What steroids give the aesthetic look
Anabolic steroids are man-made substances that have a muscle-building (anabolic) effect. Their chemical structure is similar to testosterone, a male sex hormone. Like testosterone, anabolic steroids also have androgenic effects. This describes the maturation of typical male sexual characteristics such as thicker body hair or a deep voice. These substances are therefore also known as anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS).
In 1935 Ernst Laqueur succeeded for the first time in isolating testosterone from bull testicles. As a result, great efforts have been made to artificially produce steroid hormones in order to obtain a pure anabolic without the androgenic effects. However, this was not successful because every anabolic substance always has an androgenic effect.
In medicine, anabolic steroids are used for hypogonadism. This disease is associated with an androgen deficiency. This means that the body does not produce enough testosterone. Androgens such as testosterone are not essential for life, but when boys suffer from hypogonadism, the additional administration of androgens is necessary with the onset of puberty, otherwise developmental disorders can occur. Untreated adolescents suffer from tall stature and underdeveloped muscles, among other things. In adults, osteoporosis, muscle wasting and loss of sexual potency and fertility can result.
Anabolic steroids have become known primarily through their misuse as doping agents in sport. In high-performance sports, anabolic steroids have been used to gain a competitive advantage. Due to the development and implementation of unannounced doping tests, however, hardly any anabolic steroids are found in top-class sport. On the other hand, studies indicate that anabolic steroids are abused in recreational sports, especially among fitness studios. The focus here is on the aesthetic aspect of muscle growth.
Anabolic steroids promote protein synthesis in muscle cells. In order for the muscle mass to actually increase, intensive training is necessary at the same time. The androgenic part of the steroid hormones causes the typical male appearance (deep voice, male hair growth). However, anabolic steroid abuse does not necessarily make men more masculine. Testosterone is also converted into the female sex hormone estrogen in the body. In healthy men, estrogen regulates fat metabolism, among other things. If the testosterone level rises as a result of the additional intake of androgens, the estrogen concentration in the blood also rises. This can lead to a feminization of the man. The most common consequence is breast formation in men (gynecomastia).
In both competitive and recreational sports, there are numerous physical and psychological risks associated with the use of performance-enhancing agents. Some athletes underestimate this, as most doping agents are also prescribed by a doctor for certain illnesses. But unlike drugs that are supposed to cure a disease, the same drugs have to be overdosed many times over when doping so that they have an effect. This is where the great danger lies.
It is known from studies that serious physical changes and damage can occur. The consequences include damage to the cardiovascular system with an increased risk of myocardial infarction, liver damage, virilization (masculinization) in women, gynecomastia (feminization), testicular reduction and reduced sperm production in men. In adolescents, anabolic steroid abuse can prematurely end the growth phase.
The abuse of anabolic steroids can also have consequences for the psyche such as irritability, mood swings, greater propensity for violence, weaker memory performance and lower ability to concentrate, lower libido in men and increased in women. There is also evidence from science that long-term use of anabolic steroids can also lead to addiction.
In Germany, anabolic steroids fall under the German Medicines Act (AMG). According to § 6a of the AMG, it is forbidden to put drugs on the market for doping purposes in sport, to prescribe them or to use them for others . Since 2007 it has also been forbidden to have drugs in large quantities for doping purposes in sport. This means that anabolic steroids can only be obtained legally through a doctor's prescription.
Competitive sportspeople have to expect additional penalties. In Germany, the use of doping substances - which includes anabolic steroids - is sanctioned by the sports associations with a two-year competition ban. In the event of repetition, there is a threat of a lifetime ban.
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