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Doping substances

On this page we have collected information on different doping substances. You can browse the content below and read more about each doping substance.


The potency of amphetamine for improving performance has been researched already since the 1950s. Amphetamine has been found to enhance anaerobic performance, but it has little or no effect on aerobic performance.

Anabolic steroids and testosterone

Testosterone is the body’s most important androgen, or the so-called male hormone. Anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of testosterone.

Aromatase inhibitors

Aromatase inhibitors can be classified as substances known as anti-estrogens. Because testosterone and anabolic steroids are aromatized into estrogens, consequent gynecomastia (breast enlargement) may occur in men, as well as low gonadotrophin and testosterone levels. Users seek to prevent these changes with aromatase inhibitors.

Brain doping

Brain doping with nootropics (“smart drugs”) refers to the use of pharmaceuticals by healthy people with the aim of improving concentration, alertness, attention, memory, learning or mood, among other things. 


Clenbuterol belongs to the so-called beta-2-agonists. Several beta-2-antagonists—and clenbuterol in particular—have a minor anabolic (i.e. tissue growth-stimulating) effect. They increase the protein content of striated muscles as the muscle glycogen and body fat burn. That is why clenbuterol is one of the most common substances used for growing muscle mass

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

DHEA doping is often related to its testosterone boosting effect and it is classified as an anabolic substance. In practice, the testosterone increasing and performance capacity enhancing effect is quite low, however.

Dinitrophenol (DNP)

DNP was used in the USA as a diet pill until 1938 when its toxic effects were detected and its use was banned. In the USA, the authorities have had to intervene from time to time in cases of DNP use at weight loss clinics or DNP-induced patient deaths.


Diuretics remove water and salts from the body; therefore, they are used for losing weight in competitive sports involving weight categories.


The effect of ephedrine could be compared with long-lasting adrenaline. In the field of competitive sports, ephedrine is used as a doping substance to improve exercise tolerance and, in the case of long-lasting performances, to prevent fatigue.

Growth hormone

The growth hormone (somatropin, somatotropin, or HGH) is the body’s peptide hormone, secreted from the anterior pituitary gland. The growth hormone is used for its anabolic effects. It is thought to increase muscle mass and strength, to help the body adjust to heavy physical exertion, and to accelerate the healing of injuries.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)

Its structure and effects resemble the luteinizing hormone (LH) that is secreted from the pituitary gland. Through HCG, people who use anabolic steroids aim to prevent the hormone recession induced by a round of steroids and to restart their body’s testosterone production.


Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas and composed of two peptide chains. It regulates the sugar metabolism in the body. Insulin is used for doping purposes especially after resistance training to enhance the PI3K/Akt signalling pathway because insulin sensitivity is increased after training.

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and long chain IGF (Ir3igf-1)

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1, hIGF-1, or somatomedin C) is a polypeptide hormone occurring in the body, composed of 70 amino acids. It mediates a number of the anabolic (i.e. tissue growth-stimulating) effects of the growth hormone.

Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH)

Melanotan I and melanotan II, which are also referred to as “Barbie drugs”, are examples of synthetic forms that simulate the body’s MSH. These substances come as either injections or nasal sprays and they are often used to obtain a tan.


Modafinil is a stimulant, meaning that it stimulates and accelerates body functions. Modafinil is also used to improve cognitive performance capacity (i.e. the so-called brain doping).

Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARM)

Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) are new kinds of experimental anabolic compounds still in their experimental stage. In comparison with conventional anabolic steroids, they accelerate muscle growth possibly with less adverse effects. The safety assessment of SARMs is still in the early stages.

Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM)

Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) are chemical compounds, which resemble estrogens, but which are not steroids. SERM users aim to prevent or reduce gynecomastia and to increase the body’s testosterone levels.

Thyroid hormones

Thyroid hormone use has been reported, for instance, among competitive and amateur bodybuilders. The hormone use aims to shape the body composition by accelerating the metabolism and burning body fat.