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 steroidsbecamemore
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 ownLinfordChristie.
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:
> To build-up muscle tissue after strokes
> Gastrointestinal disorders
> Weight gain in low birth weight children
> 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:
This term refers to the promoting of Anabolism (building of tissues).This
takes place through synthetic chemicalreactionswithinthecell
(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
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:
; 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 the competition date. A “pyramid cycle” is used
which starts with low doses of the drugs being stacked and as the cycle
progresses the doses are gradually increased, halfway through the cycle the
doses are lessened again resulting in a gradual decrease back to nothing at
the end of the cycle.
What are the Side Effects?
Athletes who take steroids are subjecting their bodies to a long list of
side effects, i.e.
In both sexes
; Heart arrhythmia’s
> High blood pressure
> Aching joints
> Injury to tendon’s, ligaments, and muscles
; Blood coagulation disorders
; Increased fatty deposits (atherosclerosis)
; Liver damage
; Reduction in HDL (good cholesterol)
; Increase in LDL (bad cholesterol)
; Cancer of the liver ; kidney
; Aggressive behaviour
; Post-use depression
; Increased sex drive
; Reduced libido
; HIV could be contracted from sharing needles
; Reduced sperm count
; Breast growth
; Shrinking of the testicles
; Enlarged prostate
; Prostate cancer
; Body hair growth
; Clitoral enlargement
; Deepened voice
; Irregular menstruation
; Breast reduction
As seen there are many side effects associated with steroid abuse.
Steroids also stay inside the body for approximately eighteen months and
are easily detectable in blood tests.
Types of Steroids
The table below gives a brief introduction to the differential brands of
steroids available. As the table shows the amount of each component
(Anabolic ; Androgenic) differ with each brand of steroid.The steroids
which are Androgenic are very potent and should be taken in moderation to
avoid the long list of side effects.
|How Administered|Name|Anabolic or|
|intramuscular |Nandrlone|Anabolic |
|Intramuscular |Sustanon |Androgenic|
|Oral ; Intramuscular |Winstrol |Anabolic |
Through researching this topic the information gathered together showed
there are no real scientific findings to promote safe use of anabolic
steroids. Steroids are a class C drug therefore illegal, if caught
handling or selling steroids a custodial sentence may be implemented.As
steroids can’t be bought at the chemist they have to be purchased on the
black market, this concept aloneisextremelydangerous.People
responsible for the manufacture of steroids, have the opportunity to pass
anything onto the buyer claiming it to be the genuine drug, the prices
dealers charge tend to be astronomical. With these two factors in mind
surely the gold medal, perfect physique, and world ranking are not enough
to warrant such levels of desperation that the only way to achieve their
goals is through subjecting their bodies to the extreme side effects
The risk factors (side effects) that are associated with steroids far
surpass the risks that cannabis contributes, yet the penalties connected
with the use of marijuana are greater. A total review of how drugs are
classified needs to be launched surely the amount of side effects steroids
can cause warrants a higher classification, if this review was implemented
the availability of these toxic drugs would decrease resulting in less
athletes utilising them.
Phillips, N (1991) Anabolic Reference Guide. USA. Mile High Publishing.