Contact Us

Vivid Seats

Google Search Steroid Nation

Google List

  • Count

EMail Tips


  • eXTReMe Tracker
  • -- The People's Sports Network
  • Blogarama - The Blog Directory
  • Top Sports Blogs

Tip Jar

Change is good

Tip Jar

February 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28    
Blog powered by Typepad

« Olympians in Beijing complain of spiked drinks: Where were Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson? | Main | Who will join 'The Legion of the Damned': More Beijing Olympics doping cases looming this weekend »




I really don't get why people suggest taking EPO. The theory behind EPO is that the athlete (generally an endurance athlete) can deliver more oxygen to his muscle cells by generating more red blood cells. The silly thing is that the limiting factor in muscle oxygen uptake for a healthy endurance (V02 max) is not the number of blood cells, nor is it the lungs. It is the number of mitochondria in the muscles cells that are available to do beta oxidation (use fat for energy rather than glycogen) so that less lactic acid is being produced from reduction of glucose (from the glycogen) as a result of the creation of a higher percentage of ATP from fats. In addition, and what makes the drug so dangerous, is the fact that it enhances the viscosity of the blood, increasing the work of the heart (and thus potentially decreasing performance). If you can imagine, this is like trying to drink a glass full of maple syrup with a straw rather than a glass full of water, with the straw being the arteries and the fluids being the blood. What an athlete should actually strive for (and a big response of the body to endurance exercise) is to decrease viscosity by adding blood plasma (the watery part) rather than hemoglobin (red blood cells). Thus, the heart could deliver the blood cells faster and easier to the muscle cells with a less viscous fluid and less resistance, rather than with a more viscous fluid and more resistance.


They say sometimes, that the user's blood becomes thick like syrup, most likely this is an exagerration but I would believe there has been an abnormal amount of cyclists in Europe that have succumbed to heart problems and the like.

"Sermon and Marco Pantani - who also died from cardiac arrest, the investigating magistrate in Italy said - are the seventh and eighth cyclists to die from the condition in just over a year. Although there is no evidence directly linking the recent spate of fatalities to banned drug use, a similar cluster of deaths - mainly in the Low Countries - in the late 1980s and early 1990s is now held to have marked the arrival in cycling of the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO). "


When someone uses EPO and exercises for a long time, that is exactly what happens. You get a dual effect on increasing viscosity by exercising and using EPO because, as I stated before, EPO thickens the blood by adding more blood cells (hemoglobin) rather than the blood plasma (watery part). If you combine this with dehydration from a sport such as cycling (dehydration lowers the amount of blood plasma), you get a sticky mix of a lot of red blood cells, and not enough plasma. When this happens, the heart must not only work hard to supply blood to the limbs in use, but also must overcome greater peripheral resistance from the vascular system. This in turn increases the hearts workload, so now the heart must consume more oxygen, the lungs must work harder (thus the muscles of respiration need more blood too), and as you can see the effect cascades. Eventually, the heart becomes way too overworked, and the athlete's heart becomes endangered.


I just looked up the numbers, and if you have a normal Packed Cell Volume (~45% red blood cells versus plasma), the viscosity is 3 times that of water, so the heart must push three times harder on the blood to get the same flow of blood as if it was water. If the PCV only goes up 15%, the viscosity increases 5-6 times. Thus, adding blood cells only exponentially increases the viscosity and heart workload.

Outsourcing Copenhagen

your blog post is very informative, thanks for sharing it.

The comments to this entry are closed.