What Do Performance Enhancing Drugs Actually Do to Your Body?

Athletes get suspended all the time for taking performance enhancing drugs. There’s no doubt that some upcoming Olympic gold medal winners will end up being stripped of their medals because of PEDs. But what do those drugs actually do? How much do they help? Life Noggin takes a look at two popular PEDs—steroids and blood doping—to reveal their effects.

Steroids can help men get a 38 percent increase in strength (and even more in women) because taking anabolic steroids helps the body create more proteins than it normally would (which encourages cells to replicate and muscles to grow). You can also train harder and recover faster, because the body doesn’t break down proteins as it normally does when on steroids.

Blood doping, on the other hand, helps out on an athlete’s endurance by increasing the oxygen carrying red blood cells in the blood through blood transfusions or injections of Erythropoietin. The more oxygen to your muscles, the more endurance you have after blood doping. Life Noggin says a person’s endurance can increase by 34 percent. So, yeah, this stuff works.


Athletes use many more different PEDs for different purposes. (For example, Human Growth Hormone boosts up a person’s sprinting capacity.) And there are just so many out there that it’s becoming increasingly hard to draw the line in what’s cheating and what’s not.

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Arggh! there goes a...snake a snake!

It’s interesting where we continue to draw the line. PEDs are definitely a no-no, but having advanced engineered swimsuits, or road bikes, or tennis racquets is allowed. So we do allow performance enhancing equipment. If we truly wanted a level playing field, everyone should use the same equipment. In the future (and even already in some cases today), people will have biomechanical enhancements or artificial limbs which may be advantageous.