Doping among amateur athletes

The problem of doping concerns not only professionals but also amateur athletes. How many participants in amateur races use doping? Why is doping still used despite educational ostracism despite social ostracism? How many more deaths do we need to record as a result of doping in amateur athletes to understand that shortcuts do not make sense?

What is doping?

The Australian Institute of Sport has developed a supplementation program for people practising competitive sports, in which it has separated four groups of supplements. Group A contains nutrients and substances that support nutritional goals and physical fitness. The purpose of using these nutrients is to supplement energy reserves, support regeneration processes and adequate hydration of the body. This group includes gels and bars for athletes and vitamin preparations. Only their overdose can have negative health consequences. In group B there are supplements, among others glutamine, glucosamine, probiotics, melatonin, recommended for athletes, but requiring further research, because the results so far do not confirm evidence of their effectiveness. Group C contains supplements against which there are scientific premises that they do not bring health benefits to athletes. These include branched-chain amino acids, carnitine, coenzyme Q10, nitric oxide or oxygenated water. In contrast, group D includes supplements prohibited for athletes that have a negative impact on health. This group includes androstenedione, 19-norandrostendion DHEA, 19- norandrostendiol, ephedra, strychnine, Tribulus Terrestris and other herbal supplements that affect the increase of free testosterone in the blood and glycerol.

Why do amateurs reach for doping?

Reasons and so-called temptations to reach for doping substances are many. We want to improve our functioning in various areas. – The first of these is the psyche, the ability to control emotions, create positive emotions around the task, positive self-esteem. Cognitive functions, i.e. the ability to think logically, motor memory or the ability to cope with stress are very important for our psyche – says expert in stress psychology – The next area is the state of our body, its efficiency, strength, muscle mass, efficiency, or the level of hormones that condition fitness and mobilize our body – adds the expert. The social aspect may also be a temptation to reach for illegal substances. – Participation in competitions, even amateur ones, involves the evaluation of other people – recognition or criticism. Moreover, we are also dealing with social consent to the use of such substances. Since my friends are getting doping and achieving such good results, it means that I can also take a shortcut – adds our expert. Self-improvement is also a very common reason for reaching for doping. A form of controlling our body and causing better and better results, setting goals higher and higher. There is also interpersonal competition, which means that we want to improve the record on the episode, route, be in the top ten, or on the podium. What are the consequences of doping? The use of unauthorized substances in sport brings not only expected effects but also threats for health and life. As the results of research commissioned by the Anti-Doping Agency show, this is not common knowledge. About 40 per cent Poles do not know how much impact on their health regular use of such measures would have. Amateur athletes are more convinced that individual doping substances can have a serious negative effect on health if used regularly.

So what could be the consequences of doping?

Very serious, when using group D supplements, it can cause damage to almost all functional systems, changes in the cardiovascular, urinary, digestive system or changes in ​cognitive functions. These substances have a neurodegenerative effect, destroy our nerve cells, in the future we are less fit, less intelligent, we can display behavioural changes and even aggressive behaviour. Regular use of doping disrupts hormone secretion and even causes infertility and impotence. The problem of doping among amateur athletes is growing, but in order to counteract it, the will of two parties is needed – common consent to co-finance anti-doping research among participants and organizers of amateur competitions. The costs of testing are high if we include hormones in the study, the cost of testing one sample can increase up to 2,000 dollars! The next step in fighting doping is the punishment for its use. We think that if it could be more severe, maybe it would cause some changes.