Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports Fast FactsAP As long as there have been sports, there have been athletes trying to gain an edge at any cost. But in the modern world of designer drugs and a cutthroat media that leaves no stone unturned, no use or abuse of performance enhancing drugs goes unnoticed. Many of the greatest moments in sports over the last 20 years have had the specter of drugs hanging over them, making the inevitable scandals as much a part of the game as anabolic steroids sports history scores. At the turn of the last century, the marathon was considered to be at the limits anabolic steroids sports history human endurance, prompting what was perhaps the Olympics' first doping "scandal. Thomas Hicks, a British-born American, was how to use proviron pct late in the race, when his handler stepped in to give him brandy and an injection of strychnine - a.
ANABOLIC STEROIDS | The Sport Journal
However, by the s, their use had entered sports. Athletes all over the world were using steroids to improve their performance in sports, and even in the Olympics. But during the early s, athletes had started abusing steroids so much that in the Olympics, 10 athletes were disqualified from taking part in any event. Steroids are used in sports mainly to enhance the performance of athletes.
Generally, the steroids used in sports are anabolic ones. Such steroids are used by both amateur and professional athletes. Many steroids originated from testosterone — a male hormone. Medically, the steroids which are derived from this hormone are used for curative reasons.
That is why steroids have been in use since much before they were discovered as ergogenic drugs. However, testosterone is not the only hormone that can improve performance. Testosterone is produced naturally in the body of any animal. It creates alertness and aggressiveness to improve performance. That is why early athletes used to take some form of medication to boost the production of testosterone in their body.
The aborigines of Australia used to chew Pituri plants for this, early Norse warriors used to eat hallucinogenic mushrooms, and ancient Mayans used cocoa to enhance their abilities. The people of ancient Greece had a more gruesome tradition, however. Before any competition, some athletes used to chew raw animal testicles. If that was unavailable, they also used to eat sesame seeds to boost their performance.
There were other similar traditions all over the world for enhancing performance. The need for winning competitions can be extremely powerful. The first modern experiment done on testosterone was by a German zoologist and physiologist Arnold Adolph Berthold.
His experiments were based on removing and transplanting the testicles of cockerels. Later, in , Adolf Butenandt, a chemist from Germany, extracted the hormone androsterone from urine and purified it. After this, research on steroids started in full-fledge all over the world. A few years later, in , Butenandt, along with another chemist, Dr. Leopold Ruzicka, created the first synthetic testosterone. This discovery won them the Nobel Prize in chemistry in the year By , humans had already received testosterone-propionate injections, and steroids had entered athletics in the Soviet Union.
Such was the power of these chemicals, that the Soviet Union gained dominance over the entire sports world. By , another steroid called Dianabol had been approved for use by humans. After this, the use of steroids became widespread in sports as well as athletics. By the s, innumerable new steroids had been developed and used by humans, and by the s, steroids were freely available in local medical stores.
Notably, majority of research on such steroids was carried out in Germany. Also known as anabolic-androgenic steroids or AAS, anabolic steroids are drugs that can produce effects similar to testosterone in the human body. They have the ability to increase lean muscle mass by building muscle tissue because they act like natural body hormones.
They can increase the level of proteins inside cells and in skeletal muscles. They can also reinforce and maintain male characteristics like growth of body hair and testicles.
These drugs can also increase vigor and attentiveness in athletes, which contributes to an improvement in their sports performance. But athletes should not equate this to an increase in their athletic prowess or agility. Hormones in general have two effects on the human body — to increase the muscle tissue anabolic effect , and to create sexual characteristics androgenic effect.
Anabolic steroids have been designed so that they concentrate on creating muscle mass while lessening the androgenic effect. Muscle mass is changed by these steroids in the following way. First, they boost protein production in the body.
Proteins are what muscles are made of. Next, they affect the way the cortisol hormone acts on muscles, and slows down the break-down of existing muscle tissue. They also promote the differentiation of cells into muscle tissue rather than fat. But when taken in high doses for a long time, anabolic steroids can produce highly adverse side effects in the human body.
Though life-threatening situations have been less, the potential of harm from steroids is quite high. They can alter cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and can also cause liver damage.
Teenagers are the ones who are at risk of danger from the use of steroids since it can result in stunted growth. Using anabolic steroids in sports has been in controversy for a long time because of the adverse effects they have on the human body. AAS is the steroid which has been detected the most during drug tests for any competition. Anabolic steroids are different from medical steroids like hydrocortisone or prednisone, which are used for the treatment of diseases like skin inflammation or asthma.
Chemically derived from testosterone, anabolic steroids can be used for treating diseases like some types of cancer, connective tissue disease, blood disorders, some sexual disorders, and intractable arthritis. Some anabolic steroids may be administered in order to promote bone growth and appetite, induce puberty in males, diminish the wastage of muscles from diseases like AIDS, and can also be used as male contraceptive. They are available as injections, oral steroid pills, and skin patches.
Apart from increasing strength and endurance, they can also be used to rehabilitate, as well as save the body from injuries. Though steroid use has become commonplace these days, caution must be exerted while using these drugs.
They should only be used or purchased if they are medically prescribed by experienced professionals. Illegal steroids should be avoided so that the body is protected from unnecessary side effects. Due to all the medical advantages that steroids provide to an individual, athletes use them to achieve an edge in their performance. Apart from removing fatigue and letting them train for hours, steroids also act as a buffer to lactic acid which causes muscle pain during physical exertions.
Steroids also contain the hormones that can boost quicker recovery from injuries. Since steroids can increase endurance levels multiple times, athletes find it easier to run faster and improve their performance in sports.
In women, greater effects can be achieved through much less doses of anabolic steroids. This is because the female body has only minimal amounts of male hormones and giving even a small dose of steroids can multiply their strength many times. The performance improvements achieved through steroids do not look unreal, but are yet dramatic. Since steroids are generally water-based, they can traverse the body in only two days and become untraceable.
This is an important reason why most sportspersons choose to use steroids to build their physique as well as improve their performance. Besides a desire to win, some athletes also have desires to break previous records or to do something spectacular that nobody has done yet. Audiences love excitement, and athletes want to meet the expectations of the audience. So it is unfair to blame only the athletes for taking steroids, because the expectations of the audiences are also a determining factor which spurs athletes to enhance their performance.
However, the best effects of steroids can only be achieved when taken alongside a rigorous training regime and a proper, healthy diet. Athletes also need a good coach and have to be genetically inclined for athletics. If any of these four factors are lacking, then optimal results cannot be achieved through the use of steroids. It has been shown in studies that experienced weight-lifters can lift almost as much weight without steroids as with them, but this may be just because they feel psychologically weaker without steroids.
Less experienced athletes, however, were able to lift much less without steroids than with them. These results prove that the actual potential of experienced professionals are not much influenced by steroids, but those who are still developing can gain a large enhancement in their performance from the use of steroids. Since most people are negatively predisposed towards them, steroids have a negative impact on them. But that does not mean steroids are only harmful.
Using steroids judiciously never poses any harm for the body. Steroids only become dangerous when abused. Taken under expert guidance and for the right motives, steroids can give athletes an edge over others in their performance. But, unless done right, it can result in a drastic consequence, the examples of which are strewn all across the history of sports. Bodies cannot be built overnight, and athletes must not go beyond their bodily capabilities to achieve what they dream of.
Before starting on steroids, an athlete must always seek medical supervision. There should always be a healthy amount of conversation between the athlete and his doctor. If the athlete in question has any health problem or allergies, then he should disclose that to his doctor and schedule his steroid usage accordingly. Taking legal steroids and high quality steroids is also important for the health of an athlete. If the athlete is taking steroids in cycles , then he should make sure that he follows the schedule accurately.
There is some danger of a high build-up of estrogen after each cycle due to the reduction of testosterone levels in the body. To avoid harm from excess estrogen levels, anti-estrogen medication may be taken.
The use or abuse of steroids lies in the hands of an athlete. By making judicious use of steroids, an athlete can reap maximum benefits in terms of sports performance. But by abusing the drug, he can put his life in danger. Many athletes who have never used steroids before are apprehensive of starting. So, they research a lot on all types of steroids and also on steroid cycles before starting. But they never think of what will happen when they want to stop taking steroids and how their body will be affected.
At some point, all athletes have to come off steroids. Understanding how and when to do it is important in order to stay away from health risks.