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Anabolic Steroids Essay, Research Paper

Anabolic steroids (steroids for short) are used widely among bodybuilders to

increase their testosterone, thus to get ?stacked? or larger. Steroids seem to be a

wonderful thing for these bodybuilders, but very few of them know just how they work

and what the effects are.


The word ?anabolic? portrays any substance, which accumulates nitrogen in

muscle protein and from there builds muscle tissue. The body?s natural anabolic steroid

is called testosterone, which men (naturally) obtain more of, than women do.

Testosterone brings on the development of speed, mass, endurance, definition, and

strength. Testosterone is naturally released into the blood stream, goes to different

locations, accomplishes its goal, and is broken down by enzymes. This process is done

rather quickly. Eventually chemists discovered how to modify testosterone molecules to

make them last longer, and this is how anabolic steroids came into play.

What Steroids do (biologically)?

In a normal body, the procedures of catabolism (breaking down and removal of old cells)

and anabolism (building up of new cells) are in an equilibrium. When anabolic steroids

are used, this balance is thrown off by the supremacy of the building up of new cells, and

from cells come muscle, so therefore muscle mass is increased. As previously stated, all

anabolic steroids are chemical derivatives of testosterone. Because testosterone has a

short biological half-life, pharmacological use requires the steroid to be altered to slow

metabolism by the liver. Commonly, oral steroids are modified by alkylation (replacing

H with a CH3 group), and injectable steroids are modified by esterification of the

hydroxyl group.

Anabolic steroids work by coupling with the cytoplasmic androgen receptor,

where the steroid-receptor complex moves into the nucleus and binds to DNA. The

steroid and receptor may also dissociate in the nucleus and act on DNA separately, but it

is uncertain if this actually happens. Testosterone may also inhibit the catabolic pathway

associated with glucocorticoids, but this is also uncertain as to whether this is affiliated

with an interaction between testosterone and glucocorticoid or the nuclear manner of the

steroid-receptor complex. In the nucleus steroids seem to intensify specific gene material.

Then mRNA is prepared to be sent out of the nucleus, leaving increased protein

synthesis. If the complex inhibits the catabolic enzymes then it is possible that catabolic

inhibition may also occur in the nucleus. By looking at the concentration of the androgen

receptor, it is an example of how sensitive it is. Skeletal muscle typically contains 0.5-3

femto (1E-12) moles per milligram of protein, at the same time other androgen sensitive

organs, may have up to 25 times more receptors.

Oral Steroids and their effect on The Liver

Oral steroids have a negative effect on the liver due to the fact that they have an alkyl

group (methyl or ethyl) assembled at the 17-alpha position. The 17-beta hydroxyl (OH)

is now changed from a secondary to an unoxidizable teritary one (an irregular disfigure),

which obstructs the natural hepatic oxidation of the 17 hydroxyl group. When this

metabolic inactivation is blocked, the liver turns to less proficient and more complex

mechanisms of inactivation. Injectable steroids are conceived to go in the system and get

hydrolyzed and become a natural metabolizable secondary 17-beta hydroxyl steroid, and

are not considered to be dangerous to the liver.

Common/Known Effects of Steroid Use

Water retention is a known sign of a steroid user. Usually the neck and facial are

become puffy, or puffier than normal. It may be hard to recognize in someone you first

met, but once his or her steroid use is complete, you can see the difference. Acne is

another effect through steroid use. A person who has never had a problem can develop

one from steroids. Also acne can appear in places that were never a problem. The

formation of breast-like glands can arise, this is called gynecomastia. Roid rages or

overly aggressive behavior can take place through steroid use. People often joke about

the term ?roid rage?, but it is not a joke. People who use steroids often find that their

performance during their workouts are enhanced because they can take out their

aggression through lifting more, but they also take aggression out on other parts of their

surroundings (people around them, walls, slamming doors, etc). High blood pressure can

become a problem after or during steroid use. Because steroids affect cholesterol levels

(by clogging the arteries), heart problems may arise in steroid users. The elevated level

on the nervous system can trigger heart Palpitations. When a steroid user begins using,

sexual arousal increases, but eventually impotence can occur when the user goes on and

off of steroids. When high dosages of steroids are used, a painful liver disease called

Jaundice can develop. Jaundice involves an enlarged liver, flu-like symptoms, and

yellowing of the skin and eyes. Cataracts or glaucoma may develop in the eyes.

Cushings syndrome may develop with long-term use, this involves dark marks on the

skin, puffiness of the face, and possible facial hair in women. Women can also

experience Osteoporosis due to the calcium loss. Because steroids can increase the

output of stomach acid and lower the production of protective stomach mucus, irritation

of the stomach can occur. Blood sugar levels may change, an increase of appetite, an

increase of delayed healing of injuries, menstrual changes in women.

How Are They Used/Purchased by the General Public?

Anabolic steroids are acquired through the black market, and sometimes even veterinary

anabolic steroids are consumed. On the average, people taking anabolic steroids use

methods heard by word of mouth rather than using scientific experiments. There is a

term used to describe the way steroids are used, its called ?stacking?. This term denotes

the immense amounts of anabolic steroids taken and the use of more than one type of

steroid at the same time. Instead of constantly taking large doses of steroids, people take

vast amounts for about a month to 1 1/2yr, then stop for a period of time before they take

them again. This system is known as ?cycling?.

In conclusion, the use of anabolic steroids is not a healthy alternative to

increasing your muscles. Steroids alter a trait that you already have. The question

steroid users should ask themselves is ?Do I want to look good now and damage myself

internally, risking my future health?? Most steroid users do not have a remote idea about

what these drugs do to them. In turn they unknowingly damage their DNA and cause

future problems for themselves.




Arnold, Patrick. The chemistry: Steroids and the Liver. Issue No.1. .

Growth Hormone Information. Growth Hormone Revolution. PHD

Pharmaceuticals. .

Healthworks 2000,


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