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Anabolic steroids were discovered in the 20th century, less than 100 years back. However, before looking into the timeline of the creation of modern anabolic steroids, and rise in their widespread use, let’s look back into the time.
Humans first realized the effect of testicles on behavior and health more than 6000 years ago, when they realized that many animals were easy to domesticate when castrated.
More than 2000 years back, Greeks knew that consuming lots of testicles may improve physical performance in males. In some cultures, testicles of animals were consumed to treat sexual dysfunction. All these effects occurred due to the high content of testosterone in testicles.
The modern history of testosterone began in 1889 when Brown-Séquard experimented with testicle extracts, auto-injected the extract, and reported a marked improvement in mood, rejuvenating effect, improved physical and mental status. Finally, in 1935, pure testosterone was isolated from the testicles extract. Soon researchers were able to decode its chemical structure and manufacture testosterone synthetically. Mass production of testosterone promoted its use and abuse.
Shortly researchers were able to create testosterone esters, thus prolonging its action and reducing the need for a number of injections.
Testosterone has certain evident drawbacks like it could not be taken orally. It has anabolic and androgenic activity. Anabolic is the muscle and endurance building property, and androgenic is the property that provides masculine characteristics like the growth of facial hair, voice hoarseness, and so on.
Understanding the downsides of testosterone, researchers wanted to create safer steroids with more powerful anabolic action and minimal androgenic activity. They also wanted to develop testosterone analogs that could be taken orally.
In the 1950s, after world war two, it was fully realized that testosterone and its esters could markedly improve the physical performance of athletes, help build muscle mass faster, and much more. This led to the race to create synthetic steroids. In the 1950s many synthetic steroids were created parallelly in various countries, especially in the US, and East Germany.
However, soon, the health risks of such widespread use or abuse were realized. Till almost 1960s, steroids were regarded as quite a safe drug. But by 1970s, it became evident that they cause numerous adverse effects like shrinking of the testicles, prostate hypertrophy, and so on.
The 1970s finally saw the widespread bans on the use of steroids in sports.
However, this did not stop pharmaceutical companies to continue their search for ideal anabolic steroids. Since then, tens of different anabolic compounds have been created with each slightly different from others.
Although ideal anabolic steroid was never created, but there is several synthetic anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS available).
Though the use of anabolic steroids isn’t allowed in any sports, nonetheless, many athletes around the world use them. Using anabolic steroids is a special science now as there are different steroids for different needs, some are better for bulking, other for cutting, competition preparation, strength building, and so on.