What are anabolics? What are androgenic anabolic steriods?
The term "anabolic" describes any substance that promotes the building of muscle tissue or the accumulation of nitrogen in muscle protein. The normal body is constantly breaking down and removing old cells and tissues and replacing them with new ones. The process of break down and removal is medically known as catabolism. Anabolism is the process that builds up new cells and tissues to replace the old ones. A normal body has these two processes in balance. Muscle and bone tissue are thus constantly being replaced, but there is no net gain or loss of mass in either. Rigorous exercise is an anabolic activity because it results in a net increase in muscle mass over time. A high protein diet is thought by some to be anabolic, although this has not been conclusively proven.(1,2) "Anabolic Steroids" cause the build up of muscle tissue under certain conditions. Testosterone is the body's natural anabolic steroid. Higher levels of testosterone in men are responsible for their larger muscle mass compared to women. At one time, researchers thought that anabolic and androgenic steroids were different. It was thought that chemists could create new versions of steroids to build up muscle tissue without causing masculine side effects.(3) For this reason, drugs in this sub-class are called both anabolic and androgenic steroids. However, they discovered that anabolic and androgenic effects were both caused by the same drug action on different tissue types.(3,4) Thus, any steroid that builds up muscle tissue also causes masculinizing side effects.(3-6)
1. Kleiner SM. Performance-enhancing aids in sport - health
consequences and nutritional alternatives. J Amer Coll Nutr
2. Smith DA, Perry PJ. The efficacy of ergogenic agents in
athletic competition. part 1: androgenic-anabolic steroids.
Annals Pharmacother 1992 Apr;26:520-8.
3. Kopera H. The history of anabolic steroids and a review of
clinical experience with anabolic steroids. Acta Endocrin
4. Johnson MD. Steroids. Adolescent Med 1991 Feb;2(1):79-93.
5. Wilson JD. Androgen abuse by athletes. Endocrine Reviews
6. Kashkin KB, Kleber HD. Hooked on hormones - an anabolic
steroid addiction hypothesis. J Am Med Assoc 1989 Dec
by Trent Tschirgi, R. Ph.
(c) 1992 University of Maryland Office of Substance Abuse Studies.
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