The Effects of Steroids on Muscle Training



What are steroids? Steroids are synthetic chemicals that mimic the hormones produced by the body. Hormones control bodily functions and are separated into various classifications such as adrenal, cortical, cardiac, bile salts, vitamins, and sex hormones. Anabolic steroids that build muscle tissue are classified as sex hormones and they stimulate the action of the male sex hormone testosterone. When testosterone is released at the appropriate time it has the natural effects of creating body size, bone size, body hair, sex organ maturation, and muscle tissue development. They often have many different trade names or brand names. Commonly used anabolic steroids are Anavar, Sustanon, and Dianabol.
Anabolic steroids are prescription-only medicines. They are not controlled under the misuse of drugs act. It is not illegal to possess them for personal use. It is an offense to supply them. They can only be acquired from a chemist with a doctor\'s prescription. In addition, there is a large illicit market in anabolic steroids.
The primary use of anabolic-androgenic steroids is in replacement therapy for male testosterone. Other medical uses include growth promotion in certain forms of stunted growth, osteoporosis, mammary carcinoma, animas, and hereditary angioneurotic edema. The use of various physical and chemical aids in performance enhancement has been a feature of athletic competition since the beginning of recorded history. The ancient Greeks ate sesame seeds, bufotenin was used by the berserks in Norwegian mythology, and the Andean Indians and the Australian aborigines chewed, respectively, coca leaves and the pituri plant for stimulating and anti-fatiguing effects (Bowman, 1980).
Athletes have used anabolic steroids to enhance appearance and performance for years. The first ergogenic use of anabolic-androgenic steroids was reported back in the 1950\'s among weightlifters and bodybuilders. "Bowman reported that one-third of a sample of elite track and field athletes in Great Britain admitted to systematic anabolic-androgenic steroid use by 1972" (Bowman, 1980). "Silvester reported that 68% of a sample interviewed at the 1972 Olympic Games from 7 different countries, and who were competing in such diverse activities as throwing, jumping, vaulting, sprinting, and running up to 5000m, admitted to having used anabolic-androgenic steroids" (Bowman, 1980). Although it was actually suggested early in 1973 and stressed later, it is now evident that the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids is not limited to the elite athletes but has now trickled down to the amateur, professional, college, high school, and even junior high athletes. Due to the estimated prevalence of non-medical anabolic-androgenic steroid use and the implications for society and public health there were several scientific meetings set up. Moreover, a technical review at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 1989 was set up, and both federal and state investigations to reclassify anabolic-androgenic steroids as controlled substances despite arguments from the American Medical Association.
Patterns of anabolic-androgenic steroid use among athletes have been determined from several surveys. Hickson and Kurowski interviewed 24 weight-training athletes at a gymnasium in a metropolitan area of the southwestern United States. "The Subjects surveyed took a combined steroid dose of four to eight times the recommended medical dose, Used more than one anabolic-androgenic steroid at a time, which is known as stacking, and combined the use of intravenous and oral anabolic-androgenic steroids" (Hickson, 1986, p. 465). Although Hickson and Kurowski questioned a specific sample of anabolic-androgenic steroid users, they concluded that their subjects seemed to be representative of the type of athletes who used anabolic-androgenic steroids. Two other groups of people also conducted very similar surveys and found that their subjects were also taking well over the recommended medical dose.
In 1990 Baldoenzi and Giada conducted a survey and found that 110 out of 250 weightlifters he interviewed in several gymnasiums in the metropolitan Chicago area, many of, which had no intentions of being competitive, also used a variety of anabolic-androgenic steroids. 50 weightlifters were interviewed in detail, a majority had no competitive interests in weightlifting, bodybuilding, or any other athletic event just used the steroids because they wanted to. "Baldoenzi and Giada concluded that anabolic-androgenic steroid abuse had reached alarming proportions in noncompetitive athletes" (Baldoenzi, 1990, p. 205).
The Buckley survey in 1988 suggests that one-quarter to one-half million adolescents in the United States has used or is currently using anabolic-androgenic steroids. Anderson and Mckeag reporting on a nation-wide