How often do bodybuilders take steroids

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Anabolic steroids

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By Sven Siebenand


The worldwide trade in anabolic steroids is booming. Illegal business is particularly flourishing on the Internet. Although they do not have an appropriate prescription, doping sinners also try to get the remedies in pharmacies. With muscle building in their sights, they seem to be ignorant of the high risk of side effects or ignore it.


In our society, a well-trained body stands for health, social, professional and sexual success. However, it takes a lot of time and hard work is required before the body is brought into shape in this way. In order to meet this ideal as quickly as possible and also with little effort, many trainees resort to anabolic steroids. Experts estimate that around 200,000 recreational athletes dope each other. A study by the physician Dr. According to Carsten Boos from the University of Lübeck on doping in recreational sports, almost every fifth recreational athlete consumes doping preparations in fitness studios. Boos surveyed 454 men and women in 58 fitness studios nationwide in 1999. 19 percent said they took anabolic steroids regularly.


Anabolic steroids are substances that stimulate the body's metabolism (anabolism). Their effect is based primarily on promoting protein build-up. This increases the body's protein synthesis and at the same time reduces the breakdown of the body's own protein stores. The best known representatives of this group are the anabolic-androgenic steroids. In addition, ß also count2-Sympathomimetics, the growth hormone somatropin (STH = Somatropes Hormon, HGH = Human Growth Hormon) and growth factors for the anabolic steroids.


In addition to testosterone itself, synthetic derivatives such as dehydrochloromethyltestosterone, nandrolone, metandienone, stanozolol and metenolone are used as anabolic-androgenic steroids. The synthetic substances are characterized by the fact that they have higher anabolic properties and a lower androgenic component. The ratio of anabolic to androgenic effects is measured in animal experiments on castrated male rats and given as an index (Hershberger test). The androgenic component is determined by the growth of the prostate, the anabolic component by the growth of the levator ani muscle. For example, if you compare testosterone with nandrolone, nandrolone has an 80 percent lower effect on the prostate and an anabolic effect that is 240 percent stronger. Taking these hormones not only promotes muscle building and muscle definition, but also aggressiveness, irritability and the sex drive.


Dumb, dumber, doping


Usually steroid anabolic steroids are injected. Because of their oily consistency, pharmacy users often require particularly large needles. However, abscesses can form due to the incorrect injection technique. A typical sign of anabolic steroids abuse is the so-called steroid acne. The use of anabolic steroids leads to hypertrophy of the sebum glands, which can lead to a flare-up of "body-builder pimples" (often on the back) or an exacerbation of existing acne in about half of the users.


Shortness of breath (the more muscle mass, the higher the need for oxygen and the faster the breathing), increased sweat production and hunger are also typical symptoms. High blood pressure, increased eye pressure, depression, gynecomastia (female breast formation in men) as well as hair loss, prostate growth and headaches are also possible.


US researchers at Yale University in New Haven also found that elevated testosterone levels, such as those caused by the abuse of anabolic steroids, can lead to the loss of brain cells. In the journal "Journal of Biological Chemistry" (doi: 10.1074 / jbc.M603193200) they report that high doses of testosterone triggered programmed cell death in the nerve cells grown in the laboratory. Since the heart muscle also grows when taking steroids, the risk of heart attack is increased. Sudden cardiac death is therefore not uncommon among the "black doping sheep".


Although injected, the majority of anabolic steroids are metabolized by the liver. Liver damage up to cancer can be the result. With regular use, thyroid, kidney and stomach can also be damaged.


In adolescents, taking the hormones can have particularly fatal consequences as they stop bone growth. A study by US researchers at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine on hamsters also suggests that anabolic-androgenic steroids are not only psychologically but also physically dependent. The research team led by neurobiologist Ruth Wood found that the animals quickly developed a preference for anabolic-androgenic steroids if they could supply them themselves through a mechanism. Doping offenders take steroids to improve their athletic performance. Animals don't know these motivations. "So we suspect steroids are likely to be addictive," Wood concluded.


Tooth gaps as an indication


Bodybuilders often also swallow diuretics to define their muscles. These make the muscles on the body stand out particularly strongly. All anabolic steroids only promote muscle growth or definition as long as they are actually supplied to the body. If you take it off, the muscle size also shrinks.


This is where testosterone derivatives differ from growth hormone. This does not enlarge the muscles, but rather increases them. This means that the body stature remains even after ingestion. Somatotropin works by regulating cell and body growth. In addition to somatotropin, growth factors such as somatomedin C (SM-C), also known as insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), are widespread in the bodybuilding scene. The "disadvantage" of Somatotropin and Co. is that they work according to the all-or-nothing principle. Muscle groups cannot be increased in a targeted manner, but only all of them together. Muscle growth can also occur in undesired areas, for example on the jaw. However, since the teeth do not grow with them, more or less even tooth gaps are created. The conspicuously box-like head shape of many bodybuilders is also an indication of the consumption of somatotropin or growth factors. What is particularly treacherous about the illegal ingestion of somatotropin is that its side effects and dangers such as acromegaly and type 2 diabetes are mostly irreversible. In addition, the risk of some types of cancer, such as leukemia, appears to be increased.


In combination with somatotropin, additional insulin is often injected as this compensates for the reduced glucose uptake in the muscle cells caused by somatotropin. A mixed infusion of insulin, glucose and / or glycogen is often used. The glucose uptake can be increased many times over. However, if something goes wrong when calculating the insulin requirement, it can end in a hypoglycemic coma and in the worst case fatal.