What is a steroid?
They are a class of natural and synthetic steroid hormones that promote cell growth and division, in medical text it is often refer as AAS. Anabolic/ Androgenic STEROIDS commonly refer as ANABOLIC STEROID in an athletic, bodybuilding, Weightlifter's dictionary. Steroids has two effects Androgenic effect means development of male characteristic, including body hairs deepening of voice and Anabolic effect means growth and repairs of muscles tissue. Steroid in common medical usage by non-endocrinologists usually refers to corticosteroids.
ANABOLIC STEROID is type of medication that contains a synthetically (in Lab) manufactured hormone testosterone or related compounds that is derived from testosterone. Testosterone is a 19-carbon steroid hormone produced primarily by the Leydig cells of the testes (in men) and the ovaries (in women). Smaller amounts are produced in the adrenal glands of both sexes. As a "steroid", testosterone belongs to the androgen class of hormones that also includes Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), Androstenedione, and Androstenediol. Steroid hormones are small molecules which are synthesized in 3 places in the human body. The first and smallest amount in the pituitary gland, second in the Adrenal glands and the third and highest amount in the testicles in men and the ovaries in women.Sex steroids estrogen and progesterone are made primarily in the female ovary and in the placenta during pregnancy .Testosterone is important for many male characteristics, and estrogens and progesterone are important for many female characteristics, we produce a number of other steroids too, such as cortisol that has functions in mental stress responses. This is just a sample so you know they are normally present in our bodies. Testosterone is the reason males carry more muscles in body than females; adult male body manufactures 2.5 to 11 mg per day, while female produces 0.25 mg per day.
In discussing steroid hormones, it is important to discuss cholesterol since it is used in production of all steroid hormones, as well as, bile acids and provitamin D,Cholesterol present in the cell membrane is responsible for allowing steroid hormones to enter the cell, bind to the hormone receptor, and ultimately to a specific site. Steroids are common in both plants and animals.
The common categories of steroids include
Anabolic steroids- are a class of steroids that interact with androgen receptors to increase muscle and bone synthesis. There are natural and synthetic anabolic steroids. These are the "steroids" used by athletes to increase performance.
Corticosteroids - This includes glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoids Glucocorticoids - regulate many aspects of metabolism and immune function, and often prescribed by doctors to reduce inflammatory conditions like asthma and arthritis Mineralocorticoids - are corticosteroids that help maintain blood volume and control kidney's excretion of electrolytes
Sex steroids - are sex hormones that produce sex differences or support reproduction they include androgens, estrogens, and progestagens
Phytosterols - steroids naturally occurring in plants.
History and origin of steroids
Mr. Adolf Winhaus received the 1927 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on steroids. Mr. David et.al. was the first to isolate testosterone in 1935,In World War II German soldiers were given testosterone injections to make them more aggressive in combat. Then in the 1950's many Russian athletes began to find that steroids were very beneficial to their goals and soon after began dominating the sport of power lifting, crushing previous world records.
In 1954 Dr. John Ziegler attended the World Weightlifting Championships in Vienna, Austria, as the American team's doctor. He found that Russian athletes used anabolic steroids to improve their performance, When Dr. john returned to America, He immediately began their efforts to improve American athlete's performance using steroids, Dr. John Z researched with Ciba, the large pharmaceutical firm, and attempted to produce a substance with strength improving effects In 1956, Methandrostenolone was created, and given name "Dianabol"(Pink tablets).since then anabolic steroids has been in news.
How does steroid works
How does muscle hypertrophy (grows) happen?
Skeletal muscle is composed of muscle fibers, connective tissue (surrounding muscle fibers), blood vessels and intra- and extracellular water, and all of these components are covered by fascia. The muscle fibers are enclosed in a membrane called the sarcolemma, and each muscle fiber contains many myofibrils which are arranged in parallel in the sarcoplasm. Increases in existing individual fiber cross-sectional areas are brought about by increases in these myofibrils within the fibers, which is of course, functionally significant. It enables the muscle to produce additional force because contractile proteins such as myosin and actin also increase and total muscle contraction force becomes higher.
Muscle hypertrophy is highly complex process involving much more than just building proteins from amino acids. It requires fusion of new cells (called satellite cells) with existing muscle fibers. Scientists have proved that unlike the normal muscle cells these satellite cells can be regenerated through out adult life. Their major function is to repair & rebuild damaged muscle cells. These satellite cells rest in small indentations on the outer surface of the muscle fibes, waiting for something to trigger them into activation. Injury/trauma will provide the stimulus necessary to activate cells. Once activated, they will begin to increase in numbers and from into myoblasts (muscle fibers are made when myoblasts fuse together).These myoblasts then fuse with existing muscle fibers, donating their nuclei. Muscle fibers therefore have multiple (many) nuclei. Increasing the number of nuclei allows the cell to regulate more cytoplasm (a jelly-like material that fills cells), which allows more contractile protein (actin & myosin) to be produced. This increases the overall size of the cell and protein content of the muscle cell. It is also possible to myoblast to fuse together and actually form new muscle fibers, this is called hyperplasia.Training is the precursor in muscle building process. More specifically, it is the localized cellular damage that training is produced. Now body has to repair this damage and in the process will try to adapt by making itself stronger.
Role of steroid in muscle hypertrophy
When steroids float free in the blood, the synthetic testosterone molecule is available to interact with various cells in the body. This includes skeletal muscle, kidney, bone, scalp, nervous system and prostate gland. Free testosterone can only effect those cells which has androgen (testosterone) receptor. During process testosterone molecule will bind to androgen receptor site, form receptor complex. This complex of (androgen-testosterone) will then go to the cell's nucleus, where it will attach to a specific section of the cell's DNA.This will activate the transcription of specific genes, which in case of a skeletal muscle cell will ultimately cause an increase in the synthesis of the two contractile proteins(actin& myosin). This increases the overall size of the cell and protein content of the muscle cell.