3 Drugs Athletes Are Banned From Using and What Students in Nutrition and Health Programs Need to Know

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It’s no secret that some athletes use drugs to improve their performance. This unethical practice creates an uneven playing field and can skew the results of a competition. In addition, doping can also negatively affect the athlete taking the drug. Fortunately, professionals working in fitness, health, and nutrition can make a difference by being aware of the most common drugs athletes use, as well as warning signs and symptoms that a client might be using them. If you’re considering becoming a nutrition and health professional, you may soon learn that doping can have serious consequences.

Read on to learn more about three common drugs banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

1. Students in Nutrition and Health Programs Should Know About Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids

Some athletes use anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) to increase their muscle mass and improve their performance. Anabolic-androgenic steroids, commonly known as steroids, are synthetic drugs manufactured to be variants of the testosterone hormone. The term AAS consists of three parts. Anabolic refers to the muscle-building characteristics of the drug. Androgenic refers to how the drug enhances typical male sex characteristics like facial hair and a deeper voice. And the word steroid categorizes the drug.

In addition to the fact AAS are banned by the WADA—which regulates over 660 sports organizations including the Olympics—they are also dangerous. Students earning their diploma in nutrition should know the health risks associated with using ASS, in case they ever encounter a client who uses these drugs. For example, if you see a client develop aggressive behaviour or who demonstrates inhibited growth, it might be a sign that they are using steroids. If this is the case, it’s important to warn them that AAS can cause a variety of health issues like liver tumors, high blood pressure, circulatory problems, and more. Instead of resorting to performance-enhancing drugs, you can instead encourage your client to adopt a healthy approach to their training that includes a carefully designed diet.

2. Students in Nutrition and Health Programs Should Know the Dangers of Stimulants

As students in nutrition and health programs may know, athletes sometimes use stimulants to increase their focus and alertness, and to overcome fatigue. Stimulants have also been known to improve endurance, suppress an athlete’s appetite, and increase aggressiveness. Stimulants work by interacting with the nervous system to speed up the body’s processes, putting the athlete at an unfair advantage above their competition. Common stimulants banned by the WADA include cocaine, fentanyl, and oxycodone.

Stimulants could have a severe negative impact on your future clients’ health. Common risks associated with taking stimulants include nervousness, insomnia, hallucinations, and dehydration. However, the exact risks and symptoms will depend on the type of stimulant taken. If you’re concerned that one of your clients is taking stimulants, several signs to watch for include weight loss, tremors, irritability, and signs of drug dependence.

3. Students in Nutrition and Health Programs Should Know About Hormone & Metabolic Modulators

Hormone and metabolic modulators manipulate hormones to change their enzyme reactions. Modulators can directly impact how the body’s hormones behave. For example, an anti-estrogen modulator can stop testosterone from turning into estrogen. Commonly, male athletes will use modulators to increase their testosterone levels. Women in sports use modulators to block feminine hormones and generate more muscle mass. This is especially common among female body builders and weight lifters.

In the medical world, anti-estrogen modulators are used to treat women suffering from breast cancer or other hormone-related tumors. Despite the positive effect modulators can have on women with cancer, they are unethical to use in sports and are banned by the WADA. They also pose serious health risks. Individuals who take modulators may experience hot flashes, fluid retention, gastrointestinal problems, and blood clots.

By knowing about common drugs that athletes sometimes use, you can help encourage them to discontinue using these harmful products and avoid their potentially dangerous side effects.

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