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EPO What does it do? How does it work?


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  • EPO What does it do? How does it work?

    Just wondering how EPO worked or what it does. An older guy I work with has been given low doses of EPO because his blood is low on red blood cells. From what he said this is the last thing the doctor wanted to do. Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: EPO What does it do? How does it work?

    Erthyropoieten is a hormone produced by the kidney in response to low PO2 in the blood. This occurs when one travels to altitude for instance.

    The recombinant DNA technology allowed rhEPO to be made for cancer and kidney disease patients. Since rhEPO increases red cell mass, it was an obvious choice for endurance athletes seeking a banned advantage.

    Nothing wrong with giving to a person for health reasons. The doc might have wanted to try other treatments first. One thought is that the presence of rhEPO reduces the body's ability to produce it which may mean being on rhEPO for the rest of his life.


    • #3
      Re: EPO What does it do? How does it work?


      EPO is a hormone which accelerates the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. Red blood cells carry oxygen to working muscle. Make sure your friiend gets a ferritin test also. It is possible that a low RBC can result from high levels of oxidative stress in the muscle cells. Ferritin works also as an antioxidant and can be depleted in this scenario to serve a protective function. Anemia and a lower RBC could result in this scenario. Several nutritional factors also make RBCs more vulnerable to accelerated destruction. Email me ([email protected]) and I will send you some more infor on this aspect.

      EPO has been shown to raise the VO2max, though relatively few studies in elite athletes have really been done. It is important to know however that VO2max is not really a great predictor of performance. Raising the VO2 in and of itself is no assurance you'll be running any faster, especially if you are already at a high level of fitness. Aside fhe reported deaths in athletes using EPO, the hormone has also been show to accelerate the growth of tumors.