Based on the currently known actions of androgens as anabolic compounds, we conclude that skeletal muscle represents a relatively minor target for anabolic steroids, if the androgen receptor is considered a limiting step in steroid action. The possibility exists that steroids are able to exert other cellular effects such as through regulation of post-transcriptional events or through the glucocorticoid receptor. Muscle overload by weight training may also increase the number of androgen binding sites, thus making the trained muscles more susceptible to anabolic compounds. Women with fewer circulating androgens and more androgen receptors than men are likely to be influenced to a greater extent than men by anabolic steroid administration. However, a great deal of research is needed to explore these possibilities and to further substantiate the biochemical functioning and mechanisms of anabolic steroid action in muscle.
The number of athletes self-administering ergogenic pharmacological agents to increase their competitive edge continues to be a problem. Most athletes using anabolic steroids (AS) have acquired a crude pharmacological database regarding these drugs. Their opinions regarding steroids have been derived from their subjective experiences and anecdotal information. For this reason, traditional warnings regarding the lack of efficacy and potential dangers of steroid misuse are disregarded. A common widely held opinion among bodybuilders is that the anabolic steroid experts are the athletic gurus who for years have utilised themselves as the experimental participants and then dispensed their empirical findings. This review will address the common anabolic steroid misconceptions held by many of today's athletes by providing an evaluation of the scientific literature related to AS in athletic performance.
Awareness and educational efforts are working to help prevent anabolic steroid abuse in schools and communities. The Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS) and the Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives (ATHENA) programs, funded by the NIDA, and supported by the Oregon Health & Science University programs is teaching athletes that they do not need steroids to build powerful muscles and improve athletic performance. These programs provide weight-training and nutrition alternatives, increase healthy behaviors, less likelihood to try steroids, and less likelihood to engage in other dangerous behaviors such as drinking and driving, use of marijuana and alcohol , and and improved body image. Bother Congress and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration endorsed these model prevention programs. 4