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Steroid History

The use of anabolic steroids was not widely used until the 20th century, although researchers discovered that the use of pure testosterone was a popular practice during the Ancient Olympic Games. In fact, Early Olympic athletes were known to ingest testicles of animals a few days before the competition. However, it was only in the early 1900s when anabolic steroids and derivatives were invented.

In 1931, Adolf Butenandt, a German chemist, conducted an experiment to determine the significance of the hormone androstenone. He extracted this hormone from a few liters of urine, and studied the function of this natural hormone to the body.

Shortly after his accomplishment with the study on the importance of androstenone, Leopold Ruzicka, developed a method of synthesizing the hormone that would make it suitable for human use. In 1935, Ruzicka and Butenandt compounded a batch of synthetic testosterone. Four years after, the two scientists were recognized for their efforts, and they received the 1939 Nobel Prize for this breakthrough in chemistry.

Several scientists and medical experts continued the study on the effects of steroids to the body. In the late 1930s, the injectable forms of testosterone propionate were first administered to humans. In the 1940s, the use of anabolic steroid became quite popular among many athletes, in the Soviet Union. The athletes from this country became the dominating force in the Olympics.

Dr. John Ziegler, an American physician, developed methandrostenolone or a type of anabolic steroid. He also pioneered the function of the drug in athletics, and introduced steroids as an effective aid to building muscle mass. In fact, the drug was administered to Bill March, an American weightlifting champion, when Dr. Ziegler was still the physician of the U.S Olympic team. In 1958, the Ciba Pharmaceuticals introduced methandrostenolone (Dianabol) to the United States. However, the Food and Drug Administration eventually banned the drug because of the possible health risks associated with it.

Use of Steroids in the Olympics

Soon after Dr. Ziegler discovery of Dianabol, the use of steroids became commonplace among Olympic athletes. Several athletes, particularly weightlifters, have discovered that the combination of Dianabol and testosterone was even more potent in helping them excel in sports.

With the high percentage of athletes that had become dependent on the use of steroids, a number of American physicians decided to conduct studies on the possible negative effects of the drug. These medical professionals aimed to curb the anabolic steroid use among athletes. They published several studies that showed the insignificance of the drug on sports performance. However, the production of new anabolic steroids continued, despite these claims on the ineffectiveness of the drug to boost overall strength and endurance.

From the 1960s to 1980s, the popularity of anabolic steroids was underway, and new formulations of steroids were introduced to the public. Researchers were able to perfect the isolation and alteration of hormones, and there was a marked improvement in the esterification of the male hormone testosterone.

Laws Against the Use of Steroids

In 1967, there was a widespread use of anabolic steroids among Olympic athletes, and the IOC or International Olympic Council has decided to ban the use of this drug among all athletes. The IOC also implemented a drug-testing program for athletes who participated in the Olympic Games. Eventually, several other sports governing organizations followed suit.

The FDA classified steroids as prescription-only drugs, yet this did not put an end to the increasing production and availability of anabolic steroids. In 1988, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act was established, and individuals who were engaged in the illegal sale or use of the drug faced legal penalties. Moreover, the distribution and possession of anabolic steroids was considered as a crime, in the United States. In 1990, the U.S Congress passed the Steroid Control Act, and steroids were categorized as "Schedule III" drugs, including methamphetamines, morphine, opium and amphetamines.

Medical Purposes of Anabolic Steroids

Despite the stringent law against steroid use, the production and distribution of steroids continue. Furthermore, the drug is used in medical procedures, and it has improved the quality of life of several patients with breast cancer, osteoporosis, and AIDS.

Anabolic steroids are recognized for their medical uses, and more formulas of the drug are introduced to the public. However, there are still other treatment options available, and anabolic steroids are only one of the most common medications prescribed to patients who suffer from serious and chronic ailments.


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