Beneficial effects of erythropoietin

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I found this article titled: Beneficial effects of erythropoietin on haematological parameters, aerobic capacity, and body fluid composition in patients on haemodialysis.

To be certain, haemodialysis is serious business. Not fun at all. These were some sick people.

But look at these numbers:

Eleven patients on haemodialysis were treated with erythropoietin (EPO), 50-200 U kg-1 once to three times a week, for up to 1 year. After outset of EPO all patients became transfusion-independent.

Peak oxygen consumption (Vo2 peak), oxygen pulse, oxygen uptake at anaerobic threshold (AT) and total work output (W max) increased 19%, 36%, 26% and 24%, respectively. Lean body mass (LBM) increased by 8%. Taken together, all clinical EPO effects measured appeared clinically favourable.


The average net positive increase was an insane 26.25%.

I don’t know how much of that studies findings one can safely extrapolate to fit athletes. But even if it was half the benefit, say a 13% increase, you’re making a thoroughbred out of a donkey.

Or, you’re making something all together different out of mere human.

Every wonder where those superhuman efforts came from?

Now you know where. You know how. We all know.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

12 Replies to “Beneficial effects of erythropoietin”

  1. no wonder Lemond got shelled off the back when EPO showed up
    from Tour Winner to donkey, all in 1-2 years

    Gee, with EPO, I could raise my sustained watts to about 350! That would make me, a sport class rider, Tour Eligible!

    Pass the syringe!

  2. I read somewhere that doctors are no longer advertising it to patients in actual need of EPO. Is that true?

  3. No doubt EPO is a significant advantage. Even a 3% increase in performance is huge when you are at the top of the sport. In a 60 minute TT, that is about a 1:45 advantage.

    It is a little dubious to extrapolate off of a study done on sick people. There was a Norwegian study a few years back of sub-elite athletes (cross-country skiers, I think) who got on an EPO program supervised by the study’s doctors. I can’t find any references in a quick search on the net, but I recall that the performance increases varied 3-8%, depending on the individual’s response to the drug. Maybe someone can come up with a reference…

  4. And to think, Al Troutwig and Versus (nee Only Lance Network) will never dare to mention that its kinda odd that the “clean” Armstrong was able to beat the doped up mules like Ulrich and Basso who had a potential advantage of 26%.

  5. Where do I sign up? AShit a 25% increase for me would mean I could ride (does math in head…) 5km more on my rides… That would be AWESOME.

    seriously, Im a fat pig.

  6. There’s a study out there by Michael Ashenden et al. (guys who developed the HBT test that nabbed Hamilton) that studied the effects of EPO on fit (~cat 1-2 if memory serves) cyclists. The dosages were comparatively low to what people took in the 90’s (if two makes me this fast, I wonder what four will do??). Effects were immediate and obvious: ~5% gain in VO2max and power output across the board, 5-8 pts in haematocrit. This is from one cycle and the study was designed specifically not to include the training effect. Pretty insane. These benefits came after as little as 4 weeks from the beginning of the first course and lasted another 3 or so if memory serves.

    So yeah, take guys in the 90’s where there’s documented evidence of people like Chiapucci and Pantani throwng down HCT’s in the 60’s and 70’s and you can draw a couple conclusions: Indurain’s legitimacy has to be questioned, particularly in ’93-’95. A clean rider was probably incapable of winning any race longer than 1 day or in the first couple days of a stage race, that is, if there were any clean riders – highly doubtful but I suppose there’s always a few. Bassons maybe.

    Anyway – fucking mess. Here’s to a public and painful blood letting for the sport and a more believable future before the onset of gene therapy flushes us for good.

  7. I am a nephrologists (doctor who deals with dialysis) and prescribe epo everyday to dialysis patients. Without epo they are all seriously anaemic and so benefit enormously from the epo which brings the haemoglobin (Hb) up towards normal levels increasing their exercise tolerance. However there are several large studies that suggest that correcting the Hb to the high end of the normal range actually increases mortality with no benefit to patient’s wellbeing…..
    Atheletes use epo to increase the haematocrit (the proportion of red cells to plasma) to much higher levels than we would ever do with our patients and I would therefore have serious concerns about the health risks of such epo abuse.

  8. Hey Foggy,

    Do you think there are any health issues specific to epo use that will show up later in life in atheletes that have extensively used epo during their careers? Be kind of interesting to see what happens if there are….

  9. a level playing field? whynot? so what if they dope? baseball, football, swimming, tennis/Agassi?, golf?!?,.. Its not like Indurain/Ulrich didn’t or even Greg. Hey most all did something as I remember from Ghent in ’80. Ask your dad, b. wiggins?
    NO other sport demands what cycling does. Full stop. If one can win without, fine. You are the better/healthier winner and that is a choice. But don’t get all pissant, moral, or abandon the sport. Educate folks how hard the sport is that it “require(d)” enhancement. Heck, only NASCAR has a longer season. ;)