Tag Archives: Olympics


Pitfalls of steroid use

picture of steroids in olympic

steroids in olympic

Steroids make the news quite often, but with the Olympic Games here again steroids and “doping” are back in the headlines.  When a young girl from China, which happens to be one of the countries with a history of steroid use by it’s athletes, is able to beat Ryan Lochte’s record everyone wants to know how she did it.
What makes the Olympics different than other major sporting events is that they are watched by nearly everyone in every country, young and old over a 2 week period.  During these 2 weeks kids and teens see thousands of ‘buff” athletes and think “I want to be like that”.  Some of these kids will look to steroids to help them along.  The problem with steroids is not only are they illegal they can have serious and dangerous side effects.  Steroids fall into 2 categories, anabolic steroids and corticosteoids.  Both have significant medicinal value as well as significant side effects.  Anabolic steroids or AAS’s are the type used by athletes and body builders for their muscle building and masculine properties.  The thing that makes them so potentially dangerous is that in order for them to be effective for those purposes they need to be taken in doses 10 to 100 times higher than the highest therapeutic dos given for treatment of a medical condition.  Taking any medication 10 to 100 times the normal therapeutic dose significantly increases your chances of experiencing side effects.  So before you consider using steroids to accomplish your goal you need to think about the potential consequences.  First of all if your goal is to become an Olympian or a professional athlete steroids are illegal and you will be tested.  If you are considering steroids for other reasons you need to carefully research the steroids you are considering and know the potential side effects.
One of the things that makes steroid use so dangerous is that many of the users take a combination of several different types of AAS’s and non-steroidal supplements to get the maximum effect.  Long term steroid use affects several chemicals and pathways in the brain including serotonin and dopamine which have a significant effect on our moods and behavior.  So while most steroid users say they feel good even great while taking steroids there are also severe mood swings that occur.  These mood swings can become viiolent, known as “roid rage” as well  as lead to paranoia, and delusions.  Though steroids don’t become addictive in the same sense as a heroine user the body does develop a resistance requiring more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect.  For this reason many steroid users will take them in an on – off cycle, taking them for a period of time then stopping for a period of time before starting again.
Long term steroid use/abuse can cause serious, irreversible health conditions as well including kidney failure, liver damage, and numerous cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and enlargement of the heart and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke for all ages.  That includes teens and young adults.  There are also many side effects that may not be life threatening but also need to be considered if you are considering steroid use.  In men that take steroids those would include a decreased sperm count and/or infertility so if you’re thinking about having children you need to take this into consideration.  There is also an increased chance of developing prostate cancer.  Men using steroids also tend to develop alopecia or baldness as well as breasts known as gynecomastia.  Women that take AAS’s tend to develop male characteristics including facial hair and a deeper voice, they can also develop whats known as male pattern baldness.  Women taking steroids will also usually notice changes or even cessation of their menstrual cycle.  adolescents tend to have impaired growth, not attaining their expected height as well as accelerated puberty changes.  If all that isn’t enough, for those users that use injectable steroids there’s also the risk of either contracting or giving hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
If you are still thinking about trying steroids like it or not you reallu need to see your Dr for a complete physical.  It’s important to know if you have any previously unknown health issues before beginning a steroid regime.  Then research, research, research!   Become informed, know what you’re taking and what to watch for.

Doping allegations raise questions of possible new peptide science

Olympic athletes go through rigorous training to become the best they can be at their sport. They also go through equally rigorous testing for performance enhancing drugs. The latest doping allegations in the Olympics surrounding Chinese swimming phenom Ye Shiwen will either prove that rigorous training has prevailed to produce the world’s fastest female swimmer or it may just prove that IOC testing cannot keep up with modern day peptide science that is capable of producing amazing athletic performances.

The controversy started when 16-year-old Ye won gold in the 400 meter individual medley with a world record shattering time of 4:28.43, which is a whole five seconds faster than her previous personal best and a better time than even the men’s gold medal winner Ryan Lochte. Then she shattered another record in the 200-meter medley with a time of 2:07.57. According to World Swimming Coaches Association head John Leonard, the times were “unbelievable” and “disturbing.”

“Any time someone has looked like a superwoman in the history of our sport, they have later been found guilty of doping,” he said.

Although the IOC, the US Swim Team and most of the athletes competing at the London games have come out in support of Ye, who has passed every drug test ever given to her, doping among Chinese swimmers is not without precedent. Chinese swimming superstar Le Jingyi won 12 victories at the Rome World Championships in 1994 amid allegations of doping which she adamantly denied. However, as the Chinese team went on to win 23 gold medals at the Asian Games, the allegations grew and eventually seven swimmers from the Chinese team tested positive. Also, Chinese swimmer Yuan Yuan and her coach were caught smuggling HGH into Australia for the World Championships in Perth and another three swimmers were caught using drugs at those same games. In total, 32 Chinese swimmers were caught taking performance-enhancing drugs in the 1990s. Most recently, Ye’s teammate Li Zhesi was banned from competition just months ago for using EPO.

As readers of Steroidology know, the science behind performance-enhancing drugs is constantly changing, with new breakthroughs coming every year. Is it possible the Chinese have developed a new protein peptide that can elude even the stringent testing done by the IOC? You bet it is. China is one of the world leaders and developers of protein peptide drugs that have amazing results and leave little residual side effects. The days of using anabolic androgenic drugs to beef up muscles are gone, replaced by the advent of drugs like Insulin Growth Factor, Follistatin, Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide and Mechano Growth Factor. These drugs tweak the body’s natural triggers to produce more muscle or inhibit the body’s natural muscle-reducing mechanisms and are all tested for by the IOC, but at one time were not.

As the Chinese, the IOC and many sports commentators rail against Leonard and the other people who have raised concerns over Ye’s remarkable performance at this year’s London Games with cries of racism, sexism and jingoism, it is important to remember that we have been here before and have accused many of our own American, male sports heroes of doping – only to be proven right. Athletes like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire also passed stringent drug tests only to be caught later on as tests for doping caught up with the more advanced drugs these athletes were taking.

Until proven otherwise, Ye should be given credit as a talented swimmer with exceptional skill. Let’s hope that she is the amazing, naturally-talented swimmer who earned her gold medals in the spirit of Olympic sports and stayed drug-free before and during her training and competitions. But if it turns out that she and the other Chinese athletes are using some advanced protein peptide, the athletes will most likely (and deservedly) be stripped of their medals and shamed for eternity by sports historians, even though there is no magic pill that makes an athlete great no matter how many peptides one takes. But on the bright side of this controversy, if it turns out to be true, Steroidology readers may just learn of a new peptide that has remarkable results.


History of Anabolic/Androgenic Steroids

picture of female swimmer on steriods

The first serious research into the creation of anabolic steroids began in the 1930s

Since their creation in the early 1930’s, steroids have been praised for their effectiveness by users, debated over their safety by medical professionals, outlawed by sport governing bodies, made illegal by governments and demonized by the press and public opinion. But despite steroids well-publicized, controversial history, few people really know a lot about what these substances are, how they work and how their use came to be a controversy in today’s sports.

Anabolic Androgenic Steroids are substances that cause muscles and other male hormonal traits to grow and develop beyond what the body would naturally develop on its own. The term anabolic refers to the buildup of tissue in cells. The term androgenic refers to producing male characteristics, such as large muscles, a deep voice and body hair.

Throughout history, many cultures have used a variety of substances they believed to make men stronger, more viral or even braver in battle. Rhinoceros horn, shark tooth and other various powders and extracts have all been thought to improve strength and ability. It was probably the study of some these ancient cultures use of animal testicles that led modern scientists to the discovery of steroids.

The first serious research into the creation of anabolic steroids began in the 1930s by German chemist Adolf Butenandt, who isolated the male hormone androstenone from thousands of liters of urine. Following the success of those early experiments with androstenone, several teams of scientists, backed by pharmaceutical companies, worked to synthesize the more powerful male hormone testosterone. By 1939, the world’s scientific community was already conducting human trials on the effects of injecting testosterone and the Nobel Prize that year was offered to Butenandt and another scientist, Leopold Ruzicka, for their work with testosterone. Unfortunately for Butenandt, the Nazis wouldn’t allow him to accept the honor.

During the 1940s and 1950s experiments with steroids continued and its use widened among athletes and body builders, especially in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries. The overwhelming domination by these countries in weightlifting events at the 1952 Olympics, prompted U.S. Olympic Team physician Dr. John Ziegler to begin issuing steroids to his athletes. Dr. Ziegler recruited the help of chemists to develop a compound that would achieve the same results for strength building as the Eastern Bloc countries steroids but with fewer side effects. The result was the first FDA approved steroid Dianabol, a.k.a Dbol.

Studies on the effects of Dianabol and other pharmaceutical anabolic steroid compounds for the next 30 years proved to be inconsistent and in some cases completely incompetent. While some studies would point to the dangerous side effects of steroid use, others would make it seem completely benign. One such study conducted in 1972 showed anabolic steroids as having little to no effect on the body because patients who were given a placebo showed no different results than those who were given real doses of steroids. The results of this study were widely cited as fact for almost two decades, despite the fact that the study only used low doses of steroids in people and had zero control over such aspects as diet, weight or health of the subjects involved.

By the 1960s and 1970s, steroid use by Olympic athletes prompted the ban of its use. A study by BYU faculty member and former world record holder for discus Jay Sylvester, showed that over 68 percent of the athletes at the 1972 Olympics were using or had used steroids. And in 1976, East Germany further created controversy with its women’s track and swim teams when it was discovered that their Wonder Girls (as they came to be known) were taking steroids given to them by their trainers who told them they were vitamins. The heavy use of steroids at these games created new rules and testing procedures for Olympic athletes. However, the testing often proved to be unreliable and athletes found avoiding detection of their steroid use easy.

At the same time steroid use was being condemned by the Olympics, other sports figures and even movie stars were making its use popular. The growing body building industry, fueled by Hollywood images like Arnold Schwarzeneger’s Conan the Barbarian made the muscled look hip and steroids became widely sought after by amateur athletes for the first time.

In professional sports, steroid use was also on the rise, especially in football where size and strength are essential to a player’s effectiveness. But just as in Olympic sports, the backlash to steroid use in professional sports prompted organizations lie the NFL and NBA to adopt anti-steroid rules and screening for players to try and keep their use out of those sports.

In 1991, the government stepped in and made steroids a Schedule III controlled substance, making their non-prescribed possession and distribution illegal and punishable by fines and prison terms. Public backlash to steroid use continued to grow throughout the 1990s, fueled by reports of doping scandals in America’s Pastime Major League Baseball. As reports of baseball’s biggest stars using steroids came to light in the press, the world learned more and more about steroid use and its many new forms.

Today, steroids have taken on new forms. No longer known as just roids, Arnolds, pumpers, stackers and juice the street names of yesterday’s DBol and other testosterone-based substances today’s steroids have taken on more sophisticated titles like performance enhancers and human growth hormone. As more science is put into the creation of these new compounds, testing to make sure professional athletes aren’t juiced has become more and more problematic.

Because steroids are effective in what they do, it may be an uphill battle for sports and society in general to fully regulate and stop their use. The more people are educated on the risks and proper use, however, the safer their use of steroids will become.