Every fifth Swede between the ages of 18 and 34 state that they know or have seen someone use doping. In addition, every fifth person would continue to take supplements even if they knew it contained doping. This is evidenced by a national survey conducted by Sifo on behalf of Professor Arne Ljungqvist Anti-Doping Foundation / Pure For Sure.

Despite the high use of dietary supplements, the study shows that four out of ten  to a very low extent or not at all know that supplements may contain doping without it being listed on the table of contents. – The dietary supplement market has sales of approximately SEK 5 billion per year in Sweden. Despite the high sales, it is a poorly controlled market and no product registration or permit is needed. In addition, dietary supplements are not systematically reviewed by an authority, says Christian Lidén, CEO of Pure For Sure.

Protein powder is the most common supplement
The survey  includes supplements such as weight loss-, protein powders and pre-workout products. The results show that protein powder is most common, with more than one in four people indicating that they have taken protein powder during the past year. Primarily, men use protein powder and 14 percent use protein powder at least once a week. In addition, more men than women think it is important to look physically strong. – Many people use supplements as a shortcut to a good looking body. But the fact is that most people do not need to eat supplements,  a balanced diet is enough. And if you are unsure if you need to take supplements, you can go to a doctor and have this confirmed or demented, says Christina Lidén.

Women are more affected by social media
The survey also shows that the main reason for taking supplements is that it is accessible and easy as well as the goal to become more muscular. The latter alternative is most common among men and especially among men who use supplements at least once a week. Unlike men, three times more women use supplements to get leaner. The survey also shows that women are negatively affected by social media to a greater extent than men. The majority of these have also stated that they are dissatisfied with their appearance.

Clear connection to gym training
From the results of the study, one can see a clear link between doping, dietary supplements and exercise. In an interview with Daniel Hellgren, former user of doping drugs, he says that the reason he started using doping was to do with his interest in training. – I started training at the gym at the age of 14 and I already then looked up to bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and that’s why I started training at the gym. Everyone I looked up to took at least some kind of doping drug. So at the age of 20-21, I reasoned that if all my idols were taking something, why wouldn’t I take something too, says Daniel in an interview with Pure For Sure.

Doping causes all muscles to grow – including the heart
Daniel stopped using doping because of the serious side effects he got. There are a number of different side effects and everyone can suffer differently. Daniel’s girlfriend thought he was more easily irritated. But the most unpleasant side effect according to Daniel is how the heart is affected by doping.
– The heart is a muscle, it is different from other muscles, but it is a muscle and it is proven that the left ventricle grows larger when you use doping. The bigger and longer cures you take, the greater the risk of your heart taking damage. You might not think that anabolic steroids are a drug that you have to keep taking to keep the physics you have built up, and the longer you hold on, the more damage you do to your heart. I think that’s scary. Ask yourself the question: Why start with something you won’t want to continue doing forever, says Daniel.

The foundation and Pure For Sure hope that the government will take its responsibility in the discussion on fitness doping and include it as part of the new Swedish anti-doping organization. This would benefit the overall fight against doping both within sports as well as the recreational use.