The physical and mental demands of your body increase with sports. When you are very active, your body adapts to provide you with the support you need, such as increasing the rate your heart pumps blood and supplies oxygen to your muscles.
Your brain works to maintain body temperature, coordinate your movement, and make sure you are alert.
Your body is designed to coordinate itself to allow you to perform at your best. Therefore the use of performance-enhancing drugs has become increasingly common.
- Anabolic steroids: Anabolic-androgenic steroids or just anabolic steroids increase their muscle mass and strength. Testosterone is the main anabolic steroid hormone produced by your body.
- Creatine: Athletes take nutritional supplements instead of or in addition to performance-enhancing drugs. Supplements are available over-the-counter as powders or pills. Creatine monohydrate is a supplement that’s popular among athletes.
- Designer steroids: These are synthetic steroids made specifically for athletes and have no approved medical use. Because of this, they haven’t been tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and represent a particular health threat to athletes.
- Diuretics: They change your body’s natural balance of fluids and salts, which can lead to dehydration. This loss of water can decrease an athlete’s weight, which many athletes prefer. Diuretics may also help athletes pass drug tests by diluting their urine and are sometimes referred to as a “masking” agent.
- Erythropoietin: Erythropoietin increases the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin — the protein that carries oxygen to your body’s organs. Taking erythropoietin improves the movement of oxygen to the muscles.
- Human growth hormone: Human growth hormone is a hormone that has an anabolic effect. Athletes take it to improve muscle mass and performance.
- Stimulants: Athletes use stimulants to stimulate the central nervous system and increase heart rate and blood pressure. They improve endurance, reduce fatigue, suppress appetite and increase alertness and aggressiveness. Common stimulants include caffeine and amphetamines. Cold remedies often contain the stimulants ephedrine or pseudoephedrine hydrochloride.