Anabolic Steroids and Other Supplemental Drugs.
"Anabolic steroids are defined as any group of synthetic derivatives of testosterone, that have anabolic properties and relatively weak androgenic properties that are used mainly to promote growth and repair body tissues" (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 2000) Drugs like Strychnine, cocaine, heroin and ethyl alcohol that were used commonly at the turn of the century were quickly replaced by amphetamines and more importantly, anabolic steroids as means of boasting ones power in sport. (Kennedy par. 1) Since their invention, anabolic steroids have been in steady use since the early 1960s (Kennedy par. 1). There are many uses of anabolic steroids but their most sought-after and controversial use is for muscle building and muscle enhancing for sport. The way they work to build muscle is what is desired from athletes.
"Male hormones, mostly testosterone, are partially responsible for the tremendous developmental changes that occur during puberty and adolescence. These include enlargement of the penis and testes, voice changes, hair growth on the face, axilla, and genital areas, and increased aggressiveness. " (Fahey par. 3) The changes to the male are referred to as androgenic. These androgenic effects also produce anabolic effects, which contribute to the accelerated growth of muscle, bone, and red blood cells and enhanced neural conduction. (Fahey par. 4).
The way the steroid actually works is by stimulating receptor molecules in the muscle cells. This activates specific genes to produce proteins. (Fahey par. 5) Steroids may also block the catabolic effects of cortisol, which is involved in tissue breakdown during and after exercise. Fahey par. 9) It blocks receptor sites of hormones so they do not catabolize into other forms such as carbohydrates (Fahey par. 9).
This anti-catabolic aspect has lead to the use of this drug for many legal uses.