Who does not know the anabolic steroids?
Of course, in popular parlance the “anabolic” is anything in the form of a pill or powder, similar to “doping”. It is misleading to say that it is not always and only this one way of interpretation! First of all, let’s find out what the Anabolic steroids are; their therapeutic uses; finally we will see what happens in case of use and abuse in the sports field.
Yes, this will be a boring pseudo-medical article with complicated names that will tell you little or nothing, but at least it will serve to clarify many theoretical concepts that yes, can also lead to practice.
What Are Steroids?
Why did I specify “anabolic” steroids? Of the steroid family, derived from sterols biosynthesized through the path of mevalonic acid, there are in fact anabolics such as testosterone, or the corticosteroxygen hormones, including mainly cortisol.
Both types, being from the same family, derive from cholesterol; but we will only be interested in the anabolic ones. Going even further into the details we see the steroid hormones that are subdivided into various categories, purely of a sexual nature, with the androgens of which the progenitor is certainly the best known testosterone, of a masculine nature; estrogens, with estradiol progenitor, of a purely feminine nature.
Obviously we are minimizing, but all to make your life easier!
Androgens and Estrogens
We have divided into these two large groups our steroid hormones: Androgens, of a masculine nature. Estrogens, of a feminine nature. In addition to their names, however, we are also interested in knowing their trades and therefore, penetrating as little as possible into the world of “Let’s explore the human body”, what do Androgens do?
Products of the adrenal glands and of the sexual ones (from the testicles in the man, from the ovaries in the woman) perform their endogenous function at different levels, mainly acting on muscular and bone tropism, with relative increase and maintenance of muscular strength and bone density; not to mention the sperm function and libido. The fact remains that the major changes occur at puberty, and then maintained as an adult.
Estrogens have decidedly similar functions on the female organism, but all predisposing to future gestation and therefore, I leave. Increase and maintenance of bone density, lipogenesis, growth of secondary sexual characteristics and also regulate the menstrual cycle. It’s all very beautiful and interesting is not it? These two groups of hormones essential for sex growth and differentiation work in very wide spectrum! But since we want to deal with testosterone abuse as doping, why include estrogen too? Simple.
Because the hormones Androgens (including testosterone) are basically, precursors of estrogen and, from here, here is the reason for some of the side effects of steroid abuse.
Effects with the Taking of Anabolics
Among the most commonly used steroid anabolic steroids in doping with the aim of improving their sporting performance, we certainly find the plurinominato testosterone.
But who mainly abuses it? It is convenient and customary to combine it with athletes as semi-professional bodybuilders and / or professionals, or anyone else who has to deal with the lifting of large cast-iron discs … but it is not!
The abuse of testosterone has been and still is very present in the endurance world, in sports such as marathon, swimming, cycling … because of its induction to produce higher erythropoietin (EPO), glycoprotein hormone of renal origin. to stimulate the production of red blood cells at the level of the bone marrow, looking for a greater ability to transport oxygen. All this translates into better aerobic performance.
If we add the increase in muscle mass and strength, we get dizzy endurance performance! Let’s take a step back to our dear body builders. Testosterone was one of the founders in doping for muscle growth since the early 60s, once injected directly into the vein, today thanks to the most sophisticated drug technologies, also available in comfortable and even more powerful tablets.
It owes its peculiar hypertrophic capacity also (and above all) thanks to the insulin stimulation that this hormone is able to induce. In fact, if the anabolic steroids are insulin-stimulating, the catabolizing Steorides are glucagon-stimulating. Insulin is a very powerful anabolic hormone concatenated in the presence of testosterone, thanks to which we have an increase in protein synthesis and therefore, indirectly, an increase in muscle strength due to the increase in the cross section of muscle fibers, especially type IIa and IIb.
Greater muscle mass and greater strength will induce greater mechanical stress on the skeleton, leading directly to a greater reorganization of the bone tissue and to a direct increase thereof; not to mention the overstimulation of osteoblasts, cells responsible for bone growth, and osteocytes, quiescent bone cells that can resume their osteoblastic activity in the event of trauma.
In addition to the abuse in the world of sports doping, the effects of steroids are also used for medical purposes, especially in replacement therapies in somatic growth retardation in puberty; but even in adulthood there can be very useful applications, as in the treatment of some serious types of anemia; in osteoporosis in the elderly; in the treatment of relevant burns; even to cure AIDS. All these posologies are possible thanks to the anabolic effects described above and should not be underestimated!
All that glitters is not gold, and the time has come to understand the side effects of not using anabolic steroids, but their abuse! We assume that these follow a negative feed-back regulation (like most of the hormones) according to which if our body detects an excessive amount of a given hormone circulating in the body, to have a metabolic homeostasis it will be inhibited the secretion; vice versa if there are low quantities the synthesis and secretion will be stimulated.
It is by itself that if I take from the outside a substance that my body already produces in physiologically adequate doses (in non-pathological cases of course) it will automatically inhibit the endogenous synthesis, with a whole series of consequences in the medium to long term not really funny, as in this case infertility due to reduced spermogenesis in male gonads. Then the masculinizing effects of testosterone are obviously recognized on the female gender, such as hirsutism; lowering of the tone of the voice and clitoral hypertrophy.
Being the anabolic in generis, insulino-stimulant as said, the pancreas will be perpetually over-stimulated with increasing percentage of probabilities of contracted type II diabetes. More anabolics in the blood means more sterotes; more steroids means greater free cholesterol in the blood; increased cholesterol in blood flow results with all the consequences resulting from a hypercholesterolemia often associated with a dyslipidemia given the high-calorie eating habits often combined with the intake of anabolics.
What are Anabolic Steroids?
So we will see a typical case affected by more or less severe hypertension; increased probability of arterial thrombus; lower circle of HDL; heart fatigued and therefore pathologically hypertrophic and therefore more exposed to myocardial infarction and other possible related diseases.
If on the one hand a contained and wisely measured amount of testosterone is used in medicine to prevent and treat some types of cancer; a disproportionate quantity of androgens will turn out to be pro-carcinogenic due to their conversion into estrogen by an aromatization reaction (assisted mainly by the aromatase enzyme), which by their nature increase cell proliferation; increased cellular splitting will increase the likelihood of plastic disorganization with formation of dysplasias, severe dysplasias and in the last stage neoplasia.
Last but not so important are the injuries to the musculoskeletal system as voluminous and strong muscle masses physically weigh on the tendons and ligaments. If we then add disproportionate tonnages 6 days out of 7, it will not take long to stretch, contractures, tears and so on and so forth.
The fact remains that apart from a gigantic physical damage, the abuse of anabolic steroids is also a great psychological damage, as it can also lead to over-stimulation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and ephedrine; not to mention the damage done to their ego as a human individual and to the loved ones that surround the athlete who uses it, generating a vicious circle of lawlessness and precarious psycho-physical health.