Anabolic Steroids in Sports, Part 2

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But Why?
Well, I can speculate on a couple of reasons, and it is up to you to determine which you feel is the best explanation. On the surface, Congress has maintained that they wanted to “clean up” sports. But as you read on you will see what an empty gesture this is. But even if you want to accept that reason, you have to ask yourself why millions of dollars in our taxes are being spent to police a private corporation? Shouldn’t Major League Baseball (as an example) be footing the bill for cleaning up Major League Baseball? If there are illegal activities occurring, shouldn’t there just be arrests made? Why are we paying for Congressional hearings on this subject? We don’t see Congress trying to “clean up” the rampant cocaine use on Wall Street?


The other and more realistic reason is the war on drugs. The war on drugs has been shown to be an inefficient bloated program that does little more than keep a bunch of special interest groups wealthy and provide cushy jobs for politicians. The United States spends $700 per second fighting this war on drugs, $42,000 an hour, or $1,008,000 every single day. It is a well accepted fact that we have not seen a decrease in the transportation of cocaine or heroin into this country. In fact, cocaine and heroin are more available than ever, while the soldiers in the war on drugs spend their resources prosecuting people for small amount marijuana possession and similar misdemeanor offences.


As I previously mentioned, there is not the culture of violence surrounding anabolic steroids, which makes it a very convenient target. Also, anabolic steroids are not a popular drug among the elite, the way cocaine is, which may explain why $1,000,000 or more a year of our tax dollars hasn’t resulted in some curtailing of the flow of cocaine into the United States? I apologize if that sounds too much like a conspiracy theory, but the evidence is there and it all makes too much sense to be ignored. This $1,000,000 a year of our tax money is going to a department that is not required to provide any sort of accountability for where it spends its money. We are just supposed to assume that they are fighting the good fight on our behalf.


So obviously, anabolic steroids are a good target. It is a relatively safe bust, because there is little to no violence associated with anabolics, and it is a nice looking arrest, because people equate all needle drugs with heroin. So the war on drugs can take another nasty needle drug user off of the street.


Dispelling Some Myths
There are a lot of really, really silly myths surrounding anabolic steroids. They are perpetuated by uninformed people and by people in the know who are looking for an excuse. Let’s examine a few of them:


“Roid rage”—This is one of the worst. There is no evidence (from an independent study that wasn’t funded by the government or a special interest group looking for particular results) to back the myth of roid rage. Oh, I know … everyone “knows a guy.” Generally, if you ask other people who know that guy, you find that he was pretty much a jerk before he used anabolic steroids. A lot of people are just looking for an excuse to behave badly, and they find “roid rage” to be all too convenient.


As a matter of fact, anabolic steroids (testosterone) causes a feel good response in the brain, not aggression, any slight aggression or irritability is a result of a rise of estrogen in the blood. The equivalent of PMS symptoms! Nothing about anabolic steroids can cause you to lose control, and even a rise in estrogen isn’t going to rob you of the ability to make a choice. Nothing in anabolic steroids is capable of causing you to lose control. Period. As for the estrogen rise, this is a good reason to legitimize anabolic steroids, so that doctor supervised use can prevent this from happening.


Liver Damage/Health Issues—It might surprise you to know that there are anabolic steroids that are made for use in woman as well as children of either gender. As to claims of liver damage … there are people who are not physically able to produce testosterone, so they are given anabolic steroids to provide their body with the hormone they are not able to produce. These people take anabolic steroids for their entire life! So what we are asked to believe is that somehow, a prescription makes anabolic steroids non-hazardous to the liver? There are anabolic steroids that are harder on the liver than others … but I personally know of over a dozen people who have used anabolic steroids for more than twenty-five years and do not have a single health issue, and generally look and feel as if they are half their age.


Your Penis Will Shrink—I hear that more often than you might believe. It is not true on any level and is down right ridiculous! To be honest, your penis may actually get larger by a very small fraction due to the presence of androgens.


Steroids = Big or Ripped—Muscle size and/or being “ripped” does not automatically occur when using anabolic steroids. Steroids can be an aid in putting on muscular size, and they can be used to help retain muscle while dieting (to get “ripped”), but they can also be used to just stay as you are and prevent muscle loss when you are competing at an elite athletic level. With a schedule filled with games to be played, and training and practice on many off days, a normal person’s body would not be able to keep up and would see the person sick, lethargic and injury prone. Anabolic steroids allow that athlete to compete at that level and aid in recovery and the wellness of the athlete. I have seen anabolic steroid users who stayed at a moderately soft 160 pounds for their entire life.

Is There a Down Side?

Well, let’s discuss the side effects that actually do exist, and try to separate them from the myths we have heard and look at how to deal with these side effects. While your penis will definitely NOT shrink, you will experience what is referred to as testicular atrophy. The purpose of your testicles is to act as a part of a kind of feedback loop between the leydig cells, hypothalamic axis and a few other interconnected glands. Your testicles are directly involved in producing testosterone in your body, and as you introduce testosterone from outside of your body, your testicles get a signal that tells them “Hey, we got plenty … you guys take a break!” So since they are not needed, they shrink a little in size. If you are receiving long term hormone replacement therapy, you will notice that the atrophy will stop and they may even regain a little bit of size. Your body is always seeking equilibrium.

Gynomastia or gyno is the formation of breast tissue in males. It actually occurs in a marked percentage of the male population naturally, and that percentage is going up due to the presence of so many estrogens in the environment (phytoestrogens in plastics leaching into food and water, the prevalence of soy in our diets… the list goes on). Gynomastia in athletes using anabolic steroids is preventable by regulating the dosage of testosterone received in people who are estrogen sensitive, or by taking medications to control estrogen, but of course this is more easily accomplished under the administration of a doctor. This is not really possible any longer… and our government is taking the short sighted stance that making something illegal stops people from doing it.

In Part Three we are going to address “cheating in sports,” and talk about my personal experience with professional athletes from many sports and teams.


 


Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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