Anabolic Steroids Compare and Constrast Essay

This essay has a total of 966 words and 6 pages.

Anabolic Steroids

Since ancient history, many athletes have resorted to performance enhancing aids to give
them an edge on their opponents. Greek Olympians used strychnine and hallucinogenic
mushrooms to psych up for an event. "In 1886 a French cyclist was the first athlete to die
from using a performance enhancer, called speedballs, a mixture of cocaine and heroin. In
the 1920's, physicians inserted slices of monkey testicles into male athletes to help
boost vitality. In the 1930's Aldof Hitler allegedly administered the hormone testosterone
to himself and his troops to increase aggressiveness" (Schrof, 54). Athletes had already
begun using the male hormone testosterone to boost performance by the 1940's. The first
synthetic anabolic steroid was developed in 1953, having a strength building effect five
times stronger than the natural hormone testosterone. Not since the development of the
anabolic steroid has any performance enhancer been so effective and so desired by
athletes. Today, black market sales of anabolic steroids are topping $400 million per
year. One million Americans, half of them adolescents, use black market steroids (Schrof,

Anabolic steroids are synthetic compounds that resemble the natural male sex hormone
testosterone. Male hormones have two different effects in the body. Hormones have an
anabolic effect, which stimulates growth, and they have an androgenic effect, which
increases male sexual characteristics. Anabolic steroids are constructed synthetically to
maximize the anabolic (growth) effect and minimize the androgenic (male characteristic)
effect. Steroids are molecules that occur naturally in the body and are carried in the
bloodstream and act as messengers. The most important of these messages tell the body to
increase creatine phosphate synthesis and to increase protein synthesis (Schwarzenegger,
722). These messages are delivered at various ratios depending upon the type of steroid.

Creatine phosphate and protein synthesis are the two most important reactions that occur
when training. Creatine phosphate is a short-term energy restorer which allows you to
contract your muscles for more than just a few seconds. The more CP available, the more
muscular work you can do, thus the harder you can train and the more muscle you will
build. This, along with the need for protein synthesis, is the reason for the attraction
to steroids.

There are hundreds of forms of steroids that have been synthesized, each

one having differing levels of anabolic and androgenic effects. Some steroids are used to
treat illness and injury. Corticosteroids are one of the most successful forms that have
been synthesized. They are used to treat everything from tendon injuries to vision
problems. There are many other forms of steroids that were synthesized for their strength
and muscle building properties. Steroids can be taken orally of by an injection.

Oral steroids have many drawbacks. Oral steroids, are constructed to have short life spans
and are broken down all at once. Because of this, oral steroids put a tremendous strain on
the liver. For example, if a user takes 200 mg of an oral steroid, the liver must destroy
the entire 200 mg in one day (Schwarzenegger, 724). Taking oral steroids may also lead to
blood sugar problems. Injectable steroids are chemically constructed to have longer life
spans. 200 mg of an injectable is constructed to last 17 days, meaning that the body will
breakdown only 12 mg per day, which is much easier on the body (Schwarzenegger, 724).
Injectable steroids bypass the liver and go directly into the bloodstream, and therefore,
they are faster acting. Another drawback to taking steroids by injection, many users
complain, is that it must be administered with huge syringes. The user must insert the
needle 1.5 to 2 inches into the muscle of the thigh or buttocks. The deeper the depth of
the needle, the less of the steroid that leaks through the

skin. "Sometimes one of the guys will inject in one side of his butt one day and the other
the next. Then, we all laugh at him because he can barely sit down for he next three
days," said a 19 year old teenager from Arizona (Schrof, 57).

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