Since ancient history, many athletes have resorted to performance enhancing aids to give them an edge on their opponents. Greek Olympians used strychnine and hallucinogenic mushrooms to psych up for an event. "In 1886 a French cyclist was the first athlete to die from using a performance enhancer, called speedballs, a mixture of cocaine and heroin. In the 1920's, physicians inserted slices of monkey testicles into male athletes to help boost vitality. In the 1930's Aldof Hitler allegedly administered the hormone testosterone to himself and his troops to increase aggressiveness" (Schrof, 54). Athletes had already begun using the male hormone testosterone to boost performance by the 1940's. The first synthetic anabolic steroid was developed in 1953, having a strength building effect five times stronger than the natural hormone testosterone. Not since the development of the anabolic steroid has any performance enhancer been so effective and so desired by athletes. Today, black market sales of anabolic steroids are topping $400 million per year. One million Americans, half of them adolescents, use black market steroids (Schrof, 54).
Anabolic steroids are synthetic compounds that resemble the natural male sex hormone testosterone. Male hormones have two different effects in the body. Hormones have an anabolic effect, which stimulates growth, and they have an androgenic effect, which increases male sexual characteristics. Anabolic steroids are constructed synthetically to maximize the anabolic (growth) effect and minimize the androgenic (male characteristic) effect. Steroids are molecules that occur naturally in the body and are carried in the bloodstream and act as messengers. The most important of these messages tell the body to increase creatine phosphate synthesis and to increase protein synthesis (Schwarzenegger, 722). These messages are delivered at various ratios depending upon the type of steroid.
Creatine phosphate and...
Cited: Schrof, Joannie M. "Pumped Up." US News and World Report, June 1, 1992,
Volume 12 Issue 21, p54. Schwarzenegger, Arnold. "Anabolic Steroids and
Ergogenic Aids." The Encyclopedia of Modern
Bodybuilding. New York: Simon and Schuster. Pgs. 721-730. "Health
Report." Time, June 14, 1993, Vol. 141 Issue 24, p16.
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