Lance Armstrong cheated, deep in our hearts we knew it, but until the words came out of his mouth, there was a glimmer of hope that he still could be the cycling hero but Meldonium and Erythropoietin why do Athletes use them. Now He has fallen, admitted doping, used steroids and erythropoietin (EPO), he exhibited disdain to those around him, both friend and foe.
Now its Maria Sharapova, 28 year old Russian with five-time Grand Slam titles to her name has a failed drug test for the banned substance Meldonium.
Not just her, It appears a lot of athletes take meldonium, but the Question is what is Meldonium and EPO? where does it come from and How does it work?
What is Meldonium
Meldonium – is also known as mildronate is a 3-(2,2,2-trimethylhydraziniumyl)propionate – designed to treat ischemia, a condition where there is a reduction in blood supply to body tissue. It is also have benefits for diabetes sufferers.
The drug was developed in Latvia by Grindeks and approved in the early 2000s to treat diabetes and various heart-related diseases. It also it has the ability to adjust the body’s use of energy, stimulating glucose metabolism and also helping to clear fatty build-up in the arteries.
Why do Athletes use it:
Meldonium works by increasing oxygen movement to muscles which could have a positive effect on stamina and endurance.
The drug is advertised as giving a mental focus, removing external stress so you feel sharper. And there is a slight central nervous system effect, like with stimulants such as caffeine, which gives you a sharper edge.
Therefore makes recovery quicker from a hard effort, whether that’s playing multiple games of tennis or a cyclist coming back the next day for another stage. It also has endurance effect.
Side Effect: headaches and agitation, skin irritation, though this is very rare.
What About Erythropoietin:
Erythropoietin also known as EPO is a naturally occurring hormone produced by cells in the kidneys that regulate the production of red blood cells in bone marrow. These kidney cells are sensitive to low blood oxygen content and will release EPO when oxygen is low. EPO stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells (to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood).
Why Would Athletes Use it?
Its overall effect is to increase endurance and, in athletics, it is used mainly by long distance-runners.
It is injected under the skin and stimulates red blood cell production.
The more red cells there are in your body, the more oxygen that can be delivered to the muscles.
This delays the onset of fatigue, meaning an athlete can run harder and for longer.
Its Side Effects include the following:
Injecting the drug will thicken the blood. If it is over-used the blood will become so thick, there is a real danger of the heart stopping when the body slows down, for example, when falling asleep.
Increasing the likelihood of suffering blood clots, heart attacks and strokes is a real possibility.
How disastrous it has been for athletes who have resorted to taking Performance enhancement drugs. The loosing their endorsement deal worth millions of dollars to the shame they face, ruining the relationship with fans and those who close them: Families and friends.
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