Anabolic Steroid Use In The Olympics.

1889 words - 8 pages

Canadian track star Ben Johnson was denied his gold medal in the 1988 Olympics after he tested positive for anabolic steroids. This incident sparked worldwide attention to the extent of anabolic steroid use. To date, the International Olympic Committee has barred the use of seventeen anabolic steroids. Other organizations, including The National Football League, National Collegiate Athletic Association's International Amateur Athletic Federation, and the International Federation of Body Builders have followed suit. Athletes and non-athletes alike are still abusing anabolic steroids to excel in sports. Anabolic steroids belong to a group of androgenic drugs. They are synthetic derivatives of testosterone and other male hormones. Most healthy adult males produce 2-10 milligrams of testosterone per day. Females produce trace amounts of this hormone. The hormone helps the body retain dietary protein, which aids in the growth of muscles, bones, and skin. They can also affect aggressiveness and sex drive. Steroids tend to mimic testosterone's body building traits, while minimizing the masculine effect. The adrenal glands in women and young boys produce very little testosterone. It is the increase in the production of testosterone in young males that precipitates puberty. The anabolic effect of testosterone during puberty includes deepening of the voice, increasing muscle mass and strength, and decreasing body fat. All of this takes place without exercise or training. Anabolic steroids can be taken by injection, by mouth, by skin creams, or patches. Steroids are often taken in six to twelve week cycles. The dosage depends on the sport, as well as the perceived needs of the athlete. Depending on what they want to achieve, athletes control how they respond to the drug and the physiological effect it has on them. Athletes often take far higher doses of anabolic steroids than have been given for therapeutic use or in clinical studies. Some athletes use 10 to 100 times the amount their bodies produce. Anabolic steroids are primarily the result of research to develop drugs that would separate the tissue building capability of testosterone from its masculinizing properties. This separation has never been accomplished. By 1935, the basic nature of its anabolic and androgenic effects had been recognized by Dr. Charles Kochakian, who most experts consider the "Father of Steroids." He showed that a hormone-like extract from male urine stimulated a strong positive nitrogen balance in castrated dogs. A positive nitrogen balance indicated the synthesis of new tissue proteins in dogs and humans. The anabolic properties of testosterone were established. Further research in rats showed the positive nitrogen balance was also associated with non-fat body weight. Through the 1940's, scientists attempted to achieve the tissue-building effects without the masculinizing effects of testosterone. Dr. Kochakian, concerned with the possible misuse of anabolic steroids wrote, "All...

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