Physical Education - Ergogenic aids - blood doping and EPO
Blood doping and EPO
Click here to view video of Steve Moneghetti, marathon runner.
Blood doping is the intravenous administration of red blood cells. The
blood can be either from oneself or from another (if the blood types
match). This increase in blood volume increases the haemoglobin  thereby
increasing the oxygen going to the working muscles. Obvious dangers and
possible side effects of this practice are a thickening of the blood,
infection from the needle, including hepatitis, AIDS, viral and bacterial
Erythropoietin (EPO) is produced naturally by the kidneys but is also
produced synthetically. Its role is to stimulate red blood cell production.
The advantage of either of these methods is the enhanced delivery of
oxygen to the working muscles. The result is an increase in VO2 max (up to
25 %). It essentially mimics the results of high altitude training without
having to train at often expensive and impractical facilities.
The disadvantage is that the blood ends up being thicker and therefore
harder for the heart to pump around the body. This places great stress on
the heart and a number of people have died from a heart attack  as a
result of dehydration  and a further thickening of the blood.
Either of these methods favours the endurance  athlete and it is pretty
much undetectable. In the 1998 Winter Olympics, the IOC trialed a test that
looked at haemoglobin  count, however, there was no ban associated with
a positive result (a result of 18.5 for males and 16 for females was
considered positive). The athlete merely could not compete on that day.
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