Juiced, roid – raged, hyped, and pumped are all words to describe the effects of using anabolic steroids. For better or worse, The Book of Bizarre Truths says steroids have invaded the worlds of professional and amateur sports, and even show business.
Anabolic steroids (also called anabolic – androgenic steroids, or AAS) are a specific class of hormones that are related to the male hormone testosterone. Steroids have been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine to promote healing in diseases such as cancer and AIDS. French neurologist Charles – Edouard Brown – Sequard was one of the first physicians to report its healing properties after injecting himself with an extract of guinea pig testicles in 1889.
In 1935 two German scientists applied for the first steroid – use patent and were offered the 1939 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, but the Nazi government forced them to decline the honor.
Interest in steroids continued during World War II. Third Reich scientists experimented on concentration camp inmates to treat symptoms of chronic wasting as well as to test its effects on heightened aggression in German soldiers. Even Adolf Hitler was injected with steroids to treat his endless list of maladies.
The first reference to steroid use for performance enhancement in sports dates back to a 1938 Strength and Health magazine letter to the editor, inquiring how steroids could improve performance in weightlifting and bodybuilding. During the 1940s, the Soviet Union and a number of Eastern Bloc countries built aggressive steroid programs designed to improve the performance of Olympic and amateur weight – lifters. The program was so successful that U.S. Olympic team physicians worked with American chemists to design Dianabol, which they administered to U.S. athletes.
The use of steroids has become commonplace in baseball, football, cycling, track, golf, and cricket. In a 2006 survey, steroid use was measured in eighth-, tenth-, and twelfth – grade students. A little more than 2% of male high school seniors admitted to using steroids during the past year.
Steroids can promote cell growth, protein synthesis from amino acids, increase appetite, bone strengthening, and stimulate bone marrow and production of red blood cells. Side effects include shrinking testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, acne, high blood pressure, blood clotting, liver damage, headaches, aching joints, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of sleep, severe mood swings, paranoia, panic attacks, depression, male pattern baldness, the cessation of menstruation in women, and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Many countries have banned the sale of anabolic steroids for nonmedical applications. They are legal in Mexico and Thailand. In the U.S., steroids are classified as a Schedule III controlled substance, making possession a federal crime, punishable by prison time.
Thousands of black – market vendors are willing to sell more than 50 different varieties of steroids. They are sold through the mail, over the internet, in gyms, and at competitions. Many of these drugs are submedical or veterinary – grade steroids.
Lyle Alzado, the colorful, record – setting defensive tackle for the LA Raiders, Cleveland Browns, and Denver Broncos, admitted to taking steroids to stay competitive but acknowledged their risks.
“Ninety percent of the athletes I know are on the stuff. We’re not born to be 300 lbs. or jump 30 ft. But all the time I was taking steroids, I knew they were making me play better,” he said. “I became very violent on the field and off it. I did things only crazy people do. Now look at me. My hair’s gone, I wobble when I walk and have to hold on to someone for support and I have trouble remembering things. My last wish? That no one else ever dies this way.”
In 2008, 61 – year – old Rambo star Sylvester Stallone paid $10,600 to settle a criminal drug possession charge for smuggling 48 vials of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) into the country. HCHC is popularly used for its anti – aging benefits.
“Everyone over 40 years old would be wise to investigate it (HGH and testosterone use) because it increases the quality of your life,” says Stallone.
“If you’re an actor in Hollywood and you’re over 40, you are doing HGH. Period,” said one Hollywood cosmetic surgeon. “Why wouldn’t you? It makes your skin look better, your hair, your fingernails. Everything.”
Steroids are one more medicine that does much good and is abused by humanity for vanity and competitive dominance. It proves you just can’t fix stupid.
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See you on the bricks, soon! Stay safe.