Pharmacology and Sport in Soviet Union

Medicine tried to enhance public health mainly by treating disease. However, this method does not create optimal physiological function. Soviet scientists were among the first to clearly realize that optimal health and the treatment of illness are often distinct processes. Though the goals were closely interlinked, the strategy, tactics and "technology" of successfully reaching both targets presupposed two different scientific solutions and two separate systems to be implemented in practice. In the athlete, optimal health was associated with optimal performance.

The new methodology of health promotion (as opposed to treatment of disease) favored the principles of the structure-dose-effect, individualization, periodization and systemic patterns in selecting pharmacological means of promoting health and performance in athletes. Moreover, the methodology involved providing athletes with complexes of pharmacological agents, rather than administering them separately.

The complexes were formulated with concern of the specific biological effect of the individual components on various systems of the athlete's organism (systemic approach). Consequently, complexes of medicines with versatile physiological effects have been developed, including adaptogens, nootropes, psychostimulants, anabolics, anticatabolics, immunomodulators, cardiovascular protectors, hepatoprotectants (liver guards), muscle protectants, recuperants. As the number of the consumed medicines sometimes exceeded 25, a special step-wise time scheduled mode of supplementation was elaborated when designing individual plans of pharmacosanation for athletes such factors as:

•. Individual athletic goals for the period;

• Individual training plans

• Results of biomedical laboratory exams.

It was common practice for Eastern Bloc athletes to be tested regularly using blood, urine and tissue analysis to determine health potentials and training condition. The goals of these tests were primarily to enhance the athletes' health and keep them in an anabolic state. By knowing the status of the organism, the coach could fine-tune the training program to maximize gains. This procedure greatly reduced the chance of illness, overtraining, or psychological distress.

The success of sports pharmacosanation is due to a large extent to the achievements of sports biochemistry. Modern methods of analytical biochemistry allow scientist to carry out precise monitoring of biochemical changes within physiological range. Timely correction of the biochemical changes occurring in the athlete under strain training is the principle requirement of special pharmacosanation.