Athletes engaged in power sports like football and weight lifting were the first to espouse anabolic steroids with a view to enhance their strength as well as muscularity. Right from the initial days, these athletes stated that using these drugs also helped them to lessen the time required for recovery between workouts. In other words, this denoted that when they used anabolic steroids, these athletes could work out more often, comparatively for extended periods and also with more concentration. It is very likely that such remarks by these athletes were important in increasing the circulation of anabolic steroids initially among the runners in various sports and later among athletes who participated in endurance sports.
However, it is a fact that anabolic steroids are very effective. This means that use of anabolic steroids, particularly when they are used together with extreme strength training, work to augment the muscle mass as well as strength much further than what one can achieve by only undergoing training. In fact, experts have put forward several mechanisms with a view to elucidate the effects of using anabolic steroids, especially those related to enhancing performance.
These suggestions include putting off destruction of muscle tissue owing to undertaking heavy exercise or rigorous work; augmentation in synthesis of protein; augmented aggressiveness; the consequences of anabolic steroids on the neuro-muscular junctions and the central nervous system (CNS); and the placebo consequence. In all probability, the manner in which anabolic steroids work is made clear by a mishmash of the mechanisms mentioned above.
Generally, under normal circumstances athletes like sprinters, wrestlers or swimmers put their body under stress by means of training at very high intensity and for extended period of time are likely to experience two things. Firstly, they may experience a sharp decline in the normal testosterone production levels, frequently to levels equivalent to those of a man who has been castrated. Secondly, their body is likely to react by secreting a different variety of steroid known as glucocorticoids that are basically catabolic and not anabolic (protein synthesizing or tissue-building). In effect, catabolic steroids disintegrate the tissues that make up the muscles. According to a well-accepted theory, muscle wasting is the most noticeable sign of undergoing excessive training.
While the substantiation is not absolute, scientists have hypothesized that anabolic steroids work to slow down or block the glucocorticoids' catabolic (muscle tissues breakdown) actions. Provided this theory is considered to be accurate, it would be possible for a sprinter to carry on with additional miles of road work every week and, as a result, lower his times; or it would be possible for a weight lifter to undertake workouts more frequently and perform additional sets and reps, while achieving more muscle and strength benefits. A section of the experts have gone beyond this and speculated that such anti-catabolic methods may perhaps be the most vital factor in disentangling the anabolic steroids' performance enhancing effects. In addition to aiding in preventing the glucocortisteroids' muscle breakdown results, anabolic steroids facilitate in restoring the levels of testosterone that have been diminished due to intensified trainings.
The muscle building or anabolic results of using steroids occurs by means of augmented protein synthesis due to their binding with receptors in the aimed tissues, which comprise the heart muscle, skeletal, testes, skin, prostate, and other different regions of our brain. Subsequently, the newly created hormone receptor centers interrelate with different receptor locations present on the chromosomes and, this type of series of hormonal reactions, eventually lead to the development of structural (such as bone), enzyme and contractile (such as muscle) proteins. Apparently, the most interesting aspect of the effect of the anabolic steroids to people who use them happen to be their ability to bring about muscle development. Excessive use of anabolic steroids may result in an augmented protein production, which, consecutively turns out to be the element for growth of new cells.
The positive as well as negative reaction to anabolic steroids significantly differs among both men and women. As far as the skeletal muscle is concerned, it has been found that use of anabolic steroids creates a notably greater effect on young as well as old females, old males and pre-teen males compared to their impact on young male adults. The response of the muscles to anabolic steroids differs even in the groups mentioned here. Most likely, this difference is attributable to the dissimilarity among the individuals in the percentage of slow-twitch as well as fast-twitch muscle fibers. It has been found that people who have an elevated proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers display a better response to anabolic steroids. In addition, albeit the entire skeletal muscles react to anabolic steroids, there is a considerable variation in the sensitivity of specific muscles to these steroids. It seems that the shoulder girdle and the pectoral muscles in males have the maximum sensitivity to anabolic steroids, most likely owing to the elevated percentage of the fast-twitching fibers present in these two groups of muscles.
Several individuals who use steroids have said that they experienced an increase in their energy levels and also an augmented belligerence. In fact, during their studies, scientists have employed various dissimilar psychological trials to find out whether these changes are actually a factor that may be responsible for a number of performance-related gains, which are generally attributed to steroid use. While a larger part of the debate on aggression induced by steroids has dealt with the negative aspect of steroid use, not much thought has been given to the truth that aptly channeled augmented aggression forms a part of the majority of athletic events. In effect, this type of belligerence is appreciated in sports like wrestling and football, as several coaches are of the view that it is related to improved performances. Similarly, it is also reasonable to believe that any athlete performing conditioning or undertaking strength training in a further aggressive way and with additional vigor will accomplish superior results. Moreover, many people believe that augmented aggression enables an athlete to endure pain as well as uneasiness related to severe training much better.
Even though findings of several studies have shown that the use of anabolic steroids has the potential to have an effect on the central nervous system as well as the neuromuscular junctions, the association between these discoveries and the augmented aggression as well as energy levels that have been stated by athletes using steroids is yet to be understood properly. On the other hand, these findings give rise to the prospect regarding the existence of a biochemical basis for the aggressiveness displayed by a number of people using these steroids. An outcome of this hypothesis is the affirmation that when an individual having heavily built muscles behaves in an aggressive manner, he is likely to draw more attention compared to a small-built individual who acts belligerently simple owing to the fact that the large man has the ability to cause more harm.
The expression 'placebo effect' denotes physical or psychological changes or modifications that take place when a person consumes an inactive substance, which he thinks will produce a remedial consequence. People have been noticing this medical phenomenon since the times of the ancient Greeks. Several people erroneously think that the benefits related to taking a placebo only reside in the imagination of the individual. While this idea may be true in a number of instances, in other cases there have been actual improvements that are founded on intended chemical standards.
Even though our comprehension regarding the effect of the mind on the body continues to be in its initial stage, the results are nothing less than real. Therefore, it is probable that at least a number of athletes taking steroids notice as well as realize the benefits just because they anticipate seeing them. Irrespective of whatever the mechanism is, the intense reaction to steroids, as confirmed by athletes who have been using them for more than four decades, is much more compared to what one may be expecting only from the effects of using placebos.