Steroids are always portrayed as villains, but they are not always. To understand steroids, we have to look at its development to its present-day use and why it was cast as a villain in the medical field.
Anabolic steroids are not always harmful. It has been used by doctors to correct various conditions and defects. These drugs are openly sold on many websites like Steroids Canada. What made anabolic steroids bad is when it is abused by individuals who want to gain an unfair advantage over their competition, mostly in sports. Many bodybuilders and athletes turn to steroids to speed up the process.
Many critics have condemned steroids. But it is worth noting that those who suffered from its adverse side effects are people who abused its use. They have either used mega doses or use them against the doctor’s orders.
Those users have ignored the warning not to abuse the drug and adopt the right dosage. To date, there is no scientific evidence to prove that taking mega dosage or stacking steroids can cause significant side effects. All you get are warnings against overusing the steroids.
A Look Back at the Development of Steroids
Steroids came about when people understood the importance of testicles for the development and maintenance of male sexual characteristics. Berthold further developed this concept in his experiments on cockerels in 1849. The first attempt to produce steroids was in 1929 with an attempt to extract the substance from the testicle of a bull.
The purified form was first made in 1935, and it was further synthesized into testosterone a year later by Ruzicka, Butenandt, and Hanisch. This is the first anabolic steroid created and became the basis for all derivations used in medicine today.
The Nazi soldiers were rumored to have been given anabolic steroids for super strength, but this rumor is undocumented. More experiments further showed the role of anabolic substance, and in 1948 and 1954, Searle and Ciba started synthesizing a variety of testosterone derivatives and the same analogs.
Steroids and Sports
The use of steroids in sports can be traced back to 1954 when a doctor attending the World Weightlifting Championship in Vienna Austria got curious why the Soviet was dominating the event. He got a chance to talk to the Soviet’s team doctor and found out that athletes were using testosterone injections on their program. After that, the Americans started using pharmaceutical enhancements to beat the Soviets.
John Ziegler, the doctor who discovered the athlete’s secret, worked with CIBA, a large pharmaceutical company in the US, developed a strength-enhancing substance that is better than testosterone. It was Methandrostenolone or popularly known as Dianabol. It was used by weightlifters from the US and the rest who want to enhance their athletic performance. Another steroid was developed, and this time it was to treat the children who have Turner Disease Syndrome.
Drawn by the increasing demand for steroids in the States, Physicians began conducting studies to stem the tide of its demand. The results of these studies have forced the International Olympic Council to ban the use of anabolic steroids in sporting events.
Steroids Use in Medicine
Steroids were classified as prescription drugs before 1988 by the FDA. It gave restricted access to the steroids and can be purchased only through prescription. During this time, it is not classified as a controlled substance.
It became a controlled substance in the US with the passage of a law putting them in a whole new category that made it illegal to sell or possess them with the intent to distribute.
How does steroids work?
What we know most about steroids is that they allow muscles to grow faster, that they have side effects that are dangerous to our health, that most sports federations have banned them, and that they are illegal outside of a medical prescription.
But how do they work? Is it enough for an athlete to swallow a few pills and then wait to see the Popeye spinach effect appear? Let’s dive deeper into the science of steroids.
Anabolic steroids, or androgenic-anabolic steroids, are synthetic derivatives (made in the laboratory) of a naturally produced hormone: testosterone. They cause muscle growth (anabolic effect) and the male characteristics typical of puberty (androgenic effect).
When prescribed legally, it is for patients who produce abnormally low testosterone levels or who suffer from devastating bodily diseases such as cancer or AIDS. When used by athletes, their goal is to speed up the body’s natural muscle-building process.
When we lift heavier weights than usual, we create a tiny micro tear in the muscle fibres. The body’s natural repair process repairs this tear, then largely compensates for it by adding larger cells to build stronger fiber, this is called muscle hypertrophy. Over time, this repeated process of destruction and repair will result in muscle growth (bigger and stronger muscles).
Our body’s natural testosterone is the main ingredient in this process, but anabolic steroids can be used as supplements.
Once ingested, the androgenic-anabolic steroid travels through the blood to reach muscle tissue. It is received by cells thanks to their androgen receptors. Once in muscle cells, the steroid can interact with cell DNA and stimulate the process of protein synthesis that promotes muscle growth.
Beyond the mass
While media attention is limited to cyclists or enlarged athletes, anabolic steroids can also benefit jumpers or footballers who need to increase their speed of action by pulling on overused muscles. Heavy exercise also releases cortisol, known as the stress hormone, which destroys muscle tissue and causes muscle aches.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids can block cortisol by preventing it from binding to cellular muscle receptors, which decreases the process of destruction. Less muscle “breakage” means less muscle fatigue, which allows you to recover more quickly between two actions or sports meetings.
Currently, the use of steroids is not declining. Its demand is due to the increase in its use among weightlifters and bodybuilders. On top of that, the use of anabolic steroids for medical purposes continues. It is used to treat burn victims, improve quality of life among Aids patients, fighting breast cancer, and osteoporosis.
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