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Steroids & Athletes

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  • Pages: 21
  • Word count: 5238
  • Category: Steroids

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According¬† to¬† the¬† Medical¬† Dictionary¬† of¬† Medicinenet.com¬† steroids¬† are¬† defined¬† as¬† ‚ÄúA¬† general¬† class¬† of¬† chemical¬† substances¬† that¬† are¬† structurally¬† related¬† to¬† one¬† another¬† and¬† share¬† the¬† same¬† chemical¬† skeleton¬† (a¬† tetracyclic¬† cyclopenta[a]phenanthrene¬† skeleton).‚ÄĚ[1]

Encyclopedia¬† Britannica¬† Online¬† defines¬† them¬† as¬† ‚ÄúAny¬† of¬† a¬† class¬† of¬† natural¬† or¬† synthetic¬† organic¬† chemical¬† compounds¬† characterized¬† by¬† a¬† molecular¬† structure¬† of¬† 17¬† carbon¬† atoms¬† arranged¬† in¬† four¬† rings.¬† In¬† the¬† parent¬† structure¬† (named¬† gonane¬† and¬† referred¬† to¬† as¬† the¬† steroid¬† nucleus),¬† the¬† carbon¬† atoms¬† are¬† bonded¬† to¬† 28¬† hydrogen¬† atoms.‚ÄĚ[2]

Another¬† definition¬† is¬† provided¬† by¬† the¬† Science¬† and¬† Technology¬† Encyclopedia:¬† ‚ÄúAny¬† of¬† a¬† group¬† of¬† organic¬† compounds¬† belonging¬† to¬† the¬† general¬† class¬† of¬† biochemicals¬† called¬† lipids,¬† which¬† are¬† easily¬† soluble¬† in¬† organic¬† solvents¬† and¬† slightly¬† soluble¬† in ¬†water.‚ÄĚ[3]

Steroids  defined  above  are  organic  compounds  occurring  naturally  throughout  both  plant  and  animal  kingdoms.  They  are  fat  soluble  compounds  (lipid)  that  have  a  number  of  important  functional  roles.  Their  main  characteristic  is  the  carbon  skeleton  that  has  four  fused  rings.  The functional groups of steroids are attached to the four rings.  Numerous  distinct  steroids  have  been  identified  in  plants,  animals  and  fungi.  All  steroids  are  derived  from  sterols:  lanosterol  (animals  and  fungi)  or  the  sterol  cycloartenol  (plants).[i]

‚ÄúSteroids¬† are¬† quite¬† diverse¬† and¬† include¬† the¬† sterols¬† (such¬† as¬† cholesterol)¬† of¬† vertebrates,¬† bile¬† acids¬† from¬† the¬† liver,¬† all¬† sex¬† hormones,¬† adrenal¬† cortical¬† hormones¬† (corticosteroids),¬† toad¬† poisons,¬† and¬† products¬† of¬† the¬† digitalis¬† plant¬† used¬† to¬† treat¬† heart¬† disease.¬† Hormonal steroids are synthesized from cholesterol in the body.¬† The¬† biosynthetic¬† mechanisms¬† are¬† similar¬† in¬† all¬† steroid-secreting¬† tissue¬† (adrenal¬† cortex,¬† testis,¬† ovary,¬† and¬† placenta).‚ÄĚ[ii]

Hormonal  steroids  are  synthesized  from  cholesterol  in  the  body,  it  is  essential  to  investigate  what  hormones  are  before  introducing  the  topic  of  this  paper:  today’s  uses  of  steroids.

Hormones  are  chemical  messengers  that  go  from  one  cell  or  cellular  group  to  another.  Although  hormones  are  produced  almost  by  every  organ  system  and  tissue  type  in  any  animal  body,  the  well  known  animal  hormones  are  produced  by  the  endocrine  glands  of  vertebrate.  These  are  synthesized  and  secreted  by  the  ductless  glands  of  the  endocrine  systems  in  humans  and  animals.  The  hormone  messengers  are  transported  by  the  circulatory  system  to  the  target  tissues  where  receptors  interact  with  the  messengers  to  cause  the  desired  biological  effect.  The following quote describes the transportation of hormone molecules.

However,  not  all  hormones  are  transported;  some  produce  localized  (paracrine)  effect  such  as  the  hormones  in  the  gastrointestinal  tract.  The  function  of  hormones  is  to  regulate  the  response  of  the  body  to  the  external  and  internal  stimuli,  the  homeostasis,  as  well  as  controlling  tissue  development,  morphogenesis,  and  reproduction.[iii]

However, it is not limited to these functions only. 

Hormone  effects  vary  widely,  but  can  include  stimulation  or  inhibition  of  growth,  induction  or  suppression  of  apoptosis  (programmed  cell  death),  activation  or  inhibition  of  the  immune  system,  regulating  metabolism  and  preparation  for  a  new  activity  (e.g.,  fighting,  fleeing,  mating)  or  phase  of  life  (e.g.,  puberty,  caring  for  offspring,  menopause).  In  many  cases,  one  hormone  may  regulate  the  production  and  release  of  other  hormones.  Many  of  the  responses  to  hormone  signals  can  be  described  as  serving  to  regulate  metabolic  activity  of  an  organ  or  tissue.  Hormones  also  control  the  reproductive  cycle  of  virtually  all  multi cellular  organisms.[4]

The  secretion  of  hormones  is  stimulated  or  inhibited  as  desired  by  the  following:

  • Other hormones¬† (stimulating–¬† or¬† releasing-hormones)
  • Plasma concentrations¬† of¬† ions¬† or¬† nutrients,¬† as¬† well¬† as¬† binding¬† globulins
  • Neurons and¬† mental¬† activity
  • Environmental changes, e.g., of light or temperature.

The  hormones  of  vertebrates  are  comprised  in  three  chemical  classes  namely  amine,  peptide  hormones  and  lipid  and  phospholipids.  Steroids belong to this last chemical class.  Steroid hormones derive from cholesterol and the eicosanoids.  While  testosterone  and  cortisol  are  examples  of  steroid  hormones  calcitriol  is  an  example  of  sterol  hormones. (Yesalis,2003)

Historically¬† anabolic¬† steroids¬† have¬† been¬† known¬† since¬† 1930¬† when¬† they¬† were¬† discovered.¬† Since¬† then¬† they¬† have¬† been¬† used¬† for¬† numerous¬† medical¬† purposes¬† such¬† as¬† stimulation ¬†of¬† bone¬† growth,¬† appetite,¬† puberty¬† and¬† muscle¬† growth.¬† Today¬† anabolic¬† steroids¬† are¬† widely¬† used¬† for¬† ‚Äėchronic¬† wasting¬† conditions¬† including¬† cancer¬† and¬† AIDS.

‚ÄúAnabolic¬† steroids¬† can¬† produce¬† numerous¬† physiological¬† effects¬† including¬† increased¬† protein¬† synthesis,¬† muscle¬† mass,¬† strength,¬† appetite¬† and¬† bone¬† growth.¬† Anabolic¬† steroids¬† have¬† also¬† been¬† associated¬† with¬† numerous¬† side¬† effects¬† when¬† administered¬† in¬† excessive¬† doses¬† and¬† these¬† include¬† elevated¬† cholesterol¬† (increase¬† in¬† LDL,¬† decreased¬† HDL¬† levels),¬† acne,¬† elevated¬† blood¬† pressure,¬† hepatotoxicity,¬† and¬† alterations¬† in¬† left¬† ventricle¬† morphology.‚ÄĚ[iv]

The  discovery  of  synthetic  testosterone  in  1930  was  the  beginning  of  using  anabolic  steroids  for  many  purposes.  This  continued  up  to  1950s  with  success  being  sometimes  positive  and  other  times  negative.  Initially  it  was  used  for  treatment  of  chronic  wasting,  which  was  the  ailment  of  Nazi  concentration  camp  prisoners.  It  is  also  reported  that  German  scientists  synthesized  other  anabolic  steroids  during  World  War  II.  Experiments  were  ran  on  prisoners  and  sometimes  German  soldiers.  These  experiments  were  in  the  hope  of  making  their  troops  more  aggressive.

Today  there  is  intensive  controversy  surrounding  the  use  of  steroids  due  to  the  abuses  reported  and  their  purported  side  effects.  The  alarming  part  of  steroid  issues  is  the  fact  that  there  is  “substantial  amount  of  propaganda,  junk  science,  and  misconceptions  concerning  their  use.  Although  anabolic  steroids  are  controlled  in  USA,  Canada  and  Britain,  it  is  not  controlled  (by  law)  in  other  parts  of  the  world  and  the  needs  for  such  measures  seem  to  be  urgent. (Yesalis, 2003)

The negative effects of steroids on behavior are a subject of some controversy. Much has been written in recent years about an association between steroid taking and violent rages. Where the absolute risk may be open to debate, most experts do agree that some individuals will have psychological problems as a result of taking steroids. It stands to reason that those who are better adjusted psychologically will have fewer consequences than those who are farther our on the behavior continuum, but nobody really knows who is at risk.

The special hazards faced by women who take steroids make it hard to comprehend the fact that this type of drug use in increasing among females. Because steroids are male sex hormones, their effect in women is to make them more like men, including deeper voices, unwanted facial hair, breast shrinking, and enlarged clitoris. However many female athletes have discovered that even a small amount of testosterone can make a big difference in sports performance. That may let some female athletes remain competitive at an age when the performance of other similarly talented competitors has declined. Or some may be able to advance to the next level of competition, something they were unable to do on their own. As women’s sports becoming more competitive and cash driven, the temptation for females to augment their power can be a very powerful motivator.

Who uses steroids? From where does information about users come, and how do we know that information is true? A currently popular myth holds that steroids were a fad drug. Drug testing cleaned the problem up, so the story goes, and now the only users are marginal athletes trying to hang on, or kids who are experimenting. This scenario is indeed a myth. There has been almost no decrease in the amount of steroids and other illegal performance enhancing drugs that are being used by athletes looking for strength and power.

The continuing interest in physical development makes it unlikely that steroids will fade away. Contemporary culture has elevated muscles to an art form, as evidence by motion picture ads and magazine covers. And entire genre of popular action films features film heroes with sculpted physiques and bulging muscles that they use to great effect. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the popular prototype of the action hero, readily admits using steroids to achieve the look during his body building days, explaining that ‚Äúeveryone did it‚ÄĚ back then. Today, the United States has more than 1 million current or former users of anabolic steroids. More than 300,000 of them used steroids within the past year. Almost none of them were under medical supervision despite the known potential for negative short-term effects on physical and mental well-being. (Charles E. Yesalis, 1998)

Anabolic steroids do have uses as medical therapy, and they are prescribed for specific conditions. For example, they might be given to a weakened patient before or after surgery. Some hormonal problems can be corrected with steroids. They also have been tested successfully as a male contraceptive, and they are used routinely to fight the wasting associated with HIV and AIDS. There also seems to be a strong emerging trend toward using steroids as hormone replacement therapy in older men in much the same manner that estrogen is used for postmenopausal women.

How are steroid users counted? Until the late 1980s, very little data were available on who the users were. Most information was based on anecdotes, testimonials, and rumors. The true dimensions of the steroid problem in United States were not known. The picture has changed since then, and important information has been gathered through several national surveys conducted by researchers at academic institutions and government agencies. A 1988 study by William Buckley and Charles Yesalis was the first nationwide survey of anabolic steroid use amount teenage boys. It showed that approximately 7 % of high school seniors have used this type.

In 1985 Michigan state study by Anderson and McKeag showed that the heaviest steroid use (defined as having occurred within the past year) was among NCAA football players which are 9%. This figure does not seem unreasonable because many college players believe they are good enough to make the pros and view the economic promise of the NFL as a justification for their steroid use. 4 % of the make participant in track and field reported steroid use. Overall, 5 % of division 1 athlete, both make and female.  4 % of division II athletes and 2 % of Division III athletes had used steroids within the 12 months prior to the study.

Anderson and McKeag repeated their study during the 1988-89 academic year and found steroid use has increased slightly over the intervening four years. Although steroid use remained at 5 % for Division I athletes, the use among Division II athletes rose to 5 %, and Division III use went to 4 %. Again the highest incidence of reported steroid use was among football players i.e. 10 %. Steroid use remained at 4 % for men’s track and field events, but declined in baseball by 2% and in tennis 2 %.

In 1993, the Michigan State study was repeated once more. This time, a significant decline in steroid use was observed among make athletes, although football players continued to have the highest level of self reported use 5%. Female athletes however showed considerable increase in steroid use relative to the earlier two studies.

The most commonly cited reason for steroid use is improved athletic performance.

Anabolic steroids can be taken either by mouth, by injection, or, more recently by skin creams or patches. If an individual simple swallowed a dose of testosterone, however, it would be quickly inactivated by the process of metabolism and cleared from the body through the liver. Steroids that are taken orally have had their chemical structures altered to slow their removal from the body by the liver but more toxic to the liver. Steroids taken by intramuscular injection or skin application also have been chemically altered to slow their release into circulation.

As was stated earlier, anabolic steroids were adopted initially by athletes in power sports such as weight lifting and football to increase strength and muscularity. From the beginning, these athletes consistently reported that the drugs also reduced their recovery time between workouts. That meant that they were able to work out more frequently, for longer periods of time, and with greater intensity. These observations by athletes very likely played an important role in the diffusion of anabolic steroids among sprinters in a variety of sports and thereafter to endurance athletes.

The truth is that anabolic steroids work. That is to say those anabolic steroids, especially when used in conjunction with intense strength training, increase muscle mass and strength well beyond what can be achieved with training alone. Experts have suggested the following mechanisms to explain the performance enhancing effect of anabolic steroids.

  • An increase in protein synthesis.
  • Prevention of muscle tissue destruction caused by heavy work or exercise.
  • The effects on the central nervous system and the neuro-muscular junctions.
  • Increased aggressiveness
  • The placebo effect.

In the normal way of things, two things can happen when athletes such as wrestlers, runners, or swimmers stress their bodies through training at high levels of intensity over prolonged periods. First, their natural production of testosterone can drop precipitously, often to levels as low as those of a castrated man. Second, the body responds by releasing another type of steroid called glucocortocoids, when are not anabolic (tissue building) but catabolic meaning that they break down muscle tissue. A popular theory holds that a visible sign of over training in muscle wasting.

Although the evidence is incomplete, scientists have speculated that anabolic steroids inhibit or block the catabolic effects of these glucocortocoids. If this theory is correct a runner could endure more miles of road work per week and consequently lower her times or a weight lifter could work out more often and do more sets and reps and achieve greater muscle and strength gains. Some experts have gone so far as to theorize that this ant catabolic mechanism may be the most important factor in untangling the performance effects of anabolic steroids. Beyond helping negate the muscle breakdown effects of glucocorticoids, anabolic steroids help replenish testosterone levels depleted by intense training. (Charles E. Yesalis, 1998)

The anabolic effect of steroids comes through increasing protein synthesis through their attachment to receptors in target tissues, which includes skeletal and heart muscle, skin, testes, prostate and various areas of the brain.

Athletes want the following things from steroids.

  • Alteration of body composition (increased muscle mass and reduced fat).
  • Increased strength
  • Increased endurance
  • Faster recovery from exercise. (So the athlete can perform longer, more frequent, or higher-intensity workouts).
  • Enhanced athletic performance

The quick answer to the question about whether steroids ‚Äúwork‚ÄĚ is yes, but that is just a short answer to a very complex question. Even though most of the athletic community accepts that steroids do enhance exercise capacity and performance, the extent to which these effects occur and the factors influencing such effects still is not clearly understood.

The two potential sources of information about steroid effects on performance and appearance are the scientific literature and the testimonials of users. The scientific literature includes studies of humans and animals that were performed according to generally accepted methods of scientific investigation. The problem is that results of these studies are inconsistent.

On the other hand, the testimonials from steroid users are highly consistent but all anecdotal reports are somewhat questionable. Generally researchers do not like to consider testimonials as data even though they may provide interesting scientific leads. Nevertheless ever though such reports do not replace a base of accurate information gained from well-designed scientific studies, the large amount of information obtained from the personal experiences of steroid users should not and cannot be ignored. Steroid users give themselves amount and combinations of drugs and no ethical scientific investigator could ever do, especially not to women and adolescents.

Anabolic steroid users believe that using the drugs in conjunction with training, will increase their lean boy mass and decrease their fat mass, whereas some researchers have reported no significant increase, others say there are increases. The reasons for these inconsistencies are in the study design and include factors such as how long the study lasted; the use of inexperienced subjects versus using trained athletes, steroid dosage and so on. The consensus of experts is that steroids and a diet that is adequate for building muscle can contribute to increase in muscle mass beyond what could be achieved from training along.

It¬† is¬† confusing¬† to¬† know¬† that¬† a¬† doctor¬† specialized¬† in¬† hormones¬† warns¬† young¬† people¬† from¬† taking¬† steroids¬† to¬† enhance¬† athletic¬† performance¬† while¬† he¬† ‚Äúhe¬† takes¬† a¬† derivative¬† of¬† testosterone¬† himself¬† as¬† part¬† of¬† a¬† regimen¬† that¬† he¬† believes¬† restores¬† vitality¬† in¬† aging¬† men¬† and¬† women.‚ÄĚ[5]

His¬† explanation¬† is¬† that¬† when¬† the¬† hormone¬† production¬† is¬† maintained¬† in¬† a¬† healthy¬† body¬† giving¬† more¬† hormone¬† is¬† only¬† overloading¬† the¬† body¬† with¬† that¬† specific¬† hormone,¬† which¬† leads¬† to¬† serious¬† health¬† and¬† ethical¬† issues.¬† On¬† the¬† contrary¬† ‚Äúreplacing¬† hormones¬† that¬† are¬† no¬† longer¬† produced¬† naturally¬† can¬† lead¬† to¬† a¬† healthier¬† life.‚ÄĚ[6]

According to Dr.  Mintz:

“We¬† are¬† totally¬† against¬† the¬† use¬† of¬† steroids¬† to¬† boost¬† athletic¬† performance.¬† A 25-year-old athlete has no need for them.¬† The price is too high.¬† But¬† we¬† really¬† need¬† to¬† understand¬† the¬† difference¬† between¬† abuse,¬† for¬† which¬† I¬† have¬† no¬† tolerance,¬† and¬† the¬† appropriate¬† use¬† of¬† sex¬† hormones¬† to¬† maintain¬† health.¬† It¬† gives¬† you¬† the¬† power¬† to¬† have¬† a¬† healthy¬† life¬† in¬† your¬† later¬† years.¬† There’s¬† a¬† tremendous¬† benefit¬† if¬† you¬† go ¬†about¬† it¬† the¬† right¬† way.¬† It‚Äôs very exciting medicine.”6

Anabolic¬† steroids¬† in¬† sports¬† refers¬† to¬† the¬† ‚Äúsynthetically¬† produced¬† variants¬† of¬† the¬† naturally¬† occurring¬† male¬† hormone¬† testosterone.‚Ä̬† While¬† the¬† class¬† of¬† drugs¬† is¬† steroids,¬† androgenic¬† refers¬† to¬† the¬† products¬† that¬† promote¬† masculine¬† characteristics,¬† and¬† anabolic¬† refers¬† to¬† the¬† tissue¬† building¬† drugs.¬† The¬† slang¬† terms¬† for¬† anabolic¬† steroids¬† in¬† the¬† streets¬† include:¬† arnolds,¬† gym¬† candy,¬† pumpers,¬† roids,¬† stackers,¬† weight¬† trainers,¬† and¬† juice.¬† [7]

Legitimately¬† prescribed¬† anabolic¬† steroids¬† for¬† medical¬† purposes¬† are¬† administered¬† in¬† a¬† number¬† of¬† way¬† including:¬† intramuscular/subcutaneous¬† injection,¬† oral¬† pills,¬† pellet¬† implantation¬† under¬† the ¬†skin¬† and¬† locally¬† applied¬† to¬† the¬† skin¬† in¬† forms¬† of¬† gel¬† or¬† patches.¬† Of¬† course¬† the¬† administrative¬† routes¬† can¬† be¬† used¬† by¬† abusers,¬† but¬† the¬† most¬† common¬† ones¬† are¬† injections¬† and¬† oral¬† administration.¬† The¬† abusers¬† doses¬† range¬† from¬† 1¬† to¬† upwards¬† of¬† 100¬† times¬† normal¬† therapeutic¬† does.¬† It¬† may¬† also¬† involve¬† taking¬† two¬† steroids¬† concurrently,¬† a¬† practice¬† that¬† is¬† called¬† ‚Äėstacking‚Äô.¬† The¬† duration¬† of¬† use¬† is¬† also¬† conventionalized¬† as¬† they¬† alternate¬† periods¬† of¬† high¬† dose¬† that¬† extends¬† from¬† 6¬† to¬† 16¬† weeks¬† with¬† low¬† dose¬† or¬† no¬† drug¬† periods.¬† This is referred to as ‚Äėcycling‚Äô.¬† In¬† another¬† mode¬† called¬† ‚Äėpyramiding‚Äô¬† slowly¬† escalate¬† the¬† use¬† of¬† the¬† drugs¬† either¬† by¬† increasing¬† the¬† number¬† of¬† drugs¬† they¬† use¬† at¬† one¬† time¬† and/or¬† the¬† dose¬† of¬† one¬† or¬† more¬† drugs.¬† But why do they do so.?

The  following  table  includes  examples  of  anabolic  drugs  abused;  these  the  ones  administered  orally  or  as  injections.

Figure 5

Oral  Steroids   Inject able  Steroids
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Anadrol¬ģ¬† (oxymetholone)

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Oxandrin¬ģ¬† (oxandrolone)

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Dianabol¬ģ¬† (methandrostenolone)

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Winstrol¬ģ¬† (stanozolol)

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Deca-Durabolin¬ģ¬† (nandrolone¬† decanoate)

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Durabolin¬ģ¬† (nandrolone¬† phenpropionate)

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Depo-Testosterone¬ģ¬† (testosterone¬† cypionate)

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Equipoise¬ģ¬† (boldenone¬† undecylenate)¬† (veterinary¬† product)¬ģ

While  the  dangers  of  abusing  steroids  are  very  serious,  young  people  in  sports  or  at  school  are  motivated  by  their  belief  that  steroids  help  them  to  have  a  competitive  advantage  in  sports  and  generally  improve  their  physical  performance.

The  dangers  of  abusing  steroids  are  many  and  are  very  serious.  While  the  short  term  side  effects  are  established,  the  long  term  ones  have  not  been  studied  yet.  Many of the side effects are irreversible, particularly in women.  The  following  tables  illustrate  the  undesirable  physical  changes  of  anabolic  steroids.

Figure 6

For  Guys For  Girls
·                     Baldness

·                     Development  of  breasts

·                     Painful  erections

·                     Shrinkage  of  testicles

·                     Loss  of  function  of  testicles

·                     Growth  of  facial  and  body  hair

·                     Deepened  voice

·                     Breast  reduction

·                     Enlarged  clitoris

·                     Menstrual  irregularities


For  Both
·                     Acne

·                     Jaundice  (yellowing  of  the  skin)

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Swelling¬† ‚Äst Fluid¬† retention

·                     Stunted  growth  (close  the  growth  plates  in  the  long  bones  and  permanently  stunt  their  growth)

·                     Increase  in  bad  cholesterol  levels

·                     Decrease  in  good  cholesterol  levels

·                     Mood  swings

·                     Increase  in  feelings  of  hostility

·                     Increase  in  aggressive  behavior

On¬† the¬† other¬† hand¬† sports¬† authorities¬† also¬† have¬† their¬† own¬† regulations.¬† ‚ÄúThe¬† International¬† Olympic¬† Committee¬† (IOC),¬† National¬† Collegiate¬† Athletic¬† Association¬† (NCAA),¬† and¬† many¬† professional¬† sports¬† leagues¬† (e.g.¬† Major¬† League¬† Baseball,¬† National¬† Basketball¬† Association,¬† National¬† Football¬† League¬† (NFL),¬† and¬† National¬† Hockey¬† League)¬† have¬† banned¬† the¬† use¬† of¬† steroids¬† by¬† athletes,¬† both¬† because¬† of¬† their¬† potential¬† dangerous¬† side¬† effects¬† and¬† because¬† they¬† give¬† the¬† user¬† an¬† unfair¬† advantage.‚ÄĚ[9]

‚ÄúThe¬† International¬† Olympic¬† Committee¬† (IOC),¬† National¬† Collegiate¬† Athletic¬† Association¬† (NCAA),¬† and¬† many¬† professional¬† sports¬† leagues¬† (e.g.¬† Major¬† League¬† Baseball,¬† National¬† Basketball¬† Association,¬† National¬† Football¬† League¬† (NFL),¬† and¬† National¬† Hockey¬† League)¬† have¬† banned¬† the¬† use¬† of¬† steroids¬† by¬† athletes,¬† both¬† because¬† of¬† their¬† potential¬† dangerous¬† side¬† effects¬† and¬† because¬† they¬† give¬† the¬† user¬† an¬† unfair¬† advantage.¬† The¬† IOC,¬† NCAA,¬† and¬† NFL¬† have¬† also¬† banned¬† the¬† use¬† of¬† steroid¬† precursors¬† (e.g.¬† Androstenedione)¬† by athletes for the same reason steroids were banned.¬† The¬† IOC¬† and¬† professional¬† sports¬† leagues¬† use¬† urine¬† testing¬† to¬† detect¬† steroid¬† use¬† both¬† in¬† and¬† out¬† of¬† competition.‚ÄĚ[10]

The¬† extent¬† of¬† the¬† problem¬† of¬† abuse¬† of¬† steroids,¬† which¬† is¬† indeed¬† widespread¬† and¬† diverse,¬† has¬† been¬† studied¬† in¬† the¬† United¬† States.¬† According¬† to¬† the¬† ‚ÄėSubstance¬† Abuse ¬†and¬† Mental¬† Health¬† Services¬† Administration‚Äôs¬† National¬† Household¬† Survey‚Äô¬† ‚Äú1,084,000¬† Americans,¬† or¬† 0.5¬† percent¬† of¬† the¬† adult¬† population,¬† said¬† that¬† they¬† had¬† used¬† anabolic¬† steroids.¬† In¬† the¬† 18¬† to¬† 34¬† age¬† group,¬† about¬† 1¬† percent¬† had¬† ever¬† used¬† steroids.‚Ä̬† While¬† these¬† figures¬† are¬† those¬† of¬† the¬† general¬† public,¬† the¬† survey¬† among¬† school-age¬† children¬† is¬† also¬† alarming.


Percent of Students Reporting Steroid Use 1991 – 2002

Year Eighth  grade Tenth  Grade Twelfth  Grade
1991 1.9% 1.8% 2.1%
1999 2.7% 2.7% 2.9%
2002 2.5% 3.5% 4.0%

Percent of Students Reporting Steroid Use in 2002

Student  Steroid  Use Eighth  grade Tenth  Grade Twelfth  Grade
Past  month  use 0.8% 1.0% 1.4%
Past  year  use 1.5% 2.2% 2.5%
Lifetime  use 2.5% 3.5% 4.0%

The¬† classical¬† technique¬† for¬† detecting¬† use¬† of¬† anabolic¬† steroid¬† is¬† ‚Äėgas¬† chromatographic¬† mass¬† spectrometry¬† (GC/MS)‚Äô.¬† It¬† is¬† the¬† most¬† reliable¬† and¬† valid¬† technique¬† for¬† detecting¬† anabolic¬† steroid¬† in¬† urine.¬† Recent¬† technological¬† advances¬† have¬† facilitated¬† a¬† more¬† sensitive¬† high¬† resolution¬† mass¬† spectrometry¬† (HRMS)¬† which¬† made¬† it¬† possible¬† to¬† detect¬† the¬† substance¬† at¬† much¬† lower¬† concentrations.¬† Although¬† the¬† technique¬† is¬† not¬† yet¬† fully¬† accepted¬† by¬† sports¬† authorities.

Even though athletes have been using steroids for nearly half a century, we did not have reliable data on, who the users were until the late 1980s. Since that time, several studies have established a figure of approximately 1 million past or current steroid users in the United States. Because of these studies, we now know that more than half a million adolescents and preteens have experimented with steroids.

     Because we know that younger kinds are trying steroids, any intervention to stop steroid use must begin early. When the youngest users are taking drugs because of concerns with body shape and size, they are more vulnerable in every way. Many individuals long for increased strength and power. They cannot expect, of course, to get the type of gains that are seen in conditioned athletes.

The observation of a link between the male sex organs and physical strength is age-old. However, it was not until the 1930s that scientists successfully synthesized testosterone. All anabolic steroids trace their origin to the primary male sex hormone, testosterone, but there are many different chemical formulations, and the list is long and still growing, to date, no one has been able to complete divorce the masculinizing element of steroids from the tissue-building element.

A common source of information about most drugs is physicians except in the case of anabolic steroids. Although physicians did prescribe steroids for athletes in the early days, they have not been a major source of supply for some time both because of their knowledge about negative health effects and because steroids are now state and federally regulated drugs.

Many athletes stopped using physicians as a source of steroid information in the 1960s and ‚Äė70s when a disagreement about whether steroids were effective flared up after the first steroids studies showed contradictory results. Some studies reported strength and muscle gains; other did not. The lack of agreement led many physicians to believe steroids were not effective, and this position caused them to lose credibility with the sports community. Many athletes, by that time, had experienced gains in strength and muscle for themselves by using steroids.

Unlike some European countries, the United States has never had a government-sponsored steroid research program. However, East Germany under communism was noted for its highly developed drug-aided sports programs that were developed with the cooperation of government officials, physicians, researchers, coaches, and physical trainers.

Many researchers have been keenly interested in the association of steroids and other drugs with dietary supplements and special diets. Most steroids users are on special diets, usually ones containing high level of protein. In addition steroid users frequently take dietary supplements such as vitamins, amino acids, minerals, garlic, protein powders and creatine. Some use ‚Äústeroid replacers‚ÄĚ, (substances taken during the user‚Äôs off-steroids portion of the cycle) including chromium picolinate, glandular extracts, vanadyl sulfate, boron, DHEA and smilax. Anabolic steroids users commonly take other performance enhancing drugs such as human growth hormone, human chrionic gonadotropic (HCG), clenbuterol and moodaltering drugs including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and tobacco. As on the perceived needs of the athlete. Male endurance athletes use steroids primarily for their alleged effect of lowering recuperation time between workouts, and they use dosages at or slightly below what the body normally produces, about 7 mg a day of testosterone. Although sprinters desire similar results, the strength and power requirements of their activity results in dosages that are approximately 1.5 to 2 times normal levels.

While¬† the¬† medical¬† advances¬† in¬† uses¬† of¬† steroids¬† will¬† definitely¬† be¬† a¬† breakthrough¬† for¬† many¬† of¬† the¬† ailments¬† of¬† human¬† beings,¬† the¬† use¬† of¬† steroids¬† by¬† athletes¬† and¬† young¬† school-age¬† children¬† is¬† a¬† problem¬† that¬† should¬† receive¬† more¬† attention¬† from¬† authorities¬† and¬† families.¬† A¬† report¬† from¬† ‚ÄúThe¬† Partnership¬† for¬† Drug¬† Free¬† America‚Ä̬† offers¬† some¬† advice:

‚ÄúEducate yourself and your kids about the dangers of steroids.¬† Remind¬† your¬† child¬† that¬† taking¬† steroids¬† is¬† a¬† form¬† of¬† cheating¬† ‚ÄĒ¬† not¬† only¬† themselves,¬† but¬† their¬† team,¬† their¬† sport¬† and¬† their¬† bodies.¬† Teach¬† your¬† young¬† athlete¬† how¬† to¬† refuse¬† offers¬† to¬† try¬† the¬† drugs.¬† You¬† should¬† encourage¬† healthy¬† habits¬† such¬† as¬† proper¬† nutrition,¬† supervised¬† strength¬† training,¬† and¬† pre-season¬† conditioning¬† to¬† help¬† build¬† their¬† bodies¬† without¬† the¬† use¬† of¬† drugs.¬† If¬† your¬† teen¬† is¬† working¬† out¬† at¬† a¬† gym,¬† be¬† aware¬† of¬† who¬† he¬† or¬† she¬† is¬† hanging¬† out¬† with¬† ‚ÄĒ¬† there¬† may¬† be¬† seemingly¬† harmless¬† people¬† pushing¬† steroids.¬† For¬† girls¬† who¬† are¬† using¬† steroids¬† to¬† get¬† thinner,¬† it’s¬† essential¬† to¬† make¬† your¬† daughter¬† feel¬† good¬† about¬† herself¬† and¬† develop¬† a¬† positive¬† body¬† image.¬† Encourage¬† healthy¬† eating¬† and¬† exercise¬† and¬† remind¬† her¬† of¬† the¬† negative¬† physical¬† characteristics¬† that¬† steroid¬† use¬† can¬† cause,¬† which¬† include¬† masculine¬† traits.¬† Be¬† aware¬† of¬† your¬† child’s¬† goals¬† ‚ÄĒ¬† as¬† well¬† as¬† his¬† or¬† her¬† insecurities,¬† pressures¬† and¬† stress.¬† While¬† it’s¬† important¬† to¬† push¬† your¬† child¬† to¬† excel,¬† know¬† that¬† there’s¬† a¬† fine¬† line¬† between¬† support¬† and¬† unrealistic¬† expectations.¬† Encourage¬† your¬† child¬† to¬† have¬† interests¬† beyond¬† athletics¬† so¬† that¬† if¬† they¬† lose¬† a¬† big¬† game,¬† match¬† or¬† tournament,¬† she¬† or¬† he¬† will¬† have¬† other¬† activities¬† and¬† friends¬† to¬† turn¬† to.¬† Parents¬† should¬† harness¬† the¬† excitement¬† of¬† sports¬† and¬† competition¬† while¬† encouraging¬† their¬† teens¬† to¬† eat¬† right,¬† live¬† right¬† and¬† play¬† by¬† the¬† rules.‚ÄĚ[11]

Work Cited

Charles E. Yesalis, Virginia S. Cowart, Human Kinetics, (1998).The steroids game

Adalf, E.M., & Smart, R.G. (1992). Characteristics of steroid users in an adolescent school population. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, 38(1), 43-49.

American College of Sports Medicine. (1984). Position stand on the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids in sports. Sports Medicine Bulletin, 19, 13-18.

Anderson, W., Albrecht, M., & McKeag, D. (1993). Second replication of a national study of substance use and abuse habits of college student-athletes. Final report. Overland Park, KS: National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Bahrke, M., Yesalis, C., & Wright, J. (1996). Psychological and behavioral effects of endogenous testosterone and anabolic-androgenic steroids: an update. Sports Medicine, 22(6), 367-390.

Brower, K. (2002). Anabolic steroid use and dependence. Current Psychiatry Reports 4, 377-387.

Buckley, W.E., Yesalis, C.E., Friedl, K.E., Anderson, W.A., Streit, A.L., & Wright, J.E. (1988). Estimated prevalence of anabolic-androgenic steroid use among male high school seniors. Journal of the American Medical Association, 260(23), 3441-3445.

Karila, T. et al. (2003). Anabolic-androgenic steroids produce dose-dependent increase in left ventricular mass in power athletes, and this effect is potentiated by concomitant use of growth hormone. International Journal of Sports Medicine 24: 237-343.

Kersey, R. (1993). Anabolic-androgenic steroid use by private health club/gym athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning, 7, 118-126.

Wu, F. & von Eckardstein, A. (2003). Androgens and coronary artery disease. Endocrine Reviews 24 (2): 183-217.

Yates, W.R., Perry, P.J., MacIndoe, J., Holman, T., & Ellingrod, V.L. (1999). Psychosexual effects of three doses of testosterone cycling in normal men. Biological Psychiatry, 45, 254-260.

Yesalis, C., & Bahrke, M. (2003). History of Doping in Sport. International Sports Studies, 24(1):42-76.

Davidson,¬† Julian¬† M.¬† “steroid.”¬† Grolier¬† Multimedia¬† Encyclopedia.¬† 2007.¬† Grolier¬† Online.¬† 28¬† Jan.¬† 2007¬† http://gme.grolier.com/cgi-bin/article?assetid=0276770-0

Steroid  From  Wikipedia,  the  free  encyclopedia  Available  at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steroid  accessed  on  28  January  2007

Hormones  From  Wikipedia,  the  free  encyclopedia  Available  at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hormone    accessed  on  28  January  2007

Williams,  John  The  Demonization  of  Anabolic  Steroids  I:  What  Makes  These  Hormones  So  Evil?  Available  at:  http://www.mesomorphosis.com/articles/williams/demonization-of-anabolic-steriods-01.htm  Accessed  on  28  January  2007

Anabolic  Steroid  from  Wikipedia  the  free  encyclopaedia  available  at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabolic_steroid  accessed  on  28  January  2007

[1]  Medical  Dictionary  of  Medicinenet.com  available  at:  http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5556  accessed  on  28  January  2007

[2]  Encyclopaedia  Britannica  Online  available  at:  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9069640/steroid  Accessed  on  28  January  2007

[3]  Science  and  Technology  Encyclopaedia  available  at:  http://www.answers.com/library/Science%20and%20Technology%20Encyclopedia-cid-2026808543  accessed  on  28  January  2007

[4]  Hormones  From  Wikipedia,  the  free  encyclopedia  Available  at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hormone    accessed  on  28  January  2007

[5]¬† Strizak,¬† Alan¬† Marc.¬† “sports¬† medicine.”¬† Grolier¬† Multimedia¬† Encyclopedia.¬† 2007.¬† Grolier¬† Online.¬† 28¬† Jan.¬† 2007¬† http://gme.grolier.com/cgi-bin/article?assetid=0274390-0

[6]¬† Dvorchak,¬† Robert¬† (October¬† 2005)¬† –¬† Good¬† uses¬† for¬† steroids¬† overshadowed¬† by¬† bad¬† –¬† Pittsburgh¬† Post-Gazette¬† ‚Äst Available¬† at:¬† http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05278/582577.stm¬†¬†¬† accessed¬† on¬† 28¬† January¬† 2007

[7]¬† Anabolic¬† Steroids¬† ‚Äst Hidden¬† Dangers¬† –¬† Presented¬† as¬† a¬† public¬† service¬† by:¬† Drug¬† Enforcement¬† Administration¬† Office¬† of¬† Diversion¬† Control¬† Washington,¬† D.C.¬† 20537¬† –¬† available¬† at:¬† http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/brochures/steroids/hidden/index.html¬† Accessed¬† on¬† 28¬† January¬† 2007

[8]¬† Dr.¬† James¬† Tolliver¬† (Pharmacologist)¬† (March¬† 2004)¬† –¬† Steroid¬† Abuse¬† in¬† Today’s¬† Society¬† –¬† A¬† Guide¬† for¬† Understanding¬† Steroids¬† and¬† Related¬† Substances¬† available ¬†at:¬† http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/brochures/steroids/professionals/index.html¬† accessed¬† on¬† 28¬† January¬† 2007

[9]¬† Dr.¬† James¬† Tolliver¬† (Pharmacologist)¬† (March¬† 2004)¬† –¬† Steroid¬† Abuse¬† in¬† Today’s¬† Society¬† –¬† A¬† Guide¬† for¬† Understanding¬† Steroids¬† and¬† Related¬† Substances¬† available¬† at:¬† http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/brochures/steroids/professionals/index.html¬† accessed¬† on¬† 28¬† January¬† 2007

[10]¬† Dr.¬† James¬† Tolliver¬† (Pharmacologist)¬† (March¬† 2004)¬† –¬† Steroid¬† Abuse¬† in¬† Today’s¬† Society¬† –¬† A¬† Guide¬† for¬† Understanding¬† Steroids¬† and ¬†Related¬† Substances¬† available¬† at:¬† http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubs/brochures/steroids/professionals/index.html¬† accessed¬† on¬† 28¬† January¬† 2007

[11]  Sports  are  Great  for  a  Kid’s  Body  Steroids  Aren’t  from  The  Partnership  for  a  Drug-free  America,  California  Chapter  available  at:  www.drugfree.org/parent  accessed  on  29  January  2007

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