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July 27, 1984

Ergogenic Aids in Sports

Author Affiliations

Ohio State University College of Medicine Columbus

JAMA. 1984;252(4):555. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350040077033

In the world of high-level sports, the stakes can be considerable: financial gain, international prestige, a successful career, or a national failure. In order to excel, the athlete must, of course, train hard and have selected the proper parents to be endowed with specific talents. Are there, in addition, any recently discovered activities or substances that can improve sports performance? This book addresses the question.

One of the factors that contributes to fatigue is the depletion of glycogen within muscle. By altering diet and exercise during the week before an important contest, muscle glycogen— and thus endurance—can be improved. However, such glycogen loading seems to be substantive only in races longer than 60 minutes. Breathing oxygen while running also helps, but who wants to carry a tank around?

Do anabolic steroids build stronger muscles? Athletes certainly think so, judging from the disqualifications at last summer's Pan-American Games. The author of