Anabolic Steroids Are A Group Of Organic Compounds And Synthetic Variants Of The Male Sex Hormone Testosterone
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Anabolic steroids are a group of organic compounds and synthetic variants of the male sex hormone testosterone. The proper term for these compounds is anabolic-androgenic steroids (abbreviated AAS)—“anabolic” referring to muscle-building and “androgenic” referring to increased male sexual characteristics (Pope and Brower, 2005). They are synthesized in the body from cholesterol in the Leydig cells in the testes, and in smaller amounts in the adrenal glands of both males and females and in female ovaries (Talih, Fattal and Malone, 2007). Anabolic steroids should not be confused with other types of steroids such as corticosteroids (e.g., cortisone or prednisone), which have no anabolic effects and therefore have little abuse potential (Pope and Brower, 2005; Sheffield-Moore and Urban, 2004).
When taken in abundant doses, anabolic steroids allow users to greatly increase muscle strength and athletic performance, often well beyond the limit attainable by natural means (Kouri et al., 1995). As a result, many elite competitive athletes have used anabolic steroids and this phenomenon has recently generated much publicity, as evidenced by increasing media reports around the world (Ewing, 2008; Fainaru-Wada and Williams, 2006; Magnay, 2008; Swartz, 2007).
Anabolic steroids are used to increase muscle mass and reduce fat in athletes and body builders and this ultimately leads to an increase in competitiveness. The dosages used are often a lot higher than the recommended medical