6 weeks (this is so the body can rebuild its supply of RBC (red blood cells) and hemoglobin). Then one to seven days before the event injecting it back in to the body (Goldman,47). This theoretically increases the VO2 max by in the amount of RBC and hemoglobin in the blood. The VO2 is the maximum amount of oxygen the blood can hold (blood,2).
Athletes that use blood doping include long-distance runners, cyclist, and any other athletes needing long endurance. The increase in VO 2 max seems to be the only advantage of blood doping. This gives the athlete an unfair advantage by allowing them to have an increased endurance (Shipe,76).
There are no real medical uses for blood doping, but it can be considered a form of blood transfusion in which case it has a medical use. Transfusions are used to help people who have anemia, defect in blood cells. Anemia comes in many forms including sickle cell or hypo ferric (low iron). This is done by taking donor blood and injecting it into the body of the patient, giving the person enough normal blood to live longer then they would with out it (Feinstein,1).
The effectiveness of blood doping is unsure, researches don’t know if it truly works. Some reports state that the added RBC and hemoglobin increase the viscosity of the blood, which in turn actually decreases the VO2 max(Goldman,50). The increase in viscosity can lead to an overload of work in the liver and kidney, which could lead to future problems in the liver and kidney (Shipe,77). Another precaution is if the blood that is injected does not come from the person it is being injected into there is a possibility of getting a disease such as AIDS. Blood doping is nearly impossible to discover in tests because the athlete is usually injecting their own blood into their system. The increased hemoglobin and RBC in the body can be accredited to high altitude workouts (working at high altitudes for extended amounts of time can increase hemoglobin and RBC’s). Even though it is near impossible to test for the Olympic Committee still bans its use in hope to find a test.

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