Anabolic Steroids and Bodybuilding

Nearly every major sport has been tainted by the use of anabolic steroids in the last 30 years.  Major controversy has surrounded the Olympics for certain athletes testing positive for different steroidal compounds.  Many pro players in the last decade have been criticized for their use of steroids during league play.  The most heavily broadcasted results were made public when Bonds and McGuire came forward.  All these athletes have been under major scrutiny, lost medals, lost sponsorships, and even had their households broken up due to the issues.   This has spawned a huge crackdown on blackmarket steroid sales in Mexico and the Europe, being the main exporters of these illegal substances.

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Even with all this publicity regarding the widespread use of steroids in the United States and the large number of short and long-term side effects of steroids, it is still a topic that is taboo to speak of in the bodybuilding realm.  It is very contractory in nature.  The media and general public speak openly about steroids and mainstream sports, yet in a sport where steroids, unfortunately seem to be a part of the game, steroids are rarely spoken of.  There are no statistics on the topic, but it would be very safe to assume that over 80% of all pro bodybuilders take, or have taken illegal steroids in their lifetime.  How did it get this way?


The bodybuilding athletes are judged only on appearance, not how they got to that condition.  The judging criteria offers more points to the larger, more muscular, and more conditioned athletes.  Steroids obviously assist in the bodybuilder’s goals of attaining this look.   Over time, bodybuilding degenerated from the more attainable, reasonable look of the 70’s bodybuilders, to the freakish, 300 pound monsters you see on stage today.  Perhaps there should be controls on the substances used in these events.   If you have two similarly framed athletes: one natural and the other pumping over 1000 mgs of steroids into their system weekly, the natural athlete will obviously have the disadvantage. What would bodybuilding be without steroids?  Is this a sport when there is such a clear disparity in the playing field? Fortunately, there’s a legal alternative to anabolic steroids. Have you ever heard the concept of legal steroids? Find out more information about these legal steroid at eubookshop and see what its all about.

The answer is no.  The bodybuilder with the best chemist in his corner will have the edge.  Unless bodybuilding events become drug tested, these events will never gain mainstream appeal. It will continue to be a freakshow to the rest of the public.  In addition to this, the industry will be plagued with another aspect of bodybuilding that goes unspoken:  premature death and coronary illness due to long-term use of drugs.

Anabolic Steroids: Their Use and Abuse

Variations of testosterone can be made in synthetic forms. The most common synthetic form of testosterone is anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) or anabolic steroids. The term anabolic refers to the process of building muscle. The term androgenic refers to the buildup of the sexual characteristics of a male.

Anabolic steroids are used by physicians to treat delays in puberty and diseases that cause loss of muscle mass. This drug is commonly abused for the purposes of building muscle for aesthetics or for the enhancement of athletic performance, however.

Abusers of anabolic steroids often inject the substance into the muscles; however, there are many different ways to administer this drug. Anabolic steroid abusers almost always use much larger doses than prescribed users take.

Due to the risk of adverse side effects, steroids are not prescribed on a continuous basis. Steroids are also taxing on the body’s endocrine system. When abusers take steroids on a continuous basis, the body stops reacting to the drug and fails to generate its own testosterone levels. Some abusers mix other types of steroids, drugs, and supplements with anabolic steroids to try to reverse the body’s tolerance to anabolic steroid use. This highly abusive anabolic steroid administration method is known as stacking.

The Downside of Testosterone Treatment: Heart Attack

As a man ages, testosterone levels tend to drop. During the past decade, the number of men undergoing testosterone therapy has increased. However, a new study has found that such therapy comes at a price—an increased risk for a heart attack. The findings were published on November 6 in the Journal of the American medical Association (JAMA) by researchers at the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Colorado.

The study authors note that, in the United States, annual prescriptions for testosterone increased by more than five-fold from 2001 to 2011; in 2011, 5.3 million prescriptions were testosterone and heart attackswritten. For men with testosterone deficiency, the treatment can boost sexual function, increase bone strength, and increase strength. In addition, it can improve the ratio of “good cholesterol” over “bad cholesterol” and decrease insulin resistance; thus, lowering the risk of diabetes. All the foregoing are pluses; however, the old saying “If it’s too good to be true, it may not be” comes into play. Whether testosterone increases the risk of cardiovascular disease is controversial. Some clinical studies reported no adverse cardiovascular effects from testosterone; however, they were of short duration and had other limitations. A clinical trial published in 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine reported a significant cardiovascular risk. The study, entitled “Testosterone in Older Men with Mobility Limitations,” was conducted in older frail men with a high prevalence of cardiovascular diseases. The trial was halted prematurely because of a significant increase in cardiovascular events in the treatment group.

In view of the controversy, the authors of the current study attempted to evaluate the association between testosterone therapy and mortality from cardiovascular disease (i.e., myocardial infarction and stroke) among male veterans. They also evaluated the association among men with known coronary artery disease.

The study group comprised 8,709 men who had low testosterone levels (less than 300 ng/dL); from 2009 through 2011, these men underwent coronary angiography in the Veterans Affairs health system. (Coronary angiography evaluates coronary blood flow and can detect narrowed and blocked vessels.) The retrospective (backward-looking) study determined the number of men who died from any cause, a myocardial infarction, or stroke.

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Among the men in the study group, 1,223 patients began testosterone therapy after an average of 531 days following coronary angiography. Among the total study group of 8,709 men, 1,710 events occurred; 748 men died, 443 suffered a myocardial infarction, and 519 had a stroke. Among the 1,223 patients who received testosterone therapy, 67 died, 23 suffered a myocardial infarction, and 33 had a stroke. Among the 7,486 patients who did not receive testosterone, 681 died, 420 had myocardial infarctions, and 486 had a stroke. The absolute risk of these findings was then calculated by the researchers. They found that the absolute rate of events were 19.9% in the no testosterone therapy group, compared to 25.7% in the testosterone therapy group; thus, the absolute risk difference was significant: 5.8%. Further statistical analysis supported the finding of a significantly increased risk.

The authors concluded that among this group of veterans who underwent coronary angiography and had a low serum testosterone level, testosterone therapy was associated with increased risk of adverse outcomes. They noted that their findings may facilitate a doctor-patient discussion regarding whether to embark on testosterone therapy.