Spectacular sport performances often coexisted with equally sensational doping cases. One of the most common and popular enhancing substances was the Ephedra-based diet pill. Many sportsmen were publicly shamed, banned from their sport and left the competitive scene.Why should athletes stay away from Ephedra pill?Ephedrine, either as a dietary supplement, or as the Ephedra weight-loss pill, is a banned substance. Any athlete who fails the Ephedrine doping test is forever discredited. Here are the reasons why the Ephedra-based diet pill is condemned in the sports world: * Ephedrine causes a dramatic increase in the activity of the central nervous system. * The Ephedra energy pill has a significant stimulatory effect on cells. The athlete’s metabolism is stimulated, as more free fatty acids are produced from the breakdown of triglycerides in the adipose tissue. This is a very positive effect. * The Ephedra pill improves the force of skeletal muscle contractions with a powerful effect on performance. It is commonly taken immediately before a competition. When administered at a certain dosage (Ephedra minimum: 25 to a maximum of 50 mg) and only for a few weeks, it has real benefits. It should not be taken at higher doses or for longer periods.A primary symptom of Ephedrine is a higher body temperature. After few weeks of using it, this symptom disappears and the athlete will know that the substance has lost its power. A break of 2-3 months is required before it can be taken again in training sessions (not competitions). Another combination containing Ephedra is the ECA stack: ephedrina, caffeine and aspirin. Ephedrine and caffeine behave as thermogenic agents. Aspirin inhibits lipogenesis by blocking the incorporation of acetate into fatty acids. Monitoring the body temperature is suggested.Those who use the Ephedra-based diet pill should always be aware of the unpleasant, and sometimes risky, side effects, such as: 1. tremor of hands 2. sweating 3. dizziness 4. rapid heartbeatsThe diet-energy Ephedra supplement is a strong and effective stimulant which induces high performance. Its properties make it a source of great temptation for athletes who long for great sports performances. The intentional use of Ephedrine is punished by international laws, called doping-control regulations. As a general rule, sportspersons are told to avoid any product claiming to be a: 1. “fatburner” or 2. “muscle building”.They are also advised to stay away from: 1. the black market (source of the so-called “street drugs”) and 2. unlabelled products.A review of international anti-doping effortsDoping may well have appeared at the same time as competitions themselves. The first Greek runners are said to have taken foreign substances in order to improve their performance during the games. Strychnine, caffeine, cocaine and alcohol have been used to enhance sports performance. The first worldwide efforts to stop doping were made in 1928. The International Amateur Athletic Federation banned the use of stimulant agents and anabolic substances such as ephedrine and amphetamine. Other federations reacted, but still no testing was imposed. Later, in 1966, the UCI (cycling) and FIFA (football) introduced doping tests in the World Championships. In 1967, the International Olympic Commmittee created a medical commission and made public a list of prohibited substances. Further drug tests were introduced at the Olympic Winter Games at Grenoble and at the Olympic Games in Mexico in 1968.Most international sports federations are committed to drug tests. The setting up of WADA in 1999 was crucial for the anti-doping international campaign. WADA sustains and promotes fundamental values in sport. Organizations and governments joined in the effort to eliminate drugs and stimulants. The year 2004 was considered essential in the anti-doping effort, since before the Athens Olympics, the WADA Code had been implemented worldwide. This Code is to ensure that for the first time in history, the rules and regulations governing anti-doping will be the same in all sports and all countries.Case studiesThe eccentric soccer player Diego Armando Maradona is just one of the many famous sportsmen who made a contribution to the history of the Ephedra pill. When tested after a match against Nigeria at the WorldCup 1994, Maradona was found positive to Ephedrine, not allowed by FIFA. As a consequence, he was suspended from playing soccer for more than a year. The vast majority of sportsmen who fail the anti-doping test are disgraced. Besides, they have to undergo severe tests and reviews in order to return to competitions.Each sport has its own doping control regulations applicable in any country. For instance, Doping Disqualifications and Public Warnings, according to USATF are as shown in tabel. USATF is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States.Substance PublicWarning Name Event EventDate PlaceDisqualification SteroidsNikethamide 8/11/04 Torri Edwards 2004 Meeting IAAF du Conseil General2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – T&F4/24/047/9-18/041st place 100m, 200m2nd place 100m, 3rd place 200mTetrahydrogestrinone 7/17/04 Regina Jacobs 2003 USA Outdoor T&F Championships 6/21/03 1st place 1500mTetrahydrocannabinol 7/9/04 Tim Rusan 2004 IAAF Grande Premio Rio de Atletismo 5/16/04 2nd place triple jumpTetrahydrogestrinone 5/4/04 Kevin Toth 2003 IAAF World Championships 8/23/03 4th place shot putTetrahydrogestrinone 5/4/04 Kevin Toth 2003 USA Outdoor T&F Championships 6/21/03 1st place shot putTetrahydrogestrinone 4/29/04 John McEwen 2003 USA Outdoor T&F Championships 6/20/03 2nd place hammer throwTetrahydrogestrinone 4/29/04 Melissa Price 2003 USA Outdoor T&F Championships 6/19/03 1st place hammer throw19-Norandrosterone and19-Noreticholanolone 11/4/03 Damu Cherry Out-of-Competition 2/18/03 Competitive results from 2/18/03 – 11/24/03Nandrolene and T/E 7/2/03 Andrew Eggerth 2003 Knights of Columbus Indoor Games, Saskatoon, Canada 2/9/03 5th place 200m, 6th place hurdlesMethandieone 9/11/02 Marcus Clavelle 2002 U.S. Open 6/8/02 3rd place shot putT/E and Hydroxy-androstendione 3/12/03 Desiree Owen 2002 Conoco 10 km Rodeo Run 1/2/02 1st place 10 kmMethandieone 5/3/02 Scott Hennig Out-of-competition 11/28/01 Competitive results from 11/28/01 – 5/2/02T/E 2/28/02 Jake Jensen 2001 Gugal Meeting, Linz, Austria 8/20/01 3rd place 200mStanozolol 12/7/01 Jeff Laynes 2001 International Lausitzer Meet 7/18/01 2nd place 100mStanozolol 12/7/01 Jeff Laynes 2001 Reunion International Meet 7/14/01 1st place 200mNorandrosterone 6/12/01 Tony Dees 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix USA Indoor T&F Championships 3/3/01 2nd place 60m hurdlesNorandrosterone/Noretiochdandone 9/17/01 Tony Dees 2001 Norwich Union Indoor Grand Prix, Birmingham, Great Britain 2/18/01 3rd place 60m hurdlesNandrolone 6/28/04 Jerome Young 1999 USA Outdoor T&F Championships 6/26/99 Competitive results from 6/26/99 – 6/25/01 AmphetaminesMethylpenidate 12/12/03 Rachel Walker 2003 USA Junior Outdoor T&F Championships 6/21/03 1st place javelin throwAmphetamine 12/9/03 Chase Shealy 2003 USA Junior Outdoor T&F Championships 6/21/03 2nd place pole vaultAmphetamine 1/15/03 Emily Carlsten 2002 Penn Relays 4/26/02 1st place javelin throwAmphetamine 5/14/02 Justin Gatlin 2001 Junior National Championships 6/16-17/01 1st place – 100m, 200m, and 110m hurdlesMethylphenidate 9/18/01 Antoinette Wilks 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix USA Indoor T&F Championships 3/3/01 4th place long jump StimulantsModafinil Acide 7/26/04 Calvin Harrison 2003 USA Outdoor T&F Championships 6/21/03 2nd place 400mModafinil Acide 4/20/04 Christopher Phillips 2003 IAAF World Championships 8/30/03 5th place 110m hurdlesModafinil Acide 5/19/04 Kelli White 2003 IAAF World Championships2003 USA Outdoor T&F Championships8/24/03 1st place 100m, 200m1st place 100m, 200mAll events from 12/15/00 – 5/19/04Modafinil Acide 4/20/04 Eric Thomas 2003 USA Outdoor T&F Championships 6/22/03 1st place 400m hurdlesModafinil Acide 4/20/04 Sandra Glover 2003 USA Outdoor T&F Championships 6/21/03 3rd place 400m hurdlesModafinil Acide 4/20/04 Chryste Gaines 2003 USA Outdoor T&F Championships 6/21/03 5th place 100mEphedrine 1/13/04 Mickey Grimes 2003 Pan American Games 8/6/03 1st place 100mEphedrine 10/11/02 Crystal Cox 2002 NACAC Under 25 Championships 8/11/02 1st place 200mEphedrine 12/10/02 Leon Settle 2002 Cezmi Athletics Championships 6/8/02 1st place 300mPseudoephedrine 7/30/02 James Hamilton 2002 Pittsburg Marathon 5/5/02 10th placePseudoephedrine 6/14/02 Louis Bordes 2002 Penn Relays 4/25/02 4th place 10,000mEphedrine 3/15/02 Joyce Bates 2002 Boston Indoor Games 1/27/02 2nd place 60m hurdlesEphedrine 7/30/01 Bobby Smith 2001 Junior National Championships 6/17/01 1st place javelin throwEphedrine 5/14/01 Robert Howard 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix USA Indoor T&F Championships 3/3/01 2nd place triple jumpPseudoephedrine 5/10/01 Hazel Clark 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix USA Indoor T&F Championships 3/3/01 2nd place 800m CannabinoidsCannabis (THC Metabolites) 9/21/2004 John Capel 2004 Team Challenge Cup – Munich, Germany 8/4/04 2nd place 100m2nd place part of 4x100m U.S. “B” RelayCannabis (THC Metabolites) 9/9/2004 Bernard Williams 2004 Meeting de Atletismo Sevilla 6/5/04 2nd place 200m