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What do all these names have in common? Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, Flex Wheeler and Rich Piana, yet many may say that it’s the fact that they all looked superhumans being 10x the size of a normal human or that they were all regarded as the top bodybuilders of all time at some point of history. Those are both true statements but I’m regarding to a much darker similarity one which is often brought up, but as often as it is brought up its disregarded as a normal practice. If you are still asking what the practice is it the use of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS), but what’s AAS it’s a super synthetic form of testosterone which is illegally used in the sport of bodybuilding increase muscle growth and performance at an astronomical level compared to a natural builder. The following text will explain what steroids are, what the positive effects steroids and finally what are the negative effects of steroids.
According to Medical News Today “AAS are synthetic versions of the primary male hormone, testosterone. They affect many parts of the body, including the muscles, bones, hair follicles, liver, kidneys, blood, immune system, reproductive system and the central nervous system” (“Anabolic Steroids: Uses, Abuse, and Side Effects”). AAS weren’t always created for such vile purpose originally testosterone was synthesized in Germany in 1935 to treat depression, but not long after its creation in 1954 Russian athletes got their hands on the anabolic steroids and began using them to weightlift in the Olympics of that year. Soon in about the 1980s steroids made their way into general population to both athletes and nonathletes around the world looking to either increase their aesthetic appearance or extreme weightlifting performance (National Institute on Drug Abuse). The most popular AAS or Anabolic Performance Enhancing Drugs (APEDs) include anadrol, oxandrin, dianabol, winstrol, deca-durabolin, and equipoise (“Anabolic Steroids”).
Those and other steroids are taken a number of different ways which include orally in pill form, intramuscularly via syringe injection or through a less common technique either gel or cream for which is rubbed on the skin, but there are numerous different techniques on how you can take that are cycling, stacking, pyramiding, and plateauing. To briefly describe those, cycling
“Steroid Cycles – Basics and Example Programs.” Anabolic.org, 7 Apr. 2017, anabolic.org/steroid-cycles/. Figure 1.
is when you have a specific time or schedule where you alternate on whether you are on or off a specific steroid or steroid ( See example Fig, 1), stacking is a method of using multiple types of steroids or stacking them to reach a higher level or specific goal, pyramiding which is the next method that is believe to be better but not scientifically proven includes a process of usually 6-12 week where you would start at a low dose of AAS and thought that time you would gradually increase to your max dosage then go to an absolute zero dosage where you will give your hormonal system to recuperate, and the last and the most complex one of them all is plateauing where you can stagger, overlap or substitute with other types of steroids to avoid tolerance and get the most effects (National Institute on Drug Abuse). According to the Kanayama “The vast majority of people who misuse steroids are male non-athlete weightlifters in their 20s or 30s (“Steroid Cycles – Basics and Example Programs”). Due to the high levels of trafficking illicit steroids congress passed the Anabolic Steroid Act in 1990 which classified AAS to its own class which covered over 12 different substances, but in 2004 they also “banned over-the-counter steroid precursors; increased penalties for making, selling, or possessing illegal steroid precursors; and provided funds for preventative educational efforts” (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
According to Medline Plus AAS were used to treat hormonal problems in men which were either delayed puberty or excessive muscle loss from certain diseases (“Anabolic Steroids” Medline). Also, the United States government used the steroids in World War 2 to aid malnourished soldiers in gaining weight and eventually increasing their performance, so much that soon after it helped some of the soldier-athletes in the competitions after the war (“Anabolic Steroids “Cesar). Eventually, there was a new discovered and it was in the sport of bodybuilding it was like the nitrous to muscle building and nothing else could compare. Above the most popular AAS include these benefits: Anadrol is considered to be the most powerful of the anabolic steroids possible due to its high anabolic activity it can cause 20-30 pounds of muscle within a 6 week span(“Anadrol (Oxymetholone”), Oxandrolone or Anavar was designed to have a very strong separation of anabolic and androgenic effect, and no significant estrogenic or pregestational activity it can provide significant muscle and strength gain without significance side effects, as this is usually used by dieting bodybuilders, swimmers or track athletes because it can gain pure muscle without water or fat retention(“Anavar Oxandrolone”)
, Dianabol is a AAS which was synthesized so the androgenic properties are decreased and the anabolic tissue building properties increase for physique improvement purposes(“Dianabol methandrostenolone”), Deca-durabolin is a less intensive slow release AAS that promotes lean muscle gain without high side effects(“Deca-Durabolin nandrolone decanoate”), Equipoise which was created as a cheaper alternative to Deca with higher androgenic level and could commonly replace Deca in cycles with change of result. So, the effect of steroids is that it increases muscle mass and testosterone at an abnormal level to either retain water in muscle for building material or promote lean muscle gain.
The negative effects of AAS are extremely risky and often fatal among athletes or bodybuilders. For Over the Counter purposes in special prescribed medical situation AAS are completely safe with controlled risk but, often is not the case with athletes because studies show that they overuse the safe usually prescribed dosages by 10-100 times (“Anabolic Steroids: Uses, Abuse, and Side Effects”). According to NHS there are a spread amount of sides effect through men and women which have a much higher effect in men that are reduced sperm count, infertility, shrunken testicles, erectile dysfunction, baldness, breast development, increased risk in prostate cancer, severe acne and stomach pain. Also, the side effects in women are facial and body hair growth, loss of breast, swelling of clitoris, deepened voice, increased sex drive, problems in periods, and hair loss. Resulting in terrible side effect taking steroids dose not only effect you physical it affects the mental in both men and women it can create aggressive behavior, mood swings, paranoia, manic behavior, hallucinations, and addiction which has its own effects. The fatal side effects of steroid in both men and women are heart attack, stroke, liver and kidney failure, hypertension, blood clots, fluid retention and high cholesterol (“Anabolic steroid misuse”).
In conclusion though AAS was not created for such uses as bodybuilding or misuse in sports, but for a medical conditions it has been alienated for its vast range of side effects and various deaths due to its use. The following essay explained what steroids are, what were the positive effects in health and bodybuilding and the negative effect when used out side of its purposed use for treatment and not a sports shortcut for, anything either used in an adverse way that is was supposed to or overused promotes a risk often fatal gives AAS a classification near opioids or narcotics. In a closing statement studies show that you shouldn’t take steroids unless medically prescribed because the benefits do not outweigh the fatal risk.
- NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/anabolic-steroid-misuse/.
- “Anabolic Steroids.” CESAR, www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/steroids.asp.
- “Anabolic Steroids.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 30 Apr. 2019, medlineplus.gov/anabolicsteroids.html.
- “Anabolic Steroids: Uses, Abuse, and Side Effects.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/men/anabolic-steroids#1-1.
- “Anadrol (Oxymetholone).” Anabolic.org, 14 Apr. 2017, anabolic.org/anadrol-oxymetholone/.
- “Anavar (Oxandrolone).” Anabolic.org, 7 Apr. 2017, anabolic.org/anavar-oxandrolone/.
- “Deca-Durabolin (Nandrolone Decanoate).” Anabolic.org, 7 Apr. 2017, anabolic.org/deca-durabolin-nandrolone-decanoate/.
- “Dianabol (Methandrostenolone).” Anabolic.org, 7 Apr. 2017, anabolic.org/dianabol-methandrostenolone/.
- “Equipoise (Boldenone Undecylenate).” Anabolic.org, 7 Apr. 2017, anabolic.org/equipoise-boldenone-undecylenate/.
- Kanayama, Gen, and Harrison G. Pope. “History and Epidemiology of Anabolic Androgens in Athletes and Non-Athletes.” Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, vol. 464, 2018, pp. 4–13., doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2017.02.039.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What Is the History of Anabolic Steroid Use?” NIDA, Feb. 2018, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/steroids-other-appearance-performance-enhancing-drugs-apeds/what-history-anabolic-steroid-use.
- “Steroid Cycles – Basics and Example Programs.” Anabolic.org, 7 Apr. 2017, anabolic.org/steroid-cycles/.
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