Technische Universität München

The Entrepreneurial University

 
Doping-triggered disorders in electrolyte homeostasis are concomitantly linked to renal function. It is well known that kidneys regulate the amount of water, sodium, potassium and other electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes are the chemicals dissolved in the body fluid. Their distribution has important consequences for the ultimate balance of fluids.

Diuretics are justifiably considered as the major category of banned drugs in sports, which is mostly linked to disturbed electrolyte metabolism.

Oral or parenteral abuse of glucocorticoids may also lead to electrolyte disorders. It is reported that the administration of prednisone (5 to 2000 mg/d) is a significant risk factor for hypokalemic events in various patients. However, these findings are not yet confirmed in athletes abusing glucocorticoids for doping.

Nevertheless, anabolic agents also influence electrolyte concentrations. Anabolic androgenic steroids use may lead to increased levels of potassium, sodium, calcium and phosphate, which can ultimately result in atrial and ventricular fibrillation.

Additionally, sodium’s levels are frequently found increased in athletes mainly due to supplements’ abuse. Indeed, numerous athletes take sodium bicarbonate or sodium citrate in an attempt to enhance their athletic performance, especially, in activities of high intensity involving large muscular groups (e.g. 400 m running). However, elevated sodium levels may lead to gastrointestinal disturbances and they are often accompanied by diarrhea especially for sodium bicarbonate supplement.
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