The Use of Erythropoietin EPO in Sports Essay

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The Use of Erythropoietin EPO in Sports

The use of erythropoietin (EPO) by athletes in recent years has made the headlines of

sports pages around the world. In this essay we will look at the evidence of EPO use

in sport. What leads athletes to using it? We will also look at the advantages and

disadvantages of its use for someone who wishes to do so.

Athletes are continually seeking an added edge to attain better performances and

results. Many are prepared to use pharmaceutical agents to achieve their goals. They

don't have to look far as there are numerous ergogenic drugs available to them.

Recombinant EPO is one of the most prominent. The statistics of rhEPO

production worldwide paints a grim
…show more content…
The evidence that rhEPO use does exist and is rampant not only in

cycling is confounding.

How does rhEPO boost performance?

Erythropoietin (EPO) is a glycoprotein hormone secreted naturally, by the cells of the

peritubular capillary endothelium of the kidneys but also to a very small extent in the

liver. It is usually secreted in response to hypoxia in the renal arterial circulation. Its

release stimulates bone marrow to increase its production of red blood cells

(erythropoiesis), and facilitate an increase in the oxygen carrying capacity of blood.

Red blood cells are limited in their ability to unload all their oxygen at a muscle site.

By increasing the number of red blood cells you increase the amount of oxygen being

delivered to muscles. Increased oxygen delivery to working muscles improves aerobic

performance. Indirectly, increasing oxygen delivery allows for increased use of fat for

energy at greater workloads.

Blood carries 20ml of oxygen per 100ml of blood in the arteries. At rest the body

releases 4--5ml of oxygen per 100ml of blood. The rest remains bound to the

hemoglobin. During intensive aerobic exercise about 15ml of oxygen per 100ml of

blood can be released to the active muscles. The normal hematocrit (proportion of

RBC) is between 40-54% in males and 37-47% in females. So a person with

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