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Performance Enhancing Drugs and Blood Doping

Performance Enhancing Drugs and Blood Doping

Sample Answer 

Performance Enhancing Drugs and Blood Doping

Drug-induced performance enhancement is illegal yet relatively common in sports. A lot of athletes try to find ways to enhance their natural biological processes to enhance their physical capabilities and make themselves better in their respective sports. Due to its health risks and ethical nature, this practice is considered illegal. Athletes who are found to have used performance-enhancement drugs are exposed to hefty fines, including potentially being banned from competing. As a result, new ways of performance enhancement have been developed, one being blood doping. Blood doping involves boosting an athlete’s red blood cells to improve the transportation of oxygen to the muscles, thus enhancing aerobic capacity (Jelkmann & Lundby, 2011). The practice of blood doping should be illegal because it is an unethical practice and it exposes athletes to potentially dangerous health risks.

The Process of Blood Doping

The blood doping process begins with an introduction of an agent that enhances oxygen transportation in the body, particularly to the muscles. These agents enhance the mass of hemoglobin to allow the blood to carry more oxygen than in an average person. During exercise, efficiency is dependent on the effective transportation of oxygen throughout the body. Aerobic respiration occurs for sufficient delivery of oxygen to the skeletal muscles (Jelkmann & Lundby, 2011). For the body to reach its maximum oxygen uptake, hemoglobin reaches its maximum mass, cardiac output is enhanced, and oxygen extraction is enhanced. During competitions, it is hard to manipulate these three factors naturally. The maximum cardiac output gets to approximately 80%; the oxygen extraction is enhanced to about 90% (Jelkmann & Lundby, 2011). The only way that this performance can be enhanced further is through blood doping. The doping enhances the hemoglobin mass beyond the natural levels, thus enhancing the uptake of oxygen and cardiac performance.

Several methods can be used to achieve the process above. One of the methods of blood doping is through the use of medications. Some athletes misuse pharmaceutical drug treatments such as erythropoietin and Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) stabilizers, which increase the body’s oxygen-carrying capacity (Lundby, Robach & Saltin, 2012). Doping can also be done through autologous blood transfusion, where oxygenated blood taken from the athlete a few weeks early is returned to their bloodstream with an increased number of red blood cells. The doping can also be done through the introduction of blood substitutes, which are compounds with the ability to dissolve more oxygen than normal blood plasma. Two examples of blood substitutes are perfluorocarbons and hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (Lundby, Robach & Saltin, 2012).

Why Blood Doping Should Be Illegal

There are several reasons why blood doping should be illegal. One of the reasons is to protect athletes from harm. Engaging in blood doping exposes athletes to life-threatening health issues. For instance, increasing red blood cells has been linked to hyperviscosity syndrome, characterized by abnormally thick blood. Highly thickened blood can block arteries leading to cardiovascular issues such as heart attack, pulmonary embolism, and stroke (Birzniece, 2015). By making blood doping illegal, sporting organizations are helping to protect people against illnesses. Additionally, blood doping should be illegal because it is an unethical practice. Allowing athletes to alter their natural processes is unfair to others who are genuinely training to reach their optimum levels to be able to compete. Sports should be designed in a manner that allows fairness for all athletes.


Birzniece, V. (2015). Doping in sport: effects, harm, and misconceptions. Internal medicine journal, 45(3), 239-248.

Jelkmann, W., & Lundby, C. (2011). Blood doping and its detection. Blood, 118(9), 2395-2404.

Lundby, C., Robach, P., & Saltin, B. (2012). The evolving science of detection of ‘blood doping’. British journal of pharmacology, 165(5), 1306-1315.


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Performance Enhancing Drugs and Blood Doping

Because steroids and other performance enhancing drugs are illegal in most sports, some athletes are turning to blood doping.

Performance Enhancing Drugs and Blood Doping

Performance Enhancing Drugs and Blood Doping

Research and describe the process of blood doping. Do you think blood doping should be illegal? Why or why not? What negative effects does blood doping have on athletes?

(Minimum length of paper 500 words.) Papers need to be referenced and follow APA formatting guidelines (see link in course).

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