Anabolic Steroids


The History of Steroids


During the 1930’s scientists discovered that Anabolic Steroids could facilitate the growth of muscle (skeletal) in laboratory animals. This discovery paved the way for steroids to be introduced for human use. Throughout the following decade the trend of steroids became more pronounced, the first documented use of anabolic steroids dates back to World War 2; it is believed Hitler’s German soldiers were administered steroids to increase their confidence and aggression giving them more determination to fight for their country. In 1955 steroids were introduced to the sporting industry, athletes used steroids to enhance their sporting ability’s especially in hard impact sports (weightlifting & football). As the years passed more sportsmen from a range of sports (cycling, athletics, and tennis) began to incorporate steroids into their daily regimes. A crack down by the international Olympic Committee which incorporated a blood test was introduced, guidelines and rules were established stating any athlete caught taking drugs would be disqualified and possibly banned from future competitions.


Why are Steroids used In the Sporting Industry?


Steroid abuse is rift in the sporting industry due to the constant demands on the athletes to perform at such high standards. There is a continuous intake of fresh young multitalented athletes integrated into all sports, with aspirations to become the world’s number one in their chosen areas. With the pressure instilled on the experienced sportsmen, their only option is to push themselves to the limit. The majority of these veteran athletes stay focused and improve on their techniques through extreme training. A handful see the easy option and succumb to the temptation of steroids, with little thought to the consequences.


Athletes Connected To Steroid Abuse


In some athletes cases the threat of blood tests and disqualification hasn’t deterred them. There have been many recorded cases, the most memorable of which occurred in 1988, the Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal which he had won at the Olympics at Seoul Korea. Johnson had tested positive for the drug Nandrolone. Another sprinter who tested positive for nandrolone was England’s own Linford Christie. Christie vehemently denied taking any substance and was later cleared in an inquiry. The most recent case recorded was in July 2003, the second highest ranked tennis player in Great Britain, Greg Rusedski tested positive for nandrolone after a routine drug test. Rusedski also claims he has never taken any enhancing drugs an inquiry has been launched, he still awaits the verdict.


Medical Uses for Steroids


Steroids are not completely harmful and can be used to combat illnesses. In 1964 corticle steroids were introduced throughout hospitals to treat a number of medical conditions:


Ø To build-up muscle tissue after strokes


Ø Gastrointestinal disorders


Ø Weight gain in low birth weight children


Ø Topical creams to combat eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis


What are Steroids?


Anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of testosterone (a natural male hormone which controls many functions in the body). The clinical name given for steroids is “Anabolic Androgenic Steroid”. Broken down the two separate components are responsible for:


Anabolic


This term refers to the promoting of Anabolism (building of tissues). This takes place through synthetic chemical reactions within the cell (metabolism), anabolism occurs when substances are taken from the blood (which are essential for growth & repair) and using them to stimulate cell reactions, this then produces the synthesis of tissues. The anabolic properties of steroids are the most sought after. For the anabolic part to work the androgenic component needs to be introduced


Androgenic


This term refers to a collection of testosterone’s, the function of testosterone is responsible for masculiniztion (body hair, deepening of the voice, sex drive). The androgenic component of steroids is responsible for the majority of side effects.


How are Steroids Administered?


Steroids can be administered in three different ways:


Ø Orally


Ø Intramuscular


Ø Topical preparations (cream & gel)


Athletes who use steroids are unlikely to use just one method. The most common technique is called “stacking”; stacking requires a combination of two or more steroidal methods i.e. (orally & intramuscular). This method is thought to produce a larger effect on muscle size and performance, this theory is just hearsay and has not been clinically proven. As steroids can cause severe side effects prolonged use should be avoided. Most athletes use steroids for an upcoming competition therefore need to use steroids at least six weeks prior to