Under certain conditions these compounds can act within the body's metabolic structure to produce greater protein synthesis and improve both muscle and skeletal structures (Lamb 164). The compounds used in sports are almost always chemically related to male sex hormones, thus the name "androgenic" (male-producing) hormones, as well as their anabolic (tissue-building) properties.
Anabolic steroids can be taken either orally or by injection. After passing through the intestinal tract, they are absorbed by the intestines. They then travel from the bloodstream, through cell walls, and into the cytoplasm of the cell. In muscle cells, the steroids may stimulate the production of muscle protein and may block the negative "pain" effects of overworked muscles. In certain cases the steroids may stimulate secondary sex characteristics, for example deepening of the voice, beard and body hair growth, and increased libido (Strauss 61). From recent research, it appears that anabolic steroids do help to increase muscle size and strength--under certain conditions. If the individual is experienced in strength training, regularly performing strenuous activity, and well nourished, the drugs seem to have the desired effect of "building-up" at a quicker rate.
The use of anabolic steroids has several other metabolic effects upon humans. In the short term, muscle mass is increased, but only in conjunct