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Meet the next PED: Xenon

Feb 6, 2014, 1:27 PM EDT


From the Economist, a look at the bleeding edge of performance-enhancement: inhaling an oxygen-Xenon mixture. And it is quite literally the bleeding edge. As in: it helps in the production of red blood cells. And the best part: no needles!

The recommended dose is a 50:50 mixture of xenon and oxygen, inhaled for a few minutes, ideally before going to bed. The gas’s action, the manual states, continues for 48-72 hours, so repeating every few days is a good idea. And for last-minute jitters, a quick hit an hour before the starting gun can help.

That little bump gives athletes a whole host of benefits, including increased heart and lung capacity, preventing muscle fatigue, boosting testosterone and improving mood. Xenon has been shown to benefit mountain climbers, paddlers, soldiers and pilots in various studies.

And the best part: it’s not banned by WADA. It has been used by Russian athletes. Indeed, it is recommended by doctors and trainers advising them. And its use if probably increasing.

How soon before it’s being used by ballplayers? Heck, how many ballplayers are using it already?

(thanks to John M. for the heads up)


  1. Old Gator - Feb 6, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Yeah, and I bet his tortoise would have beaten Achilles flatfooted if Xenon had given him some of this stuff.

    • unclemosesgreen - Feb 7, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      This will probably fall on deaf ears to anyone without the necessary Thetan levels, but the word Xenon is derived from Xenu, and the substance is extracted from the vaporized remnants of the aliens that the former dictator of the Galactic Confederacy blew up on earth.

      Side effects include an unquenchable desire to undergo auditing and a desire to read 3rd rate science fiction that even Kilgore Trout wouldn’t spit on.

  2. bpoe13 - Feb 6, 2014 at 1:36 PM


    Stick around Craig for the Chocolate Rain,

  3. happytwinsfan - Feb 6, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    never mind the players. where can i get some?

    • Reflex - Feb 6, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      Sadly that was my first thought as well…

      • seeinred87 - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        That makes 3 of us

    • historiophiliac - Feb 6, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      Bunch of huffers around here.

  4. shawndc04 - Feb 6, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Umm, thanks but no thanks, Craig.

    Xenon is non-toxic, although it does dissolve in blood and belongs to a select group of substances that penetrate the blood–brain barrier, causing mild to full surgical anesthesia when inhaled in high concentrations with oxygen. . . .

    It is possible to safely breathe heavy gases such as xenon or sulfur hexafluoride when they are in a mixture with oxygen; the oxygen comprising at least 20% of the mixture. Xenon at 80% concentration along with 20% oxygen rapidly produces the unconsciousness of general anesthesia (and has been used for this, as discussed above).

    • shawndc04 - Feb 6, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      I should have attributed those statements to Wikipedia. Sorry.

      • alang3131982 - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        did you have a point?

  5. gosport474 - Feb 6, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Got some out in the trunk. 50 bucks a hit.

    T. Bosch

    • Old Gator - Feb 6, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      Give me five hits for me and my lawyers. Then please destroy this note.

      A. Roid

  6. raysfan1 - Feb 6, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Sounds like a noble effort. (Periodic table pun)

    • sethcohenplayedsomeball - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      Ironically many gassed metalling from the unions would be prevalent over such discoveries…isotope it all works out. Simpler times Argon for sure.

      • Old Gator - Feb 6, 2014 at 5:04 PM

  7. El Bravo - Feb 6, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Seems legit to me. Too legit to quit, actually.

  8. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Feb 6, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Unless this causes decreased penis size or back acne, or gigantic forehead syndrome I have no interest. How are we supposed to make obscene, farfetched, accusations without any proof, then deny said player whom we have a personal bias against, admission to whatever we decide is too important for jerk-faced cheaters to be a part of?

    • gloccamorra - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:30 PM

      I hear it gives you gas. Accuse away!

  9. spudchukar - Feb 6, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Strong as an O X.

  10. stex52 - Feb 6, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Sounds terrific. Where do I sign up? One concern though. The oxygen part can have corrosive effects at higher concentrations. I wonder if they have longer term studies of lung damage with this regimen?

    • raysfan1 - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      Too much oxygen long term can damage the lungs and even cause DNA mutations. I haven’t seen studies regarding Xe.

      • happytwinsfan - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:18 PM

        exactly. that’s why i still smoke.

      • raysfan1 - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:15 AM

        Oh, I can’t let that one go…

  11. nicofthenorthstar - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    In spite of my ambivalence about MLB in general, these comment boards are often the best. Shout out to shawdc, bonus points for crediting your source. A couple nice chemistry puns here too. Walter white would be proud.

  12. sethcohenplayedsomeball - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Could it help players get through the scorching Texas Summer…Is 2014 the year of
    Xenon Warrior Prince?

  13. 4d3fect - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    I can imagine something, I don’t know how or what yet, going horribly wrong here.

  14. tysonpunchinguterus - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    Xenon’s gotta be better than Iron Cerium Sulfur. I hear people often ingest that and die.

  15. holleywood9 - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    If it’s good for you. What makes it different than a protein shake or vitamins. Or better yet any pain killer that helps athletes play everyday. Or platelet spinning…the list continues to grow. But it’s fine with me if it’s legal and safe

    • stex52 - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:47 PM

      Doubt it’s safe. Like I said above, regular breathing of high oxygen concentrations has the potential to damage the lungs.

      • veistran - Feb 6, 2014 at 4:43 PM

        I’m not a Doctor or anything but I have a passing familiarity with the basics of Oxygen exposure. The primary danger is exposure to high partial pressures not high concentrations of Oxygen. Astronauts for instance have been operating in high concentration environments for years without issue because of the low partial pressure. Even exposure to high partial pressures can be managed medically for instance the table 6 treatment for Type I DCI starts with three alternating periods of 20 and 5 minutes on 100% and air at a pressure 2.8 atmospheres or ppO2’s of 2.8 and .588. Generally exposure to partial pressures below a 1.8 for a fit healthy adult at rest aren’t going to be problematic unless you’re talking chronic exposures which isn’t really what was being described in the article (using it once every 2-3 days for a “few minutes”). Someone just breathing off a constant flow mask or a nasal cannula isn’t going to be exposed to the kind of oxygen partial pressures that are particularly concerning e.g. a cannula of 100% will result in a therapeutic ppO2 of like .24 vs the .21 of air.

  16. Professor Fate - Feb 6, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    Now I know why Home Depot can’t keep those Xenon bulbs in stock in my hick neck of the woods.

  17. theeperspective - Feb 6, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    PEE’s: Performance Enhancing Elements. So we have noble gasses… what category does this fall under?

    • happytwinsfan - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:21 PM

      PED’s Posting Enhancing Drugs. i think i’ll get started.

  18. slaugin - Feb 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Sounds like this is a smoke screen…

  19. disgracedfury - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    Why should MLB worry about this,they got A-Rod and Bosch is set free with MLB money.The steroid era is over so who cares.

  20. canadatude - Feb 7, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    If this stuff works as claimed and ” improves mood ” then I need some for my wife.

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