A Brief History of Steroids


Steroid use in this century has become more mainstream. The aggressive competition has created the need for athletes to maintain an edge against their competition, and what better way to do this than using steroids. Steroid use also features in healthcare. Some drugs come with steroids as an ingredient, and in other situations, steroids are used in cancer-related treatments. Let us journey through steroid history from it being a reserve of athletes to shopping steroids online.

Steroids through Ancient History

A steroid is a combination of among other things, testosterone. Testosterone is naturally produced in animals, human beings included. A boost in testosterone levels gives a burst of aggressiveness and alertness, two components that improve performance. Greeks may not have scientifically proven this, but they had an idea of the relation between testosterone and performance. Ancient Greeks ate raw animal testicles before their Olympic matches. The results were undeniable. These Olympians recorded better outcomes than their competition.

Steroids in Modern day History

The science behind steroid use dates back to 1849, in Germany. One Arnold Adolph Berthold, a German physiologist, and zoologist studied the endocrine system of birds. He extracted the bird’s testicles during his studies. In the experiments, the male birds of that species showed no change in the sexual functions when the testicles were placed in their abdomen. However, capillaries began to form.

In 1931, Adolph Butenandt, a German chemist, took the research further. By extracting testosterone from urine, Adolph was able to purify the hormone. In 1935, Leopold Ruzicka synthesized it and thus the first synthetic testosterone hormone, safe for human consumption. Such was the milestone that both Leopold Ruzicka and Adolph Butenandt received the 1939 Nobel Prize for their discovery.

1940 would be the year the world finally acknowledged the effects of the testosterone. By this year, Soviet Union athletes were using steroids and testosterone-propionate injections. Their excellence in the field was evident, and this generated more interest in steroid use.

John Ziegler, an American Olympic team doctor, developed Dianabol, which was later approved for human use in 1958. By 1960s, steroid use had become so popular that it would then be availed in medical stores for sale by the 1980s.

From the 1960s through to the 1980s, more research was done and with it came several variations of the drug. The drug’s effectiveness attracted both excitement and uproar in equal measure within the athletics community. Its use was reviewed and subsequently made illegal in 1972 by the Olympic Council. This was the beginning of the strict drug policy enforcement.

Steroid Use in Healthcare

Steroid does have uses other than that of increasing performance. In the medical field, it is used to treat inflammation and symptoms of diseases. Some of the typical examples are steroid inhalers that help treat asthma, and steroid injections, whose use is evident in treating joint and ligament pains. Further, steroid creams are in use in the treatment of skin conditions such as eczema.

Steroid as an anti-inflammatory drug comes in handy in cancer treatment.  Brain tumors, for example, respond effectively to steroids. Steroids help relieve the pressure to the swollen brain. This makes it easy for the patient to deal with a tumor and for the doctors to treat it. However, one consensus remains true in the medical use of steroids; they are to be used sparingly.

Types of Steroids

Steroids are classified into two categories, anabolic and androgenic steroids.

  • Anabolic Steroids – These steroids are the most common. They enhance immunity, metabolism and muscle gain.
  • Androgenic Steroids – Increase masculine strength and especially so for female users. These steroids have been known also to cause feminisation in men.


Steroids and Body Building

With an increase in muscle mass and aggression, it is clear why steroids continue to feature more in bodybuilding circles. Most steroids on the market will have a picture of a well-built man as part of their promotion.

Bodybuilding as a culture originated from competitive bodybuilding that started in the 1930s. The sheer size of the bodybuilders fuelled prominence of the sport. The strength displayed by athletes in the weightlifting category, as well as their physique, cultivated a culture of bodybuilding among non-athletes. The culture lives on to date. Steroid use would then become the drug many preferred in their quest to gain muscle mass.

Legality of Steroid Use

Steroid use remains to be very controversial. However, the need for steroids to boost performance within sport related activities such as bodybuilding has made it possible for the creation of supplements steroids that are well within safe, and most importantly, legal use.

With technology being incorporated while conducting research, companies have found the perfect supplements with muscle building capabilities minus the adverse effects. The benefits of these supplements are that they are engineered to build muscle fast and help cut fat.

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