Banned Performance Enhancing Drugs

Performance enhancing drugs or PEDs, for short, are banned in all competitive sports, from college football matches to the Olympic Games themselves. Professional athletes are rigorously tested for banned substances, with some sports being more closely monitored than others; in some sports, athletes don’t just have to give samples after competing, but could be asked to give a sample at any time during the year and can even be punished simply for not being where they are supposed to be when a sample is required.

Unfortunately, the abuse of banned substances and medical procedures throughout sporting history means it is essential that athletes are monitored closely. Not only is it illegal to use PEDs but it also runs counter to the spirit of sporting competition; the idea that people train for years to become as good as they can be, before pitting themselves against other talented athletes.

In addition, many of these banned substances can actually be harmful to your health, and there are recorded instances of athletes, including some top cyclists, dying during and after competition because of the strain put on their bodies by performance enhancing drugs.

The WADA List of Banned Drugs

WADA, the World Anti-Doping Authority, is responsible for compiling and maintaining the list of banned PEDs. They also have ultimate responsibility for testing athletes and for making decisions about whether individuals should be banned from competition and for how long for their doping infringements.

Substances on WADA’s list are either banned completely — meaning that an athlete cannot even use them during training — and those that are only banned during competition. Those banned completely include PEDs such as anabolic steroids and Human Growth Hormone (hGH).

Also banned are diuretics — drugs which make you urinate a lot — not because they give a competitor any advantage, but because they can be used to get rid of the evidence that an individual has been taking a banned performance enhancing drug.

As well as PEDs, there are also banned procedures on WADA’s list, such as blood doping which involves the transfusion of oxygenated blood back into the body to improve performance. Naturally, it is also forbidden to tamper with any samples provided by an athlete, either manually or chemically.

Substances Banned During Competition

WADA’s list also includes substances banned during competition, but which do not give an athlete any advantage if taken during training. However, some individual sports have their own rules regarding some of these substances, and when their use will result in a ban.

Drugs which are banned in competition include recreational drugs such as cocaine and cannabis, as well as PEDs like amphetamines but which are found in many over-the-counter cold remedies.

Believe it or not, even coffee made this list at one time.

Caffeine was, for some time, on the WADA list of substances banned during competition as it is a powerful stimulant, but its use is now simply “monitored.”

If further evidence comes to light of its benefit as a performance enhancing drug, then it could easily find itself back on the list of banned substances.

Side Effects of Banned Substances

Athletes who use the performance enhancing drugs on WADA’s list are not just risking their career; they are also putting their health at risk.

Blood doping, which was thought to be widespread in professional road cycling at one point, can lead to thickening of the blood, and eventually heart attacks. This banned procedure has been implicated in the deaths of more than one athlete in the past.

Human Growth Hormone, which is used to increase muscle mass in athletes and to aid in their recovery from injury, has also been linked to cardiac problems, as well as diabetes, impotence, osteoporosis and arthritis.

These are high prices to pay in order to gain a slight advantage over your fellow competitors, especially given the likelihood that you will be caught cheating either immediately after competing or in years to come as scientific advances make testing of past samples more accurate.

Drug testing is now widespread in most sports, with competitors called to give urine samples immediately after competing. Testing urine samples will help WADA experts identify most banned performance enhancing drugs, but some can only be found by also taking blood samples too.

Professional athletes will give many such samples throughout their career, information which will be added to their WADA biological passport. This biological profile helps testers to identify any anomalies, proving that there really is nowhere for athletes using banned performance enhancing drugs to hide.

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Steroid Use In Pro Sports

Anabolic steroids have been used by professional athletes in order to gain a competitive advantage for decades. However, once it became common knowledge that athletes were using steroids in order to help with their recovery from injury or to increase their muscle mass, sporting authorities started to crack down on their use. Now testing for steroids is carried out after every competition, and even between events to ensure that athletes in all sports are clean.

WADA, the World Anti-Doping Authority, has put steroids on its list of substances which are banned at all times, not just during competitions but even during training periods as well. Punishments for athletes who use banned substances, including steroids, are severe; most are banned for months or even years, and if they are found to have used steroids in competitions they won, then they will have their medals and records taken from them.

Why Athletes Use Steroids

It is most common to find steroid abuse among professional athletes who take part in sports which require strength, and a lot of muscle. Anabolic steroids help to build muscle mass and make that muscle stronger; ideal for weightlifters, and track and field athletes, especially sprinters.

Some of the most high-profile athletes caught using steroids have been 100m sprinters like Ben Johnson, who was stripped of the 1988 Olympic gold medal at that event after tests found that he was using steroids. There is some evidence that even amateur athletes who play American Football and rugby are using steroids to build up their bulk, while they are increasingly popular with young men who want to have the perfect physique for vanity reasons, not for sport.

Side Effects of Steroids

While steroids have been banned by WADA because of the competitive advantage users gain, there are also medical reasons for the sporting authorities to discourage their use. Abuse of steroids by athletes leads to mood swings and increased aggression, a decreased sex drive, acne and premature baldness, and more serious conditions like high blood pressure, cancer and raised cholesterol levels, which can lead to cardiac problems.

Steroids can be used for genuine medical problems including HIV, Muscular Dystrophy and to help cancer patients build up their strength after chemotherapy treatment. However, there are no valid medical reasons for most healthy, professional athletes to be taking steroids as medication, and if they test positive for steroids then the assumption has to be that they are trying to cheat.

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WADA and Steroids

Athletes are tested very frequently these days, both during competition and during their training sessions; they can even be punished just as severely if they fail to turn up for drug testing as if they had tested positive for steroids or another banned substance. Every professional athlete today has a biological passport which helps the experts at WADA spot any potential discrepancies which could be an indication of steroid use.

If an athlete is found to have been using steroids, either as part of their training regimen or to gain an advantage during races or matches, then they face a lengthy ban from taking part in competitions lasting months or even years, depending on the rules of their sports’ own ruling bodies.

This can devastate a professional athlete’s career; even if they make a comeback after serving their ban, their fans will not look at them the same way, and they face training and competing under a microscope for the rest of their lives.

The advantages gained by using steroids are not insignificant, but the damage that they can do to both your health and to your prospective sporting career means that it is simply not a risk worth taking. You are risking serious illness and a long ban if you are caught — and the rigorous testing programs employed by all sports from college to professional level means you will be caught.

Lesser Known Beneficial Uses For Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids have had a bad press in recent years, thanks to their prevalence in schools and colleges, and their use by athletes to gain an advantage over competitors.

While it is true that the abuse and misuse of anabolic steroids is illegal in professional sports, and that these drugs can be highly dangerous if taken inappropriately without proper medical supervision, they are also an extremely useful and beneficial medication for a variety of conditions.

Patients can often become nervous and uncomfortable when their doctor suggests using anabolic steroids for a legitimate medical reason, but the horror stories we have all heard about the side effects or their illegal use should not put you off if they can help you feel better.

Doctor With Patient in Hospital Bed

Anabolic Steroids and Cancer

Many treatments for cancer can leave the patient weakened, and with a significant loss of muscle tissue throughout their body.

Doctors will often prescribe their cancer patients a short course of anabolic steroids to help them build up their strength, either in anticipation of further treatment or surgery or simply to help them become stronger in order to return to their normal life as soon as possible.

Men with testicular cancer sometimes have one or both testicles removed – to cure the disease and to try and prevent its return. However, this leaves the men unable to make testosterone naturally.

Anabolic steroids can be prescribed to ensure that normal levels of testosterone are maintained, thereby ensuring that there is no change in the patient’s secondary sexual characteristics such as facial hair, body hair and a lower voice.

Anabolic Steroids and Hormone Problems

There are other medical conditions associated with our hormones which can be treated with the use of anabolic steroids. Some young men have a condition which affects their pituitary gland, and stops them from producing testosterone naturally when they reach puberty. Anabolic steroids can replace the natural testosterone production, allowing them to go through puberty and continue to live a normal life.

Transsexual women who wish to become men are often given anabolic steroids to boost the levels of testosterone in their body; this helps them to develop more manly facial features and deepens their voice. Although the US has not officially approved the use of anabolic steroids for this purpose, there are many clinics where transsexuals can be prescribed these drugs legally.

Male Contraceptive?

Studies are currently being carried out to establish if anabolic steroids could be used in the development of a male contraceptive, similar to the pill taken by millions of women around the world.

Unfortunately, attempts to research this potential benefit has been held back because of the widespread abuse of steroids; there are concerns that making the drug more widely available as a male contraceptive pill will lead to more young people abusing steroids for other purposes.

Being prescribed anabolic steroids for a genuine medical reason is no reason for concern – and no reason for embarrassment or shame either. While there is no doubt that widespread abuse of these drugs has led to stigma about their use, it is important to remember that some people on steroids will be taking them for a medical condition, and not to gain an advantage in sporting competition or for youthful vanity.

Regardless of the reason you think you should be taking steroids, remember that they are dangerous drugs, and should only be used when prescribed by a doctor.

The Latest NFL Suspensions Due To Drug Tests

Drug test results are big news in the athletic world right now. A lot of big boys in various sports are having to take their medicine because of something else they swallowed.

The news hasn’t rocked their various sports worlds; on the contrary, the NFL has responded to a spate of positive drug tests by tightening regulations recently, prompting what some might call a harsh response to some bad choices; what others would say is justice overdue.

NFL Bad Boys

Two high-profile sportsmen are in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, Le’Veon Bell of the Steelers and Arthur Jones from the Colts. These well-paid individuals took risks with their careers by ingesting banned substances and are now paying the penalty with a 4-game suspension each.

With all the money they make, audiences might wonder why they need to ingest drugs in order to improve performance instead of working with personal trainers. Presumably, it’s the money that motivates them to look beyond legal boundaries; money that’s worth the chances they take with their careers and their lives.

Tale of Two Drug Tests

In fact, this has to do with more than two tests. Le’Veon Bell is in trouble for missing several tests paired with a reputation for having tested positive in the past. Arthur Jones tested positive for the first time in his career, but that has not stopped him from falling foul of regulators who recently decided that one positive test was enough for a 4-game suspension.

Affecting Careers

News reports regarding these incidents point out that, while suspension has hit the two men hard, their behavior has provided the catalyst for progress. The Colts might use this as their incentive to hire someone else in his place.

Bell’s absence gives other players a chance to join the first-team squad and make a name for themselves. Even on the team there is plenty of competition for those juicy spots and the pay checks that go with them.

Rules about PEDs, Banned Substances and Drugs

Marijuana is a banned substance, yet it isn’t generally thought of as “performance-enhancing.” Startlingly, studies show that some athletes perform better after consuming weed if they consume just enough and not too much.

Recent regulations do not permit any marijuana to be found in a sports professional’s test results. If this is for the same reason as fighting sports, then it is because it is considered a painkiller, and that they state an athlete could get injured worse, due to not feeling any pain.

Performance enhancers include steroids to increase muscle production, stimulants which encourage short-term energy production, and HCG for increased muscle growth. Athletes even turn to blood doping, thereby increasing the supply of red blood cells to increase the amount of oxygen moving around their bodies. This requires a transfusion of one’s own blood directly before a game or a race.

Athletes don’t just lose their careers when they take PEDs. Some of them have died. Other substances regulatory organizations look out for mask signs of drug use or cause excessive urination so as to eliminate them rapidly. Diuretics and masking substances are also banned. What if someone won’t go through with a scheduled or random test so as to be sure of not testing positive?

This looks very bad indeed. The only way to avoid a positive drug test is to either stay away from banned substances, or look into information about how to pass your drug test if you’re stuck in this situation after finding out you have something in your system that may cause you to fail.

The UFC Hit By PED Scandal Again

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has once more been rocked by scandal. A few more of its professional fighters have been in the spotlight for being accused of using banned substances, such as Jon Jones, Brock Lesnar and Chad Mendes.

These accusations in the UFC do not come as a shock; nor do revelations of other UFC abusers. In fact, the cynical reaction has been to believe all fighters probably use Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED) at least some time, knowingly or innocently. And Nate Diaz is famously known for saying that all fighters use steroids.

Help from the USADA

A non-governmental agency called the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) runs a website, regulates the UFC from within, and seeks to educate competitors about the dangers and consequences of using banned substances when they train or compete.

Random tests seek to discover a fighter developing greater strength by taking supplements such as drink mix powders and tablets which contain a variety of PED or promote muscle growth in unnatural ways. They also test for products potentially used to mask such results.

usada.orgHelpful Website

The USADA website helpfully outlines the various compounds which can be injected or ingested to these ends, some of them not obvious. One expects to see certain illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and opiates, but not protein powders and amino acids.

The list is alarming in that it contains some items found in food supplements sold over-the-counter at gyms, drug stores, health food stores, and online which the average person wouldn’t recognize as illicit or illegal.

Only a fighter well-versed in the rules, regulations, and ongoing controversy around such things could possibly know, and even then the list is an ever-changing miasma of potential poisons.

The USADA website also highlights the reasons why a performance-enhancing drug would be controlled, be inspected by the FDA, or should cause concern. They include potential harm to the person consuming them, not just unnatural advantages in the ring.


The Ultimate Fighting Championship was created in the USA in 1993. It started out with fighters in separate disciplines claiming theirs was the better one, but eventually all martial arts were combined into what we know as MMA: karate, judo, tae kwon do, etc. Mixed Martial Arts is not hampered by a lot of rules.

The few there are allow competitors to incorporate standing moves with floor action from all of the martial arts disciplines. Fighters are divided by their weight into various numerous categories the way boxers are to make the fight as fair and even as possible.

Such fairness makes for cleaner fighting and also for more entertaining contests. An uneven match is boring. The UFC website provides further enlightenment as to the origins, rules, and schedule of this popular sport.


Obviously, this is not a boring activity to watch and can be bloody. One doesn’t participate actively for many years; it is too damaging on the body, so participants can turn their skills to acting, doing stunts, coaching younger participants, or roles within the UFC.

A match is held most weeks of the year between competitors from around the world. The UFC airs matches on television to a strong reception from the public familiar with celebrities like Jason Statham who use their skills in the movie industry to create diverse and exciting fight scenes.

Results of News

Will the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization come undone as a result of high-profile doping cases? It is unlikely. The Olympics is also hit by these problems regularly; almost every sport is, and there have been recent headlines that the UFC is notorious for frequent testing for banned substances. Athletes give in to their desire to be the best and do things which harm their sport, their bodies, and their countries’ reputations.

Internal regulatory agencies such as the USADA try their best to limit the damage these issues cause, but doping issues do not seem to have dampened the public’s interest in UFC. In fact, they give new fighters a chance to compete in place of suspended pros.

If you are facing an upcoming test, here’s my insight into drug test solutions.

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