Most of us think of anabolic steroids solely as a means to build muscle mass and improve performance. Indeed, according to various data, about 80-90% of professional athletes involved in bodybuilding, weightlifting and powerlifting take anabolic steroids. These drugs have become a mandatory attribute of the youth sports movement worldwide.
From 30 to 60 percent of young men who train in athletic clubs regularly take anabolics. All kinds of methods are used to fight their illegal distribution. The mass media also pay a lot of attention to this topic, especially during the Olympics and Championships. We forget only one thing ... that anabolic steroids are medical drugs, which have shown high efficacy and safety for a number of diseases.
When are anabolic agents indicated?
The term "anabolics" or "anabolic agents" comes from the word "anabolism", which means synthesis, the process of formation and renewal of structural parts of cells and tissues. Thus, anabolic agents are a whole group of chemicals, different in structure and origin, capable of enhancing anabolic processes in the body, primarily protein synthesis.
The indications for prescribing anabolic agents are determined by their mechanism of action. These drugs are recommended for use in various diseases accompanied by catabolic processes, when an additional injection of protein cannot achieve a satisfactory effect.
Before the advent of more modern drugs, anabolic steroids were widely used to treat hypo- and aplastic anemia, pituitary dwarfism, and palliative treatment of breast cancer in women.
Why do we choose anabolic steroids?
Work on the synthesis of anabolic steroids began in the 1940s and was crowned with success in the 1950s, when various chemical derivatives of male sex hormones (androgens) were synthesized. Initially, the goal was to develop drugs with a much weaker androgenic effect than testosterone and, on the contrary, a stronger anabolic effect.
In addition to their main action: stimulation of protein synthesis, anabolic steroids have a number of other functions in the human body. They help to fix calcium in bones, to increase bone mass in case of osteoporosis. The effect of anabolic steroids on bone tissue is a dose-dependent increase in cell proliferation and increased activity of alkaline phosphatase produced by osteoblasts.
Anabolic steroids stimulate the synthesis of intracellular enzymes, especially cytochromes, resulting in increased tissue respiration and oxidative phosphorylation processes, the formation of ATP and creatine phosphate necessary for many biochemical processes.
Anabolic steroids increase the rate of glycogen synthesis, enhance insulin action and reduce glycemia. It is important to note the ability of anabolic steroids to potentiate the effect of endogenous somatotropin (growth hormone). Anabolic steroids improve lipid metabolism by reducing cholesterol levels. A number of experiments have shown a reversal of the development of atherosclerotic vascular plaques as a result of these drugs.
Anabolic steroids activate reparative processes in the covering and glandular epithelium, stimulate erythropoietin production, increase the absorption of amino acids in the small intestine, thus increasing positive nitrogen balance, increase appetite, plasma albumin concentration, promote weight gain and improve the general condition of patients. It should be remembered that taking anabolic steroids leads to a sharp increase in protein absorption by the body.
When prescribing anabolic steroids, be aware of contraindications and possible side effects. When using high doses at pubertal age, premature closure of growth zones is possible. In women, symptoms of virilization, suppression of ovarian function, menstrual cycle disorders, and increased libido may be observed. In rare cases, there may be some abnormalities in some liver function tests.
Contraindications to the prescription of anabolic steroids are prostate cancer, breast cancer in men, nephrotic syndrome, periods of pregnancy and lactation.