Anabolic steroids are drugs that give the same effect as testosterone. These drugs, which are technically known as anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), increase the protein within the cells in the skeletal muscles. Anabolic steroids also have properties that are androgenic – including masculine characteristics like growth of the vocal cords, body hair and testicles. The word androgenic is derived from the Greek words andros, which is literally translated as “of a man”, and genes meaning born. |
Anabolic steroids were first manufactured in the 1930s. Today, these anabolic steroids are used in medicine in a variety of usage – including bone growth, increasing appetite, treating cancers and inducing male puberty. Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), combined with proper diet and exercise, can increase lean mass in the body and gives muscular strength.
The development of the AAS continued in the 1940s, in the Soviet Union and Eastern Germany, and was used to enhance the performance of Olympic and amateur weight lifters. Due to the success of the Russian weightlifters, the US Olympic Team physician, Dr. John Ziegler, developed an anabolic steroid called in the market as Dianabol. This new steroid was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States in 1958. It was commonly given to the elderly and victims of burn but was also used by bodybuilders and weight lifters.
Anabolic steroids can be injected or taken orally. Oral administration of anabolic steroids is the most comfortable means. The injectable steroids are typically administered into the muscles. Other ways of administering anabolic steroids includes creams and gels for topical application and skin patches.
Anabolic steroids have two main effects – anabolic and androgenic. Anabolic effect means these steroids promote anabolism or cell growth while androgenic effects include the development and maintenance of characteristics that are masculine. Examples of the anabolic effects of these steroids include increase appetite, increase bone growth and stimulation of bone marrow, formation of muscle cells and increase in skeletal muscles. Some of the masculine effects (androgenic) of taking steroids include pubertal growth, increased vocal cord, and increase libido.
Anabolic steroids also give the benefit of increased body weight and strength improvements. A study spanning more than 30 years found out that anabolic steroids can increase the body weight by as much as 2-5 kilograms of short term use (less than 10 weeks). Intake of steroids also has effects on lean body mass and the formation of new muscles. The areas of the body that are more prone to these increase in body mass are the neck, shoulders, thorax and upper arm. This same study also observed that there is 5-20% increase in the baseline strength on people taking anabolic steroids. The exercise that has the most significant improvement was seen in bench presses.
Beginning with the discovery and synthesis of testosterone in the 1930s, several physicians used anabolic steroids in many purposes, including the treatment of several medical conditions. Anabolic steroids were used in the therapy of anaemia since it stimulates the growth of blood cell precursors. Anabolic steroids can also be used to treat children with growth failure, and was also used in the induction of male puberty for many boys that were distressed about the extreme delay of puberty.
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