The instinct for man to compete against his peers dates back to the earliest times, and so does the temptation to gain a competitive advantage by unfair means. Today, this unfair advantage can come in many forms, but enhancing performance by chemical means is one of the most sophisticated and hardest to detect. With a responsibility to the public to ensure fair competition, as well as to maintain the health of the athletes themselves, authorities must use the highest performance cutting-edge technology for doping analysis to detect and enforce the principle of clean competition.
Stable isotope analysis provides a unique tool for determining whether an athlete has used performance enhancing drugs or if they simply benefit from a natural capacity for high performance. The World Anti-Doping Agency has declared that stable isotope analysis is a mandatory technique for doping analysis in sports, but similar principles can also be applied to the detection of steroid abuse in cattle.