The history of steroids is richly immersed and runs long and deep, far extending the depths of brevity most conclude. The modern history of anabolic steroids, we may aptly place the beginning in the early 20th century but if we delve deeper we can go back even further but for a true history to be understood we must go back to ancient Greece and only then can we fully understand the magnitude and influence anabolic steroids have had throughout history.
The Ancient Beginning
Anabolic steroids did not receive a worldwide audience until the 20th century but the use of pure testosterone can be traced back to the original Olympic Games; keep in mind, it is the hormone testosterone for which all anabolic steroids owe their foundation. Early Olympic athletes, those we may call the fathers of modern athletics were known to ingest animal testicles before a competition; sometimes for extended periods before their meet was to take place. It is doubtful our forefathers understood what they were doing but they were on the right track. One can’t help but wonder who first thought of this novel idea and the idea of eating raw animal testicles is enough to make any stomach turn but as now the same could be said then; if there is an advantage to be had people will find it and grab hold. If we take it down to its bare skin and bones, “Sports Doping” has been going on for thousands of years.
The New Age
In 1849 a man we may call the father of modern-endocrinology, Arnold Adolph Berthold of Germany first removed testes from Cockerels, a species of birds and concluded the adverse effect indeed led to a loss of male characteristics common to the species. This led to a more apt understanding of the importance of the male testicles, in as they carry with them the necessitating factors that simply make men, men.
Berthold took his experiment a step further by removing the testicles of Cockerels and transplanting them into the abdomen. By doing so he determined the sexual functions of the birds were largely unaffected but rather a vast series of capillaries were formed in connection leading to the conclusion the manner in-which testicles act in correlation with the blood.
Granted, for a further understanding of anabolic steroids as we view them today, Berthold’s experiments do not shed a light comparable to what was to come but it was a first step towards understanding and one that must not be ignored.
A True Beginning
To trace the history of steroids as we know them today we must first go back to 1931, to a German chemist Adolf Butenandt. By this point it was understood, largely thanks to Berthold the importance and effects of male hormones but it was Butenandt who first found a way to pin-point and purify the hormone androstenone; he did so by extracting the hormone from a mere few liters of urine. This was a groundbreaking achievement and only the beginning of the breakthrough, as the next several years would see anabolic steroids truly birthed and evolved.
Shortly after Butenandt’s accomplishment another fellow German chemist Leopold Ruzicka developed a means to synthesize the hormone making it safe for human use. Shortly after this breakthrough the snowball was put in place and in 1935 Ruzicka along with Butenandt compounded the first batch of synthetic of testosterone. This was without a doubt the dawning of the ages when it comes to anabolic steroid use and the history there of. The discovery was so profound both Butenandt and Ruzicka were awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize for their work in chemistry. Wrap your head around that; a Nobel Prize was awarded due to anabolic steroid science; as we perceive anabolic steroids today that is mind-blowing!
Research would continue and by the late 1930’s the first injections of testosterone-propionate were administered to humans and in the Soviet Union by the 1940’s anabolic steroid use was becoming common place. During the 1940’s the Soviet Union was the dominating force in athletics thanks to anabolic steroid use but this dominance was short lived as Dr. John Ziegler, the U.S. Olympic team physician found a way to soon develop methandrostenolone; you know it as Dianabol or Dbol. Ciba Pharmaceuticals was first to market the drug and by 1958 Dianabol was approved by the FDA for human use. Ciba would not stop there, in-fact this would open the door for thousands of experiments in synthesizing anabolic steroids and derivatives.
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