EPO is an abbreviation for erythropoietin.

EPO is a peptide hormone produced naturally in the body by the kidneys. The role of EPO is to stimulate the bone marrow to produce and release new red blood cells in the blood stream.

What is synthetic EPO or recombinant human EPO?

Synthetic EPO is a drug that is manufactured for the treatment of disease and should not be used by endurance athletes. The main use of administrating exogenous sources (not produced within the body) of EPO in humans is to treat patients suffering from anemia, especially those with kidney failure and those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. Side effects such as hypertension and blood clotting have been tied to synthetic EPO
use.

Why do some athletes use EPO?

Synthetic or recombinant EPO has become readily available and has come to be abused by a few athletes in the endurance sport community. If you increase the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood (red blood cells) above normal levels, then it follows that the muscles will receive more oxygen and be able to perform better and generate more power for longer periods of time, thereby significantly improving performance.

This is why some endurance athletes train at high altitudes or participate in the forbidden practice of “blood doping” as a means of boosting the number of red blood cells. Blood doping involves drawing blood from an athlete to induce anemia, waiting a few weeks to allow erythropoietin to restore the hematocrit to normal levels (~ 45% men, ~ 42% women), and then reinfusing the athlete’s stored blood thereby boosting the erythrocyte density.

Administration of synthetic EPO is capable of producing performance enhancing benefits comparable to blood doping and significantly better results than several weeks or months

of altitude training. An athlete may boost their hematocrit levels 3-4% within 4 weeks with synthetic EPO use. WADA and other athletic governing bodies have banned blood doping and synthetic EPO use, as they are essentially methods of cheating.

How do they test for EPO?

WADA has developed standards for testing athletes utilizing a urine test is shown to be able to tell when an athlete is using a synthetic EPO.

Is EPO-Boost a synthetic EPO?

No, EPO-BOOST™ is not synthetic EPO. All EPO BOOST™ ingredients are in compliance with WADA, UCI, IOC, and NCAA. WADA 2012 list.
The ingredients in EPO BOOST™ have been shown in clinical studies to increase EPO levels resulting in dramatic gains in VO2max and running economy in athletes.

Increasing red blood cell levels in the body can result in increases in hematocrit, the percentage of blood volume composed of red blood cells. There are oxygen sensitive cells in the kidney that are able to determine the concentration of oxygen in the blood. When oxygen levels are low the kidney releases more EPO into the blood stream.

To give you a better picture of how EPO production works, think about going to high altitude, for example, a mountain at high elevation. At high altitude, the amount of oxygen available to your body decreases. Your kidney cells detect this decrease in oxygen and release EPO into the bloodstream to stimulate the production of more red blood cells. Your red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. With the addition of new red blood cells and hemoglobin your body can now carry more oxygen (i.e. increased oxygen carrying capacity). This process is the basic principle used in high altitude training in endurance athletes.