Doping - Success At Any Price?

Table of contents:

Doping - Success At Any Price?
Doping - Success At Any Price?

Video: Doping - Success At Any Price?

Video: Doping - Success At Any Price?
Video: Lance Armstrong - Cycling's Greatest Fraud in History - Documentaries 2023, March

Doping - Success at Any Price?

Faster, stronger, further, higher: being fit and sporty is seen by many as a sign of success and attractiveness. Those who train properly can be proud of the sporting result. However, some athletes help with other means and methods in order to be successful. Regardless of whether it is frivolous drug abuse in popular sport or prohibited doping in professional and top-class sport: Both of these can have lasting health effects!


  • Continue reading
  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • "Doping" in popular sport
  • Bodybuilding & anabolic steroids
  • Exercise & pain relievers
  • Fitness and dietary supplements
  • Doping in competitive sport
  • Doping and health consequences

There is no question: Those who exercise regularly live healthy. This applies primarily to health-oriented athletes and less so to competitive sports. Studies show, however, that some amateur athletes are willing to use drugs or doping substances prohibited in professional sport in order to achieve their goals. You are running - consciously or unconsciously - a health risk.

"Doping" in popular sport

Doping in popular and recreational sports is known as drug abuse. The strict doping rules and sanctions, such as bans in competitions, do not only apply to organized competitive sport. In principle, every athlete who takes part in a hobby competition can be tested for doping. In addition, the trade in most drugs for private individuals is prohibited. In addition, a doctor's prescription is often required for the medication. Anyone who illegally acquires the funds via the Internet is liable to prosecution. This also applies to people who deal in drugs.

There are no scientifically based figures in Austria about the spread of “doping” in popular sport. Nevertheless, based on observations and studies in other countries, experts point out areas in non-organized sport in which drug abuse is relatively common and associated with health risks.

Bodybuilding & anabolic steroids

Experts consider the use of anabolic steroids (anabolic steroids) and other hormones to be one of the greatest problems of "doping" in popular sport. This can be seen in the large quantities of substances seized by the authorities (customs, police, etc.). The focus is not so much on increasing athletic performance but on striving to shape the body according to one's own ideas. Many teenagers would also take anabolic steroids to accelerate muscle growth.

The Health Dangers: Anabolic steroids have dangerous side effects. The consequences include shrinkage of the testicles and impotence in men or "masculinization" of the body, infertility in women, risk of cardiovascular diseases, harmful changes in lipid metabolism, etc.

Exercise & pain relievers

In order to be fit and productive despite slight discomfort during sport or a competition, e.g. marathon, triathlon, bike race, tennis tournament etc., some recreational athletes take painkillers before the event or during training. It is often taken without medical supervision and without medical necessity.

The health dangers: pain as the body's natural warning signs are switched off and the body does not get the rest it actually needs. This increases the risk of injury or delays the healing of existing injuries. Acute overload syndromes or a circulatory collapse due to overexertion are also possible. In addition, undesirable side effects can occur with any drug.

Fitness and dietary supplements

Fitness-oriented sport is often about good looks and a slim figure. The desired physical effects can be achieved with regular, targeted training and a balanced diet. Dietary supplements, sports nutrition or medication are sometimes supposed to accelerate success. However, consumption can be associated with health risks. Examples are:

  • Water tablets (diuretics): They are sometimes misused to reduce weight. However, these agents do not cause fat loss.

    The health risks: Dehydrating agents remove important minerals from the body, which can lead to permanent kidney damage.

  • "Fat Burner":In order to allegedly accelerate fat loss, certain foods or dietary supplements are touted as "fat burners" on the Internet, in fitness centers or in special shops. These products are said to accelerate fat metabolism, curb appetite and have a dehydrating effect. These include preparations containing certain vitamins, minerals, hormones and enzymes as well as stimulating foods such as tea or coffee. Sports nutrition is usually sold with the label “plant-based”. However, a fat-reducing effect of these food supplements has not yet been scientifically proven. Some “fat burners” can also contain substances that are considered doping agents or that may only be taken under medical supervision, e.g. ephedrine. This substance is obtained from plants or produced synthetically and is contained in prescription asthma drugs and nasal drops, among other things.

    The health dangers: An overdose of ephedrine can cause undesirable side effects, such as restlessness or anxiety and an increase in blood pressure.

  • NO boosters (nitrogen monoxide boosters) are said to lead to the expansion of blood vessels and have a performance-enhancing effect, but there is no scientific evidence for this.

A sport-appropriate diet is usually sufficient to meet the energy and nutritional requirements. An additional intake of vitamins and minerals should always be made in consultation with a doctor or nutritionist. A medical check-up is important in order to be informed about the personal state of health and possible risks. Food supplements with drug approval are subject to strict quality criteria. Products without this test can also contain small amounts of substances that are considered doping agents, such as steroid hormones.

Further information can be found under Sport & Nutrition.

Doping in competitive sport

Doping is defined as the presence of one or more anti-doping rule violations, such as the presence of a prohibited substance, the use of a prohibited method, the refusal to undergo a sample, possession of and dealing with a prohibited substance. The anti-doping rules apply to all organized sport. The National Anti-Doping Agency GmbH (NADA Austria) has the task of fighting doping as an independent doping control facility within the meaning of the Federal Anti-Doping Act (ADBG). At the international level, anti-doping efforts are coordinated by the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). The basis is the WADA code, in which the doping rules are recorded, and the annually updated list of bans. In Austria, the WADA code and others applyalso the legal regulations of the Federal Anti-Doping Act, the Medicines Act and the Criminal Code.

Doping and health consequences

Doping and drug abuse occur in all sports and performance levels. There is no sport in which it is not possible to improve one's performance with medication, drugs or prohibited doping substances. But: the misuse of drugs in healthy people has its price. Payment is made with a high risk of endangering health. All doping substances are mentioned in the doping list, which is updated annually by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). The current doping list and a medication query can be found on the NADA Austria website.

Anabolic steroids

Anabolic steroids are man-made hormones. Most anabolic steroids derive their effects from the male sex hormone testosterone. As a prohibited doping agent, it is supposed to improve protein metabolism and muscle building.

The consequential damage or side effects include:

  • Premature growth stop in adolescents, steroid acne, high blood pressure, toxic liver damage with fatty liver, diseases or narrowing of the coronary arteries, increased risk of heart attack, disorders of lipid metabolism, psychological symptoms such as psychological dependence, increased aggressiveness with a tendency to violence.
  • In men: impotence, shrinkage of the testicles with decreased ejaculate, enlarged prostate with increased risk of prostate cancer, breast growth, hair loss.
  • In women: masculinization, increased body hair and beard growth, lack of menses, sterility.


The hormone insulin, which is important for the sugar metabolism, is used as a medication for diabetes when the body produces too little insulin. As a prohibited doping agent, it is supposed to accelerate metabolic processes. Insulin administration in healthy people can very quickly lead to life-threatening hypoglycaemia and death.

Erythropoietin (EPO, CERA)

The hormone erythropoietin is important for the formation of red blood cells. It is used as a drug in the treatment of anemia and blood disorders. As a prohibited doping substance, it is used to increase the number of red blood cells (blood doping).

The side effects include:

Increased viscosity of the blood ("blood thickening"), thereby increasing risk of thrombosis, higher risk of stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism, higher susceptibility to infections, high blood pressure

Growth hormone (HGH, somatropin)

The growth hormone regulates the length growth in adolescents and stimulates cell division. It is prescribed as a drug in the event of a disruption of the body's own production or growth disorders. As a prohibited doping substance, it is said to stimulate muscle growth.

The side effects include:

Pathological growth of the tips of the body (acromegaly), such as the chin, head, hands or feet, but also an enlargement of the internal organs and a higher risk of tumors. The effects of growth substances have not yet been fully researched: This can lead to changes in various functions of the cell systems, the effects of which are often only noticeable after many years


Substances with a stimulating effect include amphetamines, ephedrine, cocaine and, in high quantities, caffeine. Ephedrine is found in cough syrups, for example. As prohibited doping substances, stimulants are taken shortly before or during the competition in order to overcome signs of fatigue, fear etc. and to push the performance limits out.

The side effects or consequences include:

Stress symptoms, rise in blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, agitation, psychosis, addiction, hallucinations, severe exhaustion, heat stroke, death

Diuretics (water tablets)

Diuretics do not increase performance, but are used forbidden in certain sports in order to keep the weight low or within the prescribed limit. In medicine, they are used under medical supervision to reduce water retention in tissue caused by illness. Important minerals are also lost due to the artificially induced loss of fluid.

The possible consequences of taking diuretics while exercising include:

Dehydration, muscle cramps, kidney damage, or irregular heartbeat

Additional Information:


Popular by topic