Blog: Healthy kidneys promote the very best performance

6 June 2012

Your kidneys play a vital role in maintaining your overall health, specifically they help regulate blood pressure and remove waste from the body. If you are an athlete you need to be in peak condition during training and competition, and it is important to understand performance-enhancing drugs can compromise your health over the long term.

A number of doping substances have been shown to have detrimental effects on kidneys. Anabolic steroids, stimulants, diuretics, and insulin may damage the kidneys and other critical organs.

The use of anabolic steroids and stimulants may cause high blood pressure, forcing the heart to work harder, which damages blood vessels in the kidneys. This kidney damage prevents the healthy excretion of toxic wastes or extra fluid from the body. Scientific research has also suggested an association between anabolic steroid use and renal tumours.

Diuretics, if taken regularly, can cause irreparable kidney damage due to dehydration. Powerful diuretics can increase the excretion flow rates and may result in a loss of kidney filtering capabilities.

Similarly, an overdose of insulin can lead to low blood sugar levels, resulting in heart palpitations, restlessness, trembling and perspiration. Acute low blood sugar may decrease blood flow to the kidneys, interfering with their function.   

As you can see, the use of doping substances can put enormous strain on your kidneys and potentially cause long-term and serious health consequences.

Indeed, athletes need to know that using performance enhancing drugs can not only ruin your sporting career, they can ultimately ruin your health.