Body Enhancement Products (Drugs: the Straight Facts)

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This loss of water can decrease an athlete's weight, which many athletes prefer. Diuretics may also help athletes pass drug tests by diluting their urine and are sometimes referred to as a "masking" agent. Diuretics taken at any dose, even medically recommended doses, predispose athletes to adverse effects such as:. Many athletes take nutritional supplements instead of or in addition to performance-enhancing drugs.

Supplements are available over-the-counter as powders or pills. Creatine monohydrate is a supplement that's popular among athletes. Creatine is a naturally occurring compound produced by your body that helps your muscles release energy. Scientific research indicates that creatine may have some athletic benefit by producing small gains in short-term bursts of power.

Creatine appears to help muscles make more adenosine triphosphate ATP , which stores and transports energy in cells, and is used for quick bursts of activity, such as weightlifting or sprinting. But there's no evidence that creatine enhances performance in aerobic or endurance sports.

Weight gain is sought by athletes who want to increase their size. But with prolonged creatine use, weight gain is more likely the result of water retention than an increase in muscle mass. Water is drawn into your muscle tissue, away from other parts of your body, putting you at risk of dehydration.

It appears safe for adults to use creatine at the doses recommended by manufacturers. But there are no studies investigating the long-term benefits and risks of creatine supplementation.

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Some athletes use stimulants to stimulate the central nervous system and increase heart rate and blood pressure. Common stimulants include caffeine and amphetamines. Cold remedies often contain the stimulants ephedrine or pseudoephedrine hydrochloride. Energy drinks, which are popular among many athletes, often contain high doses of caffeine and other stimulants. The street drugs cocaine and methamphetamine also are stimulants. Although stimulants can boost physical performance and promote aggressiveness on the field, they have side effects that can impair athletic performance, including:.

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Do performance-enhancing drugs boost performance? Some athletes may appear to achieve physical gains from such drugs, but at what cost? The long-term effects of performance-enhancing drugs haven't been rigorously studied.

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And short-term benefits are tempered by many risks. Not to mention that doping is prohibited by most sports organizations. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. Any use of this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Make an appointment. Visit now. Explore now. Choose a degree. Get updates. Give today. Healthy Lifestyle Fitness. The term designer drug was coined in the mid- to late s when doctors, scientists, and law enforcement agencies noted that, over the past few decades, the number of people who were attempting to illegally synthesize mind-altering drugs in underground clandestine laboratories was increasing dramatically.

These basement chemists were taking the chemical structures of known legal drugs, such as the narcotic painkiller Demerol, and altering them slightly even by one or two atoms to produce closely related analogues molecules with very similar chemical structures. The idea behind this illegal synthesis was to create a designer drug that was hundreds or thousands of times more potent than the original legal drug. For a few hundred dollars in chemicals and lab supplies, drug makers and dealers could produce literally millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs.

Also, since the chemical structure of the drug had been altered slightly, it was still perfectly legal.

However, in the s, various analogues of the powerful stimulant amphetamine also started to emerge, most notably Ecstasy and methamphetamine. Since these drugs were largely used by teenagers and young adults at dance clubs, parties, and all-night raves, the term designer drugs was often replaced by the name club drugs. Today, the terms club drugs and designer drugs are often used interchangeably. The term designer drugs was a parody of the term designer jeans, according to J.

Morgan and his colleagues in their discussion about designer drugs in the book Substance Abuse A Comprehensive Textbook. During the s and s, Levi Strauss, Inc. Hoping that consumers would pay little attention to the difference, other clothing designers started to produce designer jeans that were cheaper imitations, or copycats, of the original Levi brand. Making designer drugs was legal for years, because at the time, U. Thus, a basement drug laboratory could synthesize huge amounts of a designer drug without getting into trouble with the law.

The same was true after the U. In , the U. In effect, this law classified drugs 9. The schedules are defined as follows: Schedule I The drug or other substance has 1 a high potential for abuse, 2 no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and 3 a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision. Examples: Ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, and the hallucinogens peyote, mescaline, psilocybin, and LSD. Schedule II The drug or other substance has 1 a high potential for abuse, 2 a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions, and 3 abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Examples: cocaine, PCP, morphine, fentanyl and meperidine, codeine, amphetamine and methamphetamine, Ritalin. Schedule III The drug or other substance has 1 a potential for abuse less than the drugs or other substances in Schedules I and II, 2 a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and 3 abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.

Examples: ketamine, anabolic steroids, some barbiturates. Schedule IV The drug or other substance has 1 a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III, 2 a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and 3 abuse of the drug or other substance. Examples: Valium, Xanax, some barbiturates. Schedule V The drug or other substance has 1 a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule IV, 2 a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and 3 abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule IV.

Example: codeine cough syrup. Schedule I drugs are the most highly restricted and tightly regulated, whereas Schedule V drugs are the least restricted. Note that, in some circumstances, some drugs can be classified under more than one schedule. For example, although morphine is a Schedule II drug, it is considered Schedule III if it comes in a concentration of less than 2 milligrams per milliliter of water.

During the s, it became evident that some designer drugs were more potent and dangerous than the original drugs they were designed to imitate, leading to many overdoses. Also, the drugs often contained impurities that made them extremely toxic. This law made it illegal to manufacture any drug that was substantially similar to the chemical structure of an already legal drug.

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Thus, simply replacing an atom or two in the chemical structure of a narcotic painkiller was no longer a legal way to create a drug that had similar effects to ones already made by pharmaceutical companies. By contrast, other well-known illegal drugs come from natural sources such as plants. For example, cocaine is made from the coca plant, heroin is made from the opium poppy, marijuana comes from the cannabis plant, nicotine comes from tobacco leaves, etc.

Thus, unlike illegal drugs that require significant interstate and international trafficking of the plant products for example, from South America, Europe, or the Middle East before it gets to the user, the route from designer drug maker to designer drug user could be as short as a few city blocks. For these reasons, they are often called psychoactive or psychedelic. Designer drugs produce their effects by altering the way nerve cells neurons in the brain communicate with each other Figure 1. Under normal circumstances, neurons carry electrical signals along wire-like nerve fibers called axons.

At the end of each axon is a mushroom-shaped nerve ending called a synaptic terminal. When the electrical signal from the axon reaches the synaptic terminal, it causes chemical messengers called neurotransmitters to be released and secreted onto nearby neurons. This junction between a synaptic terminal and a nearby neuron is called a synapse. There are literally trillions of synapses in the brain, and each neuron can have as many as , different synapses on it. After neurotransmitters are released, they diffuse away from the synaptic terminal into the synapse and encounter proteins called receptors on the nearby neurons that are designed to recognize specific neurotransmitters Figure 1.

These receptors can cause the nearby nerve cell. A typical neuron is shown here. Electrical impulses are received by the dendrites and transmitted to the next neuron via the axon. The myelin sheath insulates the axon and increases the speed at which electrical impulses can travel. Designer drugs, as well as other drugs like alcohol, cocaine, and heroin, produce their effects on the brain by altering the.

This image depicts serotonin transmission between neurons and the drug Ecstasy s effects on that transmission.

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Serotonin is normally removed from the synapse shortly after being released. Ecstasy blocks this mechanism, increasing the amount of serotonin in the synapse. This causes the postsynaptic neuron to be overstimulated by serotonin.