Performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) are substances taken by people with the intention of changing their physical appearance and to enhance their sporting performance.
Anabolic steroids – ‘roids, gear, juice Anabolic-androgenic steroids are synthetic hormones that imitate male sex hormones, specifically testosterone. They can be taken either as an injection or as a tablet. Steroids are used due to their anabolic effects that assist in the growth and repair of muscle tissue.
Growth hormones like AOD-9604, which has fat burning properties and is used by athletes to increase power-to-weight ratios
Selective Androgen Receptor Modules (SARMs) appear to only act on anabolic receptors that cause tissue (such as bone and muscle) growth. These are classed as a prohibited drug by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1) is a hormone produced by the liver, necessary for cell growth in the body. It is used for muscle growth and the development of cartilage and bone. This substance is a prohibited substance according to the WADA list.
Mechano growth factor (MGF) is derived from IGF-1 and helps with tissue repair and adaptation. It is used mostly by bodybuilders and is on the WADA prohibited list.
For most people who use PIEDs, body image is the main motivation for use. Due to desirable effects on physique, and improved self-esteem and confidence, people who use these drugs can develop a psychological dependence.
However, for professional athletes it is the advantage in physical strength and size that is the main reason for use.
The expected benefits of using these substances may include:
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries risk.
The effects of taking PIEDs with other drugs including over-the-counter or prescribed medications can be unpredictable and dangerous.