The young athlete may find that he has another problem, what is called in the gym, "raisin nuts." His testicles have actually become quite small. This affects his feeling of manhood, mentally and physically. He may have developed--another term from the gym, "bitch tits," because of too much estrogen being developed from testosterone conversion into estradiol (most active form of estrogen). The excess estrogen production affects fat synthesis in a negative way. As more testosterone is induced because of plateuing, or the simple act of taking "juice," or "gear," as it is known in gym circles, testosterone is aromatized into estrogen.
Estrogen increases female fat pattern deposits (hips, thighs, and buttocks) and suppresses the hypothalamus-pituitary-testes-axis (HPTA). It can make you fat. In other words, instead of getting testosterone in the brain hypothalamic receptor sites, estrogen competes for them and sends the signal to turn off the anabolic cycle in the body. This is a biofeedback inhibition action that makes the hypothalamus "think" it has plenty of testosterone. Therefore, the testes don't get the signal to make testosterone. This is part of the let down when one comes off a cycle "Cold Turkey." In effect, the teen has gone into premature, early andropause for awhile, and in the meantime, because of the high androgen in the bloodstream, the testes have nothing to do since the hypothalamus is telling the anterior pituitary to send no messages to the testes to manufacture testosterone. Thus, with nothing to do, they atrophy; hence, the "raisin nuts," spoken of.
Any and all of the above can bring about depressions in a young bewildered mind---antidepressants have their place, but not here---unless from an expert knowledgeable in AAS, and then c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y.
The Encylopedia Of Bodybuilding, by Gerard Thorne and Phil Embleton, Chapter 37, writes in Book Nine, "Anabolic Steroids," on page 549,
"If the user quits 'cold turkey' (abruptly, without using a declining dosage) the user is creating a tremendous shock to his/her system, possibly resulting in severe depression due to: low levels of circulating hormone, high levels of circulating cortisol (which is correlated with the occurrence of depression), and grief over loss of mass. Conversely, an individual who gradually decreases the dosage towards the end of the cycle is allowing his/her system to adjust its hormone levels back to presteroid levels. This gives the individual time to adjust to the decrease in size."
Taking steroids can cause high blood pressure, not heart
disease as is now being touted. That is, there is no documented
case of heart disease caused by AAS.
The media, oftentimes not knowing the science, write what they think science is saying, and curiously, the "experts" add to what they think is so and with/through the trappings of their "office" are believed, and the problem is compounded. This is so because someone, somewhere made a statement about something that is wrong and it is picked up by the "experts" and promulgated. Why? Because we quote the "experts" and experts quote other "experts" for the same reason we do. Ad infinitum ad nauseam.
What's wrong with the following? This was given by the Associated Press to all media outlets Tuesday, March 22, 2005, and their sources: Associated Press; Bantam Medical Dictionary; San Francisco Chronicle research: "The lowdown on steroids. How Steroids Work. 1. Blood carries steroid to muscle 2. Steroid is drawn toward muscle cell's wall [note the word, "wall" and attaches to a receptor 3. Steroid enters cell nucleus, interacts with chromosomes Side Effects: Aggressiveness...."
If you read carefully our introductory paragraphs, you see that steroids do not attach to the muscle fiber (cell) wall. They go through it because they are lipo-soluble, and cell membranes have a fatty layer. Incidently, Plants Have Cell Walls, Humans Have Cell Membranes!
"One class of chemical signals, such as steroid hormones, are lipid-soluble, and enter the cell directly by diffusion through the lipid bilayer (because of their nonpolar nature). The second type are water-soluble and do not directly enter the cell but combine with specific receptor proteins on the external membrane surface and in doing so deliver an 'instruction' to the cell. The combination of the chemical signal with the exterior of the membrane receptor results in molecular events inside the cell. This is the Signal Transduction role of the cell membrane," page 52.Here, they have a clear delineation between steroid hormones and peptide hormones such as insulin and glucagon by mode of entry into the cell.
"...steroid hormones act on target cells by diffusing through the plasma membrane and interacting with a receptor protein inside the cell, turning it into an active transcriptional (copying) factor."And on pages 536-7, this is illustrated with the use of the glucocorticoid steroid hormone, cortisol. He writes,
"Steps in the activation of a gene by a steroid hormone, such as the glucocorticoid cortisol. The hormone enters the cell from the extracellular fluid diffusing through the lipid bilayer and into the cytoplasm, where it binds to a glucocorticoid receptor. Binding of the hormone changes the conformation of the receptor and causes it to translocate into the nucleus...leading to the synthesis of specific proteins in the cytoplasm."
These professors from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK: B.D. Hames, N.M. Hooper, and J.D. Houghton, writing in their book, Instant Notes In Biochemistry, have this to say on page 121:
"Some lipophilic (lipid-soluble) (e.g. the steroid hormones, thyroxine, retinoic acid and vitamin D) diffuse across the plasma membrane and interact with intracellular receptors in the cytosol or nucleus. Other lipophilic hormones (e.g. the prostaglandins) and hydrophilic hormones (e.g. the peptide hormones insulin and glucagon and the biogenic amines epinephrine and histamine) bind to receptor proteins in the plasma membrane."and on page 122 write,
"Small lipophilic (lipid-soluble) hormones diffuse across the plasma membrane and then interact with intracellular receptors in the cytosol or nucleus. The resulting hormone-receptor complex often binds to regions of the DNA and affects the transcription (copying) of certain genes. Small lipophilic hormones with intracellular receptors include the Steroid Hormones which are synthesized from cholesterol...."
Mike Wallace, anchor for CBS News "60 Minutes," said, "There is wide-spread medical evidence that the abuse of anabolic steroids causes serious health problems." There are two problems with this: (1) He is totally misinformed, and (2) he is sharing monumental misinformation with a public in an outlet where his image is of authority.
"Wouldn't you rather have your son come to me for guidance if he chose to use anabolic steroids?"Mike Wallace practically shouted,
"No, I would hope you would tell him a horror story."That has set the tone for what's been going on in America then and now. No science, just horror stories. The lies started metastasizing in the eighties when Representative Lungren and Senator Biden urged Congress to ban steroids and classify them as Schedule drugs, along with crack cocaine and heroin.
"The Controlled Substances Act is built entirely and exclusively around drugs which are principally psychoactive and are abused almost exclusively by virtue and because of that property. All of these drugs can be described either as narcotics, stimulants, depressants or hallucinogens,"said Gene Haislip, a DEA official. Steroids do not cause you to see colors, hallucinate, or become addicted. Representative Lungren's son was afraid he couldn't make the Notre Dame football program so he whined to his father that he wouldn't be able to compete because the other athletes were on the "juice." The lies told during these two lawmakers' attempts to ban steroids have been picked up by the media ever since.
This has been procreated with coaches, athletes and trainers, right on up to the Surgeon General and others, saying to millions of TV watchers that steroids are poison, and they will kill you. They are not poison, and there has never been one death linked directly to steroid use.
In fact, this "poison" has been shown, and has been used as a rebuttal with credible proof, that when World War II was over, and during the 1944 to 1945 era, this so-called poison was used to save the lives of millions who survived the Nazi prison camps but were wasting away with muscle tissue loss and bone mass destruction.
The World Health Organization, in 1990, reported on the results positively for testosterone as a contraceptive in men at doses higher than many world class sprinters use. Testosterone is currently being used for get up and go, feel-good, muscle mass enhancement and bone mass building. In this capacity it is used for the male andropause, formerly known as the male climacteric. It is not just for sex anymore, though it does help with libido and erection problems in the older male. Women are now using testosterone per their doctorsț directions for building muscle tissue and bone mass to slow osteoporosis.
Dr. Charles Yesalis, Sc.D., Professor of Health and Human Development at Penn State University, and considered by many the world's top expert on steroids, testified before the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Committee on the Judiciary, when Congress wanted to amend the Controlled Substance Act and include steroids in it. He said continuously to that committee that any medical side effects were "mostly temporary." He further said,
"Steroids do have a medical use...from an epidemiological point of view of the health dangers, I am much more concerned about heroin; I am much more concerned about cocaine; I am much more concerned about cigarettes and alcohol than anabolic steroids."
Cornell University Medical College's Dr. Gary Wadler, said, "There is absolutely no evidence in the literature that anabolic steroids have been associated with any central nervous system malignancy."
Dr. Robert Huizenga, a Beverly Hills cancer specialist, said, "There is no direct evidence linking anabolic steroid use to cancer." He treated Lyle Alzado, the great, late football star, for cancer.
A sports psychologist, who works with athletes at Stanford University, in the same Associated Press release of Tuesday, March 22, 2005, points out that, "The effects (of steroid abuse) are devastating. They (youngsters) come to me because they've gotten caught or are worried about getting caught or are having problems. Sometimes they can't handle their aggression. Their anger gets out of control."
Well...does testosterone, or some permutation or permutations of testosterone, known as steroids, really cause aggression, anger, even uncontrollable rage? Is this real? Or just so much psychobable?
Also from Stanford University is Dr. Robert M. Sapolsky, Professor of Neuroscience, who wrote, The Trouble With Testosterone and is author of other books. He was selected by The Teaching Company for inclusion in, The Great Courses: Teaching That Engages The Mind. Dr. Sapolsky's course is "Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origin of Individuality." In his course, he makes reference to this conundrum, testosterone, and the answer in his book's essay and video course is surprising. This is what he has to say:
"Testosterone is never going to tell us much about the suburban teenager who, in his after-school chess club, has developed a particularly aggressive style with his bishops."
But how did the endocrinologists get that idea? The male animal has higher levels of testosterone circulating in his body than females. They tend to be more aggressive than females. Aggression peaks at the time of life when testosterone is the highest. "Impressive, but these are only correlative data." Testosterone is simply "on the scene with no alibi when some aggression has occurred," Dr. Sapolsky writes. The test comes with subtraction (using a knife) and addition (pills, injections, or gels and creams). He continues, "Remove the source of testosterone in species after species and levels of aggression typically plummet. Reinstate normal testosterone levels afterward with injections of synthetic testosterone, and aggression returns." This is usually proof positive, it appears, for the endocrinologists and other scientists, we might add.
Wow ! This is dynamite in this current environment about steroids. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is addressing this. Our author says,
"Study after study has shown that when you examine testosterone levels when males are first placed together in the social group, testosterone levels predict nothing about who is going to be aggressive (tell that to the social psychologists). The subsequent behavioral differences drive the hormonal changes, rather than the other way around."Testosterone differences among individual males does not predict aggressive behavior among those males.
Sapolsky further lays the bombshell, in saying,
"Interindividual differences in testosterone levels don't predict subsequent differences in aggressive behavior among individuals," and "Normal levels of testosterone are a prerequisite for normal levels of aggression, yet changing the amount of testosterone in someone's bloodstream within the normal range doesn't alter his subsequent levels of aggressive behavior."
Now, you need testosterone for "normal levels of aggression." What is meant by this? Without aggression, there would be no problem-solving. You need a normal level of aggression to get up in the morning and get to work or do what you have to do. That is problem solving. Without testosterone, you would no longer be concerned with solutions to the problems that arise in your life. You need some of the hormone in your bloodstream so you can have normal aggressive behavior. When your physician/surgeon operates on you, you want him/her to be full of aggressive problem-solving abilities for any problems that may arise. In other words, you want him full of "motivation."
The subtraction and readdition data of testosterone indicates "...testosterone causes aggressive behavior. But that turns out not to be true either, and the implications of this are lost on most people the first thirty times you tell them about it," which is why the neuroscience professor says tell them about this thirty-one times.
He gives a delightful, yet factual example that testosterone does not cause aggression, other than that which is normal for problem-solving. Sapolsky writes,
"Round up some male monkeys. Put them in a group together and give them plenty of time to sort out where they stand with each other--affiliative friendships, grudges and dislikes. Give them enough time to form a dominance hierarchy, a linear ranking system of numbers 1 through 5. This is the hierarchical sort of system where number 3, for example, can pass his day throwing around his weight with numbers 4 and 5, ripping off their monkey chow, forcing them to relinquish the best spots to sit in, but, at the same time, remembering to deal with numbers 1 and 2 with shit-eating obsequiousness. "...Take that third-ranking monkey and give him some testosterone. None of this within-the-normal range stuff. Inject a ton of it into him, way higher than what you normally see in a rhesus monkey; give him enough testosterone to grow antlers and a beard on every neuron in his brain. And, no surprise, when you then check the behavioral data, it turns out that he will probably be participating in more aggressive interactions than before.
"Check out number 3 more closely. Is he now raining aggressive terror on any and all in the group, frothing in the androgenic glaze of indiscriminate violence? Not at all. He's still judiciously kowtowing to numbers 1 and 2." It has not made him crazy with violence and aggression.
He "has simply become a total bastard to numbers 4 and 5. This is critical: testosterone isn't causing aggression, it's Exaggerating the aggression that's already there."
What's happening in their brains...our brains? Here is the physiological reason for what's occurring. The amygdala is that part of the brain that is associated with the limbic or emotional area. Right next to it and connected is the hypothalamus. Recall, we spoke of this area earlier as the control-processing center of the brain. Sapolsky says it even better: "...it is the Grand Central Station of emotion-related activity in your brain." It is connected to the amygdala by neuronal cabling called the stria terminalis.
"The amygdala has its influence on aggression via that pathway, with bursts of electrical excitation called action potentials that ripple down the stria terminalis, putting the hypothalamus in a mood."
How do we deal with the statement that if you remove testosterone, aggression plummets? Easy, aggression plummets, but does not go to zero, generally. The more experience one has socially with aggression before his castration, the more likely his aggressive spirit remains.
Allow me to tell you about Laurence Frank's spotted hyenas. Hyenas have been studied by sociobiologists, gynecologists, and endocrinologists because they have a feral sex-reversal system. The females are more aggressive, and with the musculature to prove it. Their sexual organs are greatly masculinized and it is often difficult to tell a female from a male. They are socially dominant over the males. The females secrete more testosterone type hormones than the males do. It's a steroid mix, naturally pyramided, that would be the envy of the elite professional bodybuilders. They are highly muscular and very aggressive. This would almost be a signal for the death knell that testosterone does not make one aggressive.
The world's largest colony of spotted hyenas exists--or did--above the University of California high in the hills. They were brought there from Kenya, as infants, by zoologist Laurence Frank, and have been studied and written about by numerous other scientists. These animals are no different than their spotted hyena cousins living in the wild savannahs of Africa, except for one thing.
Their cousins in Kenya, Africa have one social system and theirs in hills above University of California at Berkeley is another social hierarchy. Remember, these animals in America are also heavily "juiced." There is a significantly greater amount of delay before the females learn to socially dominate the males. They grow without a social system already in place that tells them they are to be the dominant gender. And that is the trouble with testosterone. People are looking for a "single gene or hormone or neurotransmitter or part of the brain that was IT, the cause, the explanation of everything." IT doesn't exist.
The trouble with testosterone is that there is no trouble with testosterone (steroids) in being the IT, the cause of aggression.
In the renowned New England Journal Of Medicine, Dr. Shalender Bhasin of Charles R. Drew University said,
"There is no evidence of anabolic steroid rage or that anabolic steroids make a person prone to outbursts of anger."
With the severe depression that can be generated when one stops "cold turkey," suicide may be an outcome from this. Page 550, the Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, says, "Many teenagers are obsessed with their body image. A teen who takes steroids to improve this image generally does not have the maturity to deal with the regressive physiological change upon cessation of the steroid cycle. The problems associated with reverse anorexia (a condition whereby the person feels, regardless how big and strong he/she becomes, they need to be bigger--they don't feel comfortable with their size) compound this situation. Some teenagers have been known to kill themselves for what, to adults, would seem to be the most trivial of reasons.
The National Institute of Mental Health says, "...scientific evidence has shown that almost all people who take their own lives have a diagnosable mental or substance abuse disorder and the majority have more than one disorder." --ibid., p. 71.
Prevailing research states that anabolic steroids are currently used by approximately 500,000 American male teens and one or two other studies suggest the highest usage is in the South. If this be so, then why hasn't the South seen an epidemic of suicide in male teens?
Dr. Dan Gwartney, MD, writing in the same magazine, says on page 292,
"...suicide is very common in the United States, being the eleventh leading cause of death and the third leading cause of death in teenagers. Of the many conditions associated with suicide, anabolic steroid use has never been directly implicated, though substance abuse is often a factor. The substances abused in the cases of completed or attempted suicide primarily include psychoactive drugs."Steroids are not psychoactive or mind altering drugs.
As the financial geniuses at Elliott Wave International, a prestigious financial newsletter, point out, don't bother us with the facts...it's social mood that counts and that is what all this furor in regard to steroids is about.
The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast is probably right on the money when it points out that the fortunes of baseball and mortgage giant Fannie Mae mirror each other--and the great Bull Market of the late 1990s. "The slackening of accounting rules that allowed corporations to pump up their financial statements and the use of performance-enhancing substances by professional baseball players are just separate mediums through which the peak [social] mood of the 1990s and early 2000s 'juiced up' the social environment to reflect the end of a 200-year bull market."
In other words, the positive overall outlook of the entire society is so pervasive, "...that long-established social institutions such as professional baseball or industries such as the mortgage field stretch conventional standards to allow the achievement of record-high results."
According to Elliott Wave, society in general felt so high on good vibrations that novices as well as professionals easily excused, ignored, and denied a long list of financial measures that should have been confronted, just as fans, media and management excused, and overlooked a "suspicious bulge in homes and player physiques back in 1995," when "the most manic phase of the long bull market began."
In December, 2004, both "Fannie Mae's accounting tricks" and "widespread steroid use by major league players," which had been "open secrets" for some time, suddenly burst into the public eye.
Stock market observers who realize there is a bubble in real estate nevertheless claim Fannie Mae's troubles won't stop the real estate market from continuing to rise. In the same vein, fans and sports writers believe that players' steroid use won't affect baseball's popularity.
"What these writers do not understand is that the overriding force behind baseball's popularity was the long bull market...."
As the bear market sets in, "...the baseball crowds will thin out and the disgust will come pouring out. The effects of a deepening negative social mood will undoubtably extend onto the field since most players took steroids for the same reasons investors bought stocks: to make money, to mimic one another, and to avoid 'the risk of being left behind.'"
A bear market reorients everything. Accounting honesty will return to a chastened, smaller Fannie Mae, and baseball players' size will decrease, along with their home run counts. That's the purpose of bear markets--to reestablish historical standards and values. (Elliott Wave Financial Forecast, January, 2005, pp. 9-10).
Josh Billings, American Humorist (1818-1885), writes, "It ain't what a man knows to be so that is so that hurts him. It's what a man knows to be so that ain't so that hurts him."
He should not have died! Parents, anytime you see your son or daughter put on 15 to 30 pounds of muscle (mainly a teen boy) within a three month period, red flags should go up immediately.
He may become sullen, missing sleep, lose his appetite, become irritable, have angry outbursts, withdrawal, hostility, changes in sleeping or eating habits, his school performance drops, school attendance drops, development of severe acne--anything out of the ordinary for your child is a signal. He is crying for help and doesn't know how to ask for it. By the time you may get wind of something amiss, it may be too late. Pray you find the right physician(s) early who know more than just a little about performance-enhancing drugs....God help us all!
If you have a teen you suspect is on steroids, or have a friend who suspects their teen is self-medicating with such, show them this article. It may just help save a life.