What's The Real Skinny Here ?


On the recently televised Congressional hearings concerning steroids, a father said his athletic teenage son (17?) used steroids and they caused him to commit suicide. The TV narrator said that when the boy got off them, he "crashed," and this caused him to take his own life, because he was depressed.
  • What happened here?
  • Do steroids cause suicide?
  • Do they make you aggressive ("roid rage")? And one last thing: if steroids are so poisonous; then,
  • Why do the athletes and bodybuilders look so good year after year; they should have dropped liked flies in a furnace years ago? They look healthy, vibrant, and alert. But the "informed medical authorities" who tell us steroids are bad for us look old and...well..unhealthy." What's the real skinny here?


Tragic...tragic--it's like a boy given a gun for his birthday, but the father (a good shooter), knowing nothing about safety rules, teaches his son to shoot. An accidental discharge (AD) or a negligent discharge (ND) occurs during a cleaning session, or the teenager points a gun at someone, and the family is hit with a law suit.

Safety rules must be drilled into us at least 3,000 times for them to become habituated under various stresses. An NRA gun safety course should have been taken to learn something that is often taken for granted.

In the case of steroids, people, the media and most physicians don't know the biochemistry and just parrot the prattle that the "establishment" has written and said. There is much information out there, but it must be researched and studied.

This is why most elite, world-class professional body builders know more about steroids than your average doctor or sports physician. These people have lived it and know what works and what does not work. They understand how you can get into trouble and tend to avoid the pitfalls of "roids." The average athlete generally, especially your everyday bodybuilder, weightlifter, or power lifter, doesn't understand this. They simply want to be big, strong, and have endurance.

For years, the medical establishment told them steroids would not make you big, strong, nor enhance performance. But, as the average "Joe" athlete looked around and saw what Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbo and other elite professional body builders did with steroids (the steroids became popular in the 60s and 70s); the establishment lost credence with athletes. They were tired of the lies. The truth was out of the bag. Steroids work. So young athletes do whatever it takes to achieve size, better build and endurance, often to their chagrin. Teens often do anabolic steroids to improve self-image and look better for the opposite sex.

All they are thinking about is impressing that special girl, getting size, making the team, and not often spoken about, pleasing their fathers with their athletic accomplishments.

Now that we know why they do it and how they feel about the establishment, you can see that accidents are inevitable, especially in the young.

Science Magazine, 2004, a publication for scientists, says from a number of its contributors, that the brain and body are not finished developing until 20 to 21 years old, and in some cases, older. This being so, every part of the body is affected by steroids, especially the growth cycle of a teenager. If he starts steroids, generally testosterone, while still growing, steroids can cause premature closure of the epiphyseal ends of the linear bones and the teen, instead of becoming taller, ends up finishing his growth cycle Short.

Even if he or she (girls are taking steroids too for similar reasons, often to get stronger) stops the steroids, if the epiphyses (the bone where new growth occurs) have closed prematurely due to anabolic steroid usage, growth has been stopped permanently. This can cause body distortion, not in just achieving height. It is not good for teens to engage in this activity, unless there is a medical reason, such as hypogonadism, and he is being supervised by a medical team with knowledge of steroid activity in a body not yet finished growing.


Enter cortisol. Testosterone is a steroid natural to the body. It is anabolic or a protein synthesizing or tissue building hormone. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid, a catabolic hormone. Stress helps generate this tissue destroying hormone from the adrenal glands. In excess it can cause brain aging, and cognitive deficits can be generated. These two hormones, with others, work to keep the body in homeostasis or balance.

Both of these hormones have the cholesterol skeleton as their base. Their similar shape can occupy the same receptor sites within the cell, but not at the same time. In order for an anabolic steroid to influence development, it must occupy its receptor site. Therefore when someone uses anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) to effect positive growth, most of his cells' receptor sites are filled with AAS. Homeostasis cannot be achieved by the body, and the individual is in a state of having excess anabolic steroids and less catabolic hormones in his vascular network. This spells increased muscular development because the catabolic hormones are kept mostly out of the receptor sites.

The catabolic hormone, namely cortisol, is continuously produced, and since the receptor sites throughout the body are filled with AAS, cortisol stacks up. Also, AAS limit the liver's competence at destroying cortisol, hence, more build-up of this hormone. You finally have such an increase of this catabolic hormone, it now has an equal chance of competing with the AAS you're injecting or ingesting for the respective receptor sites.

What does the poor unbeknowing young athlete do?--he increases his steroid dosage. Because he has now reached a sticking point or plateau, and the whole cycle starts over.

Temporary Fix :
  Cold Turkey

But this is only a very short, temporary fix. To continue becomes ridiculous, to keep fighting off each plateau, which comes sooner and sooner. After overcoming one or more plateaus, muscle building comes to a halt. He decides to stop taking the steroid Cold Turkey, as one sports physician advocated on national TV news. "You can just stop problem...Cold Turkey." This is bad advice and should be avoided. This is where the CRASH you asked about comes from. And it can be deadly. When the catabolic hormone out-pursues the AAS hormone, tremendous amounts of hard earned muscle tissue are chewed up in the metabolic fires fast! You literally see yourself shrinking. This has dire psychogenic consequences. This often leads to severe depression.

These misguided young warriors should never go "Cold Turkey," as they often do. You can see what can happen. They should use the pyramid type increase and decrease methods that often abound with elite pro bodybuilders and other pro athletes if they are so self-determined to do AAS. It is literally "picnicking on the banks of hell." They need to be told in detail, not generalities, what will happen to them. No fear tactics.

The hypothalamus area of the brain is loaded with testosterone receptor sites. This area is the control data processing information center of the brain. The sudden drop in this steroid hormone can cause malfunction throughout the brain, which extrapolates to other parts of the body. This can lead to severe psychogenic problems, not to mention the physical problems.

A Harvard psychiatrist studied who steroids for 15 years, Harrison Pope, said "The period of greatest risk for depression or possible suicide is when someone has taken steroids for a long time and stops cold."

Many who seek medical help are referred to psychiatrists who know nothing about the proper use of steroids or performance- enhancing drugs and are prescribed antidepressants, which have been linked to thoughts of suicide in teens.

Dr. Pope further said, though it's not scientifically proven, one who uses steroids and at the same time is on antidepressants for an existing depressive disorder, may be more sensitive to suicide. Two of the teens who committed suicide mentioned before the Congressional hearings were placed on antidepressants by their psychiatrists to fight withdrawal and depression. One teen was already under the care of a psychiatrist before taking steroids, it appears. Lexapro, one of the antidepressants one teen was on, has been connected to increased attempts of suicide in pediatric patients.

"More than half of adolescent suicidal behaviors stem from depression. Consider depression as a source of problems if your child:
  • Withdraws,
  • Starts doing poorly in school,
  • Self-medicates by substance abuse; or,
  • Starts exhibiting behavioral problems,"

writes Dr. Ken Blanchard in his book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Hypothyroidism.

One of the teens was already under the care of a psychiatrist, it appears, for depression, and the other symptoms followed. We don't know about "self-medicates by substance abuse," but it may have followed his depression state and was definitely worsened by going cold turkey and using antidepressants to "ease" him off the steroids.

Dr. Blanchard further points out, "Younger adolescents may be less able to explain inner feelings or moods, whereas adolescents in their mid-teens may believe that to do so is a sign of 'weakness.' Depression in adolescents is overlooked at least as often as in other age groups."

Still, with the high cortisol levels circulating in the body, severe depression can occur, along with other side effects, such as edema and high blood pressure.

Raisin Nuts
"Bitch Tits"

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.
"There are no accepted studies, or positions established, by any organization that anabolic steroid abuse by athletes causes coronary heart disease,"
writes Dr. Dan Gwartney, M.D., in MD Magazine, "Do Steroids Cause Heart Disease?" quoting from Arch Pathol Lab Med, 2001 Feb;125(2):253-5.

In fact, Life Extension Foundation (, in one of its articles by a top cardiologist, says bluntly that cardiologists would better serve their patients if they would prescribe some testosterone for their hearts.

High blood pressure (1) can occur by testosterone increasing salt and water retention by causing the liver to decrease its ability to destroy cortisol. The excess water and salt cause blood pressure to increase, and this generates edema. When the AAS hormones are stopped, the water tends to drain off and blood pressure returns to normal. If not, you could develop cardiovascular problems because of the continued high blood pressure. Professional body builders know what to do when on AAS. Many see a physician and have regular blood tests. Generally not appreciated is that (2) testosterone/AAS hormones can cause excess estrogen to mount from the aromatase enzyme. If this enzyme is not blocked, estrogen increases aldosterone release which increases water retention--the same problem as above with increased blood pressure. When the AAS are diminished, the blood pressure in practically all cases returns to normal.

However, if estradiol (E2), the most active estrogen, is excessively high in a male and remains so, It can cause heart disease. Excess estrogen can cause:

  • Tissue abnormalities,
  • Fibrosis, and
  • Inflammation.
It can also cause:
  • Increases capillary leakiness
  • Increases polyunsaturated fatty acid oxidation (rancidity = free radical formation)
  • Increases various inflammatory mediators, interleukins and NF-kappa B (Nuclear Factor-Kappa Beta); the latter in excess can generate cancer. See Ray Peat's Newsletter, May 2005
  • Decreases thyroid hormone which implies weight gain
  • Decreases Progesterone, and
  • Reduces Sex Hormone Binding Globulin which yeilds more testosterone; but, here's the rub...
  • With the increased testosterone you now have increased estrogen
  • When Estrogen rises and stays high, you have increased fibrinogen which generates more plaque formation yielding tendency for more blood clots (See Life Extension, May 2006, p.63; What You Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause By John R. Lee, M.D., pp. 270-274).
According to Life Extension Foundation (, a man's estradiol should be no more than 30 pg/mL (see Life Extension Magazine, October 2003, page 74) and not less than 10 pg/ml. Professional bodybuilders generally run the tests that are necessary and see their physicians. Those who do not, run into serious health problems that could have been averted before they became too entrenched. You can see this is Not for children or teens. These elite professionals take steps to guard against the estradiol tide and edema, including high blood pressure.

What's Wrong With The Media Or Science ?

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!

This is what the textbook, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology, by William H. Elliott and Daphne C. Elliott has to say on the matter:
"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.

On page 650, Gerald Karp points out in Cell And Molecular Biology,
"...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."

"The information encoded in the messenger RNA (mRNA) is then translated (turned) into a specific sequence of amino acids that forms a protein....Protein synthesis is called translation...." --Microbiology: An Introduction, sixth edition; Tortora, Funke, and Case; pp. 208, 213. Principles Of Anatomy & Physiology, by Tortora and Grabowski, Tenth edition; p. 592, write, "If the cell is a target cell, the hormone binds to and activates receptors located within (emphasis by author of this paper) the cytosol or nucleus. The activated receptor-complex then alters gene expression: It turns specific genes of the nuclear DNA on or off."

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.

What The Real Experts Are Saying

Appearing on "60 minutes" several years ago, Mike Wallace had a genuine expert on steroids, Dr. Robert Kerr, author of Anabolic Steroids And The Athlete. Dr. Kerr asked this question:
"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.

Post World War II

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.

Steroids were successfully used to combat the wasting disease that was generated from years of starvation and mal-treatment. Because of this great experiment that the Nazis were performing with steroids during the war years, their victims were able to survive the Holocaust, thanks to steroid injections. From that moment, steroids have been used to combat serious wasting diseases; today, for the treatment of AIDS, cancer, HIV and others. Another important use of steroids, which is not generally touted or known, includes the treatment of victims of burns. It also used for impotence, hypogonadism and for post-surgical patients to speed recovery and regeneration of sound tissue through anabolism (protein synthesis).

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.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse and Addiction Research Center; the Statistical Abstracts of the U.S. Department of Commerce; the Consumer Product Safety Commission for the years 1984 to 1993 clearly point out: 545,000 deaths are caused by nicotine and nicotine-related lung cancer, emphysema; 156,000 deaths from alcohol and alcohol-related homicide, suicide and traffic fatalities; 51,000 for motor vehicles; 36,000 for firearms; 26,000 deaths for the street drugs, cocaine, marijuana, heroine, PCP, Ecstasy, LSD, etc.; Painkillers rack up 900 deaths; 300 for Amphetamines; Barbiturates caused 200 deaths; Tranquilizers: 90; Antibiotics caused 80 deaths; Sedatives caused 50 deaths; and Anabolic/androgenic steroids caused zero (0), nada, zippo, zilch.

There are your facts.

Steroids do not cause death according to these fact-collecting organizations.

Of the millions of steroid users worldwide, legal (prescribed by their physicians for male andropause, muscle wasting associated with some cancers, AIDS, and HIV, etc.) and non-legal, not one has died directly from the use of steroids. The Institute of Medicine, in their report, "Testosterone and Aging," issued November 2003, said close to 900,000 persons in America take extra testosterone. Steroids really became popular with athletes beginning in the sixties, so athletes would by now have been dropping like flies in a fire on the playing fields, gyms, and business offices everywhere. And so should the average male trying to overcome Male Andropause, formerly known as "Male Climacteric."

After looking at 11 hours of the Congressional hearings, one question kept reverberating in my head: Why are the  Accused  the only ones present who looked radiantly healthy?

Incidently, the word "steroid(s)" has a bad connotation, but most do not make the connection that many women, especially young girls, are on a steroid(s) for PMS difficulties, for skin problems, and the "Pill" for contraceptive reasons--and many of these young women are not married. Yet, the "pill" has not been demeaned as a steroid. "The naturally occurring estrogens, such as estradiol, estrone, and estriol, are steroids."--Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Fourteenth Edition, Lewis; p. 452.

A New Use For Steroids

A new use for steroids (testosterone) has been found, that I predicted years ago would benefit this class of patients; Anorexia nervosa patients have just been shown to benefit enormously from testosterone therapy. Miller, Griecok and Klibanski, writing in J. Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2004, illustrated in their study, entitled "Testosterone Administration in Women with Anorexia Nervosa," that "severe bone loss, cognitive function deficits and a high prevalence of major depression," complicates anorexia nervosa. Patients receiving testosterone therapy went from severe depression to moderate depression. Spatial cognition in the therapy group improved. Thus, the conclusion was that short-term low-dose testosterone therapy may improve spatial cognition and depression symptoms in women with this disorder.

Roid Rage

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."

It does not tell us about an "inner-city hellhole teenager who has taken to mugging people." For those who think "'Testosterone equals aggression,' is inadequate for those who would offer a simple solution to the violent male." Just decrease the level of steroid in the teen's blood and the problem is still not solved. "Violence is more complex than a single hormone." But, you find that the public takes for granted what the endocrinologists and psychologists proffer: "testosterone equals aggression." That " endocrinology for the bleeding heart liberal," Sapolsky points out.

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.

Remember, we are discussing in this segment, "Does testosterone (or steroids) cause aggression?" So far, it seems that it does and anyone with normal aggressive behavior would be hard pressed to say it doesn't, or does it?

Let's continue. The subtraction and replacement example to the endocrinologists and others "represents pretty damning proof." The hormone is always present. It is guilty by association. Case closed! But it ain't...there's more.

The fact that the hormone is present does not tell us anything about "Individual differences in levels of aggression, anything about why some males, some human males, are exceptionally violent...high levels of testosterone and high levels of aggression still tend to go together." That seems "to seal the case," as the professor would write. But, he also writes, "...this turns out to be wrong."

Soooo, what do we have up to now? Aggression is elevated by testosterone; or, testosterone secretion is elevated by aggression; or one is not caused by the other. There is a tremendous bias to choose the first one, when in fact, the second one is the correct answer.

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."

Lost On Most People

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: " 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 pissy  mood."

What Happens   

If you open the flood gates of testosterone, it will make its way to this area of the brain. Testosterone does not cause action potentials to bolt down the stria terminalis, nor does testosterone turn on that pathway. What happens is that If and only if the amygdala is already sending an aggressive-provoking volley of action potentials down the stria terminalis, testosterone increases the rate of such action potentials by shortening the resting time between them. It's not turning on the pathway, it's increasing the volume of signaling if it is already turned on." The whole point is this: "It's not causing aggression, it's exaggerating the preexisting pattern of it, exaggerating the response to environmental triggers of aggression." Environmental triggers rise above the issues that testosterone causes aggression.

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.

For example, some have committed suicide because of mild cases of acne. Grief over loss of mass, and hence body image may be too much for some teenagers to deal with. Having seen the behavioral problems that adults may experience while on these drugs, it's clear that steroids are potentially dangerous for teenagers to use." "...the sense of 'self' (or ego) becomes directly proportional to physical size." A teen may have created "an identity based on an image that exists only in his mind."---p. 522. When the steroid using teen stops the drugs, not having the maturity, nor the understanding of what is happening to him, and no one to explain it, he may destroy himself. This is tragic, because your body doesn't resort totally to what you were. Some size is left. This is not generally known or expressed in the media.

Did you know: "According to the National Center for Health Statistics, suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 20. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, males ages 15 to 19 are five times as likely as females are to commit suicide. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System Summary, 2001, 19 percent of high school students considered suicide, 14.8 percent of high school students made a plan to commit suicide and 8.8 percent of high school students attempted suicide," writes Muscular Development (MD) magazine, June 2005; p. 71.

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.

The above information you have been reading was not made known at the recent Congressional hearings. It appears that congressmen were posturing for their constituents for "reelect your congressman," under the guise of "save our youth," according to MD magazine.

Note this: Suicide is the third leading cause of death in teens. Roughly 500,000 American male kids are using steroids. There should be an epidemic of suicides in this segment of the population in America...'tisn't. But, the highest rates of suicide deaths in the U.S. are for white males over age 85. This segment of the American population has a suicide rate of 59 per 100,000. This group generally (unless some receive hormone replacement therapy) has the LOWEST amount of testosterone in the U.S male population, yet this segment has the highest suicide rate. If high levels of anabolic steroids are responsible for suicide, then this group of our population should be protected from such thoughts and actions leading to the highest rate of suicide in America.--Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide: Fact Sheet, see; Seidman SN, Araujo AB, et al. "Low testosterone levels in elderly men with dysthymic disorder." Am J. Psychiatry, 2002 Mar; 159(3):456-9. Also of interest, Bennett D., "Are steroids as bad as we think they are?" The Boston Globe, 2004 Dec. 12.

The Real Cause Of The Steroid Explosion

As the financial geniuses at Elliott Wave International, a prestigious financial newsletter, point out, don't bother us with the'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."

Some Nutritional Supplements

If you have been taking oral steroids, given below are some very important supplements to help protect from any damage to the liver that oral AAS can cause.

  • Silibinin,
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine-Arginate,
  • CQ10,
  • NADH,
  • R- Dihydro-Lipoic Acid,
and a host of other supplements to assist with liver health are recommended. Professional athletes ingest numerous supplements.

  • Ashwagandha and Relora
are valuable in removing excess cortisol from the body. I see no evidence that this poor lad had any of the help I am suggesting. In fact, we would probably not be discussing this from the teen perspective had someone pointed him to many of the muscle magazines out there in the market place that explain things, such as I have been explaining.

Parents Be Alert

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 is doing something with his metabolism and the outcome will probably not be good. Someone doesn't just destroy himself/herself suddenly, in the prime of life without some signs if they have been on AAS. For example, suddenly, within a few months, getting huge, then he starts shrinking after a while.

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.

Role Model   

The real "role model" is you! Not some pie-in-the-sky athlete. It is you, the father and mother. In this current milieu, we want somebody else or something else to take the blame for what we should have done, but didn't.

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