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It has long been known that the testicles were responsible for secondary male characteristics and features. In ancient Greek times, the testicles of animals such as bulls were eaten before competition for enhanced performance during their games. In 1849 a scientist named Berthhold largely discovered via experimentation with Cockerals that the testicles had a blood related connection with secondary male characteristics. This research involved castration of these animals and various studies evaluating what biological effects this procedure had on them. During the 1920-30's, the first experiments were performed to isolate the testosterone molecule from bulls. Then, between the years of 1948-1954, Companies Searle and CIBA went on to sythesize and discover thousands of anabolic steroids and testosterone derivatives. Modern endocrinology was no doubt formed from this early research. Needless to say, isolating the testosterone molecule from the testis was the first step in discovering anabolic steroids. The first reports of the use of testosterone for enhancing physical prowess was the Germans. It's rumored that the Germans widely utilized testosterone during the second world war for it's ability to increase aggression in the Nazi's troops. On the athletic frontier, the Russians were the first to use testosterone for athletic enhancement in the 50's and 60's. This is evident as they smashed world weightlifting records during this time.

Testosterone Molecule 

Testosterone Due to their (the Russians) incredible record breaking success, an American by the name of Dr. John Ziegler (U.S.A team doctor) attended the world weightllifting championships in Vienna, Austria. According to unverified reports, Dr. Ziegler brought the Russian team doctor to a bar, got him drunk, and then learned that the Russians were using testosterone for their record breaking performances in competition. Needless to say, Dr. Zeigler came back to the U.S. and developed an oral version of testosterone called Dianabol (methandrostenolone) that would open the door for scientists of the time to discover virtually all of the popular steroids we have today. Dianabol was designed specifically to increase strength and power more than pure testosterone. According to many athletes who have tried both, this is without a doubt the case. The U.S. quickly began to regain the lead in its weight lifting prowess.

At the time, CIBA and SEARLE were still producing thousands of anabolic steroids in the lab. In fact by the mid 1950's, the majority of anabolic steroids and testosterone derivatives had been discovered and manufactured.

The First Oral Steroid - Dianabol Tablets

Scientist began to become alarmed by some of the potential negative side effects caused by long term anabolic steroid abuse. Therefore, in 1967, the International Olympic Counsel banned their use from all competition. Not soon after, steroids were banned from most major professional and amateur sports organizations as well. Dianabol Pills - Steroids

Introduction to Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are testosterone based analogs that are synthetically manufactured, and designed to produce anabolic and androgenic effects. Testosterone is the primary male hormone. It is produced to a small extent in the adrenal glands, however the bulk of male testosterone is produced by the Leydig cells in the testis. During puberty is when most of testosterone's effects are felt. The anabolic steroid like effects of testosterone are usually experienced by a broadening of the shoulders and increase in overal muscle size. Puberty is usually accompanied by a growth spurt, which results from testosterone combined with the anabolic effects of growth hormone produced by the pituitary.

Anabolic steroids and stacks of various performance enhancement compounds are used by many athletes to replicate this pubescent type of hormonal output to increase athletic performance or simply for the cosmetic enhancement of muscle and physique. Anabolic steroids are controlled drugs and only available with a doctors prescription. However, many people purchase them on the black market.

Anabolic and Androgenic Effects

The testosterone molecule, along with typical anabolic steroids will display anabolic and androgenic effects. Androgenic effects are those associated with secondary male characteristics such as sexual drive, deepening of the voice and growth of facial hair. Androgenic effects are most commonly correlated to steroid side effects due to conversion to estrogen (aromatization), conversion to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and the shut down of hypothalamus/testicular axis. The latter of these meaning that exogenous steroids decrease your own bodies output of anabolic steroids. Now, anabolic effects are related to the enhanced protein synthesis effects, or muscle building properties of these compounds, which aren't commonly associated with side effects. In the early years of development, scientists were hopeful that a purely anabolic form could be designed to assist the aging community with a compound that increased muscle, energy and strength, while slowing aging. In fact, many life extension circles utilize doctor prescribed testosterone and growth hormone replacement for this purpose today.

Methylation and Esterification of Anabolic Steroids

The chemists of CIBA and SEARLE along with the work of Dr.Ziegler's Dianabol, quickly learned that replacing the hydrogen atom at the steroids 17th alpha position with a carbon atom, would dramatically increase the steroids ability to resist breakdown by the liver. This carbon atom is typically added with a methyl group and the process is therefore called methylation. Steroids with this chemical design are considered to be a C-17 alpha alkylated oral. Steroids of this particular configuration are also considered to be many of the most powerful as well. However, one of the major drawbacks of this chemical design was that liver toxicity dramatically increases and the potential arises for damaging effects on the liver.

Esters were the next molecular alteration made to enhance the active life of the steroid in the body. Many injectables that have long names such as testosterone cypionate and testosterone enanthate, posses ester configurations. For example, when speaking of the aformetioned testosterone molecules, enanthate and cypionate are are esters (carboxylic acids) that have been chemically fused with the 17-beta hydroxyl group of the testosterone molecule. This alteration makes the steroid more fat soluble as opposed to it's normal water solubility. The longer the ester side chain, the longer it usually takes for the compound to disperse into the system. Decanoate bonded steroids can take four weeks to disperse, while a proprionate or acetate structure might fully release into the bloodstream within days. Esterified steroid preparations are usually designed for injection into muscle bellies. Liver toxicity is still an issue to monitor and consider, but not as severe as with C-17 orals.

Steroid Alternatives

In today's advanced world, many high technology sports nutrition companies have developed powerful performance enhancement products that do not require a prescription and are comparatively much safer than steroids for long term use. Products such as creatine, branched chain amino acids (BCAA's) and nitric oxide (NO) stimulators like L-arginine are examples of clean but effective product technologies for adult athletic enhancement. Protein supplementation, advanced dieting strategies and and specialized training routines can dramatically enhance performance with very low degrees of risk to the body's endocrine system.


1. Classification of anabolic steroids using the method of competitive metabolism. Exp Clin Endocrinol 87:125-32, 1986

2. Metabolism of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids, Victor A. Rogozkin, CRC Press 1991

3. World Anabolic Review 1996, P. Grunding/M. Machman, M.B. Muscle Books, M. Bodingbauer, D. Selm

4. Anabolics 2000 . 2000. William Llewellyn,, Inc.

5. Anabolic Steroids in Sport and Exercise. 1993. Yesalis, Charles E., Human Kinetics Publishers

6. Underground Steroid Handbook II. 1989. Duchaine, D. Venice, CA: HR Technical Books

7. Anabolic Reference Guide (5th Edition) 1990. Phillips, W. golden, CO: Mile High

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