Anabolic steroids were developed in the end of 1930s. They were designed for medical purposes. Steroids still have many medical uses. They treat asthma, arthritis, Addison’s disease, hypogonadism and certain skin conductions. In addition, steroids were widely recommended for treating impotence and other diseases. Shortly, the ability of anabolic steroids to strengthen the growth of skeletal muscle in laboratory animals was discovered. In 1950s, steroids came into sport: at first, bodybuilders and weightlifters started using them and, consequently, athletes in other sports.
There are many types of anabolic steroids drugs, but just a few of them have been approved for a human or veterinary use; being under Schedule III, all of them are prescription drugs in the United States.
As a rule, people think that the word “steroids” is equivalent to anabolic steroids. However, “steroids” is the common name for a considerable group of different steroid hormones. Among them are estrogens and progestin (woman’s sexual hormones), hormones of the pituitary gland, corticosteroids, and masculine sexual hormones (androgens).
A well known androgen is testosterone. Androgens are the original anabolic steroids (steroid hormones). They play a significant role in the development of male characteristics. There are other man’s hormones that are less known generally; nevertheless, they are crucial in terms of the man’s body development.
The full name for anabolic steroids is anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS). They work as the male hormone testosterone. Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances; they were designed by changing of the molecular structure of testosterone. They were modified for the purpose of prolongation of the anabolic effect.
There are two aspects of the testosterone action: androgenic and anabolic. The androgenic aspect (masculinization) presents the development of secondary man’s sexual signs, including the growth and change in a body structure, namely contoured muscles, wide shoulders, man’s features, deep voice, aggression in behavior, and others. The anabolic effect of testosterone contributes towards the growth of muscular fabrics.
That testosterone’s quality is much more desirable for people in sport than androgenic ones. In order to meet that request, designers attempted to strengthen the influence function on the growth of fabrics and break function of strengthening of secondary sexual signs. A review of the literature reveals that it was not possible to meet those requirements, and in today’s market, anabolic steroids do not fully correspond to them: practically all anabolic steroids possess an expressed androgen effect. According to Cynthia M. Kuhn, the state of the development of the anabolic pharmacology can be addressed to as initial, whereas there are no exceptionally anabolic drugs, although all of them have specific androgenic properties.All steroids are badly dissolved in water and good in oil solutions. Furthermore, Yesalis states:
If to accept a dose pure of the testosterone because of natural exchange processes it will be quickly removed from an organism by a liver, not having had time to render any appreciable influence on a muscular fabric and other processes, for example, providing endurance increase at performance of physical job. (139)
Steroid drugs dissolved in oil solutions possess a much longer influence on body. That is why most medical forms of anabolic steroids are delivered in oil solutions. In liver, anabolic steroids undergo a chemical updating and in the form of connections being removed from a body with urine. At this stage, doping control experts can find them out. Scientists admit that the tablet’s steroids are toxic enough for a liver. The steroids, which are delivered in a body by means of injections, as a rule, are less toxic.
Numerous researches admit that the mechanism of action of steroids at a cellular level is very complex and combined. It still not fully understood. According to Dawson, at first, the androgens bind to a cytoplasm receptor, then, the whole complex binds to DNA with the purpose of promoting the gene transcription as well as the protein translation, whereas the latter allows modulating cellular actions that are androgen dependent.
The available scientific literature reveals that when getting to blood vessels, molecules of steroids are carried all over body, where cells of skeletal muscles react to them. The selective accumulation of anabolic steroids and testosterone in a body is connected to the presence the so-called “bodies of targets” – specific molecular structures – receptors in cells.
In the connected kind, a complex of the receptor-steroid is transported through cell cytoplasm in a cellular kernel, where it co-operates with muscular fibres. Due to this, there is a stimulation of synthesis of all kinds of nucleonic acids. In cells, various nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, macro and microcells, oxygen, glucose, fat acids arrive, along with many other substances, which are necessary for the physiological course of all exchange processes activity. Anabolic steroids stimulate the synthesis of kreatin-phosphate.
During the last decade, it was established by scientists that in the course of the intensive physical job, a body produces harmful free radicals. They are the factors limiting sports working capacity. The reduction of their quantity and prevention of their negative influence leads to the normalization of ability in terms of force and speed restoration.
Anabolic steroids users consume them in a form of tablets, injections, skin applications in doses, which are substantially higher than for medical conditions. There are a few ways to consume steroids. When drug is taken over a specific period, it is essential to stop for a certain period and start again, which was called “cycling”.
When users combine several different types of steroids at once, that is a process known as “stacking”. Steroid users often increase the dose or number of steroids and frequency of one or more steroids used at one time, reaching the highest level of them and slowly reducing the dose to zero. Such a mode of steroids consumption is referred to as “pyramiding”. The pyramid cycle can last from six to twelve weeks. After that cycle, the consumer does heavy trainings, but without drugs in order to allow the body to get rid of the drugs. As with “stacking”, the benefits of “pyramiding” and “cycling” are not proved scientifically.
Some scientists call AAS mysterious drugs. According to Lasandra, there are numerous people, who are dependent on steroids; however, this specific type of dependence remains unexplored to a considerable extent. Furthermore, while being the illicit drugs, steroids still belong to substances that are not entirely researched. Thus, few scientists have explored the abovementioned issue (Lasandra).
It is well known that steroid drugs are still considered to be the most effective means in terms of improving the sports performance. Since the 1950s, anabolic steroidsfirmly won their place in the world of sports, because they are substantially powerful drugs and are capable to bring their users to the highest level of achievements. They can do a miracle: just a few months after having started using steroids, sportsmen are able to receive a solid muscular weight, achieve the developed body and improve the quality of muscles.
Nevertheless, anabolic steroids are not “wonder-working” means. The steroid abuse leads to a life-threatening health problems such as damage to the liver, cardiovascular problems, enlargement of the heart, high blood pressure, prostate cancer. As a result, there is a considerably greater risk of stroke and heart attack. Some researches admit the presence of the aggressiveness in the behavior of steroids abusers.