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What are anabolics? What are androgenic anabolic steriods?

      The term "anabolic" describes any substance that promotes the
 building of muscle tissue or the accumulation of nitrogen in muscle

      The normal body is constantly breaking down and removing old
 cells and tissues and replacing them with new ones.  The process of
 break down and removal is medically known as catabolism.  Anabolism
 is the process that builds up new cells and tissues to replace the
 old ones.  A normal body has these two processes in balance. 
 Muscle and bone tissue are thus constantly being replaced, but
 there is no net gain or loss of mass in either.  

      Rigorous exercise is  an anabolic activity because it results
 in a net increase in muscle mass over time.  A high protein diet is
 thought by some to be anabolic, although this has not been
 conclusively proven.(1,2)

      "Anabolic Steroids" cause the build up of muscle tissue under
 certain conditions.  Testosterone is the body's natural anabolic
 steroid.  Higher levels of testosterone in men are responsible for
 their larger muscle mass compared to women. 

      At one time, researchers thought that anabolic and androgenic
 steroids were different.  It was thought that chemists could create
 new versions of steroids to build up muscle tissue without causing
 masculine side effects.(3)  For this reason, drugs in this
 sub-class are called both anabolic and androgenic steroids. 
 However, they discovered that anabolic and androgenic effects were
 both caused by the same drug action on different tissue
 types.(3,4)  Thus, any steroid that builds up muscle
 tissue also causes masculinizing side effects.(3-6)

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REFERENCES 1. Kleiner SM. Performance-enhancing aids in sport - health consequences and nutritional alternatives. J Amer Coll Nutr 1991 Apr;10(2):163-76. 2. Smith DA, Perry PJ. The efficacy of ergogenic agents in athletic competition. part 1: androgenic-anabolic steroids. Annals Pharmacother 1992 Apr;26:520-8. 3. Kopera H. The history of anabolic steroids and a review of clinical experience with anabolic steroids. Acta Endocrin 1985;271:11-8. 4. Johnson MD. Steroids. Adolescent Med 1991 Feb;2(1):79-93. 5. Wilson JD. Androgen abuse by athletes. Endocrine Reviews 1988;9(2):181-99. 6. Kashkin KB, Kleber HD. Hooked on hormones - an anabolic steroid addiction hypothesis. J Am Med Assoc 1989 Dec 8;262(22):3166-70. by Trent Tschirgi, R. Ph. (c) 1992 University of Maryland Office of Substance Abuse Studies. All Rights Reserved.
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