Thread: crown jewels.......
01-06-2002, 09:44 AM #1
Muscle growth, testicular Atrophy,
and other odds and ends...
by Jose Antonio, Ph.D.
Mmm...what can possibly shrink your family jewels but enhance your
physique and make those of the fairer sex turn their heads to check out your
Androgens, steroids , anabolic steroids, or anabolic-androgenic steroids. A rose
by any other name.....you know the rest! All the above terms refer basically to
the same compound. Perhaps you know them best as "roids", "juice", "gear"
or some other pet name that only you and the needle know.
First of all, what is a steroid ? All steroid hormones are derived from
cholesterol? Yeah, big bad cholesterol, contributor to the number one cause of
death in the U.S. But we all need cholesterol for LIFE and of course, for steroid
synthesis. If you were to look at the molecular structure of cholesterol and all
of the hormones derived from it, you would see how structurally similar all
steroids are. In fact, if you looked at the structure of testosterone (the male sex
hormone) vs. estradiol (the female sex hormone), you'd be shocked to see how
similar they are! Without getting into any intense biochemistry, all it takes is
one chemical step via an aromatase enzyme to convert muscle-building
testosterone into fat-depositing estradiol.
The word steroid, does not differentiate between the female sex steroids
(collectively called estrogens) and the male sex steroids (collectively called
androgens). So if someone comes up to you at the gym asking if you've used
steroids, just let them know that you leave the birth control medications in
the hands of your significant other. (They'll likely leave with a dazed and
ANDROGENS. If you look up the word androgen in any medical dictionary
you will see that it is typically defined as "a substance which produces or
stimulates the development of male characteristics." Testosterone, is the most
important androgen, and its effects have been divided into what are referred to
as anabolic and androgenic effects. Anabolic effects refer to the stimulation of
skeletal muscle mass growth in adult humans while the androgenic effects are
those which "masculinize" (i.e. put hair on your chest, so to speak)
Now way back when, someone had a brilliant idea. Let's separate the anabolic
from the androgenic effects. I mean who needs extra hair on their backs and
knuckles anyways. Let's make these steroids purely anabolic (hence, the term
anabolic steroids ). Well, it was a nice idea, but it has not been shown that you
can completely separate these two characteristics. All androgens have both
anabolic AND androgenic effects. In fact, all of these androgens interact with
the SAME RECEPTOR sites in skeletal muscle.
Anabolic vs. Androgenic Properties
Like I said before, it is impossible to completely separate the androgenic
(masculinizing) and anabolic (muscle-building) effects of androgens. The way
scientists examine an androgen's anabolic vs. androgenic properties is to
compare the growth response of the prostate vs. that of the levator ani muscle
when an animal is treated with an androgen. For example, when you
compare straight testosterone vs. the nandrolones (ex. Deca -Durabolin ), you'll
see that the nandrolones have 80% less of an effect on the prostate but had
240% greater anabolic effects on skeletal muscle!! Could this be why so many
bodybuilders love Deca?
So yes, there are certain androgens which have different anabolic and
androgenic properties, but suffice it to say that they all have both.
Androgen Receptor Saturation
And what about the notion that circulating levels of androgens at
concentrations normally found in healthy, adult males is enough to saturate
the androgen receptor? Remember the androgen receptor is located within
muscle cells and the receptor binds to the androgen presented to the cell. The
androgen acts as kind of a key and the receptor is the lock to a biological door.
When that door is opened, it results in a myriad of biological processes, among
which include MUSCLE GROWTH! Not all androgens will have equal effects
on muscle EVEN THOUGH they all bind to the same receptor. It's like having
many keys that open the same door, but certain keys just work better than
So if the normal amount of circulating androgen is enough to saturate the
androgen receptor (i.e., there are enough keys [hormone] to fit every lock
[receptor]), then how can taking extra exogenous androgen produce a greater
anabolic effect? The idea that taking extra androgen down-regulates (i.e.,
decreases the level of androgen receptor protein) the androgen receptor is
accepted by many scientists and has been popularized by many writers in the
bodybuilding community. There is however one problem with this idea.
There is evidence that the opposite may occur!
See if you can follow this. If taking extra androgen, down-regulates the
receptor, then removal of all androgen, should up-regulate (i.e., increase the
level) the receptor. Well, guess what? That doesn't happen! In fact, if you
remove all androgen. And the way we do this, at least in animals, is to castrate
them, you know cut off the testes. In certain muscles, this causes a
DOWN-REGULATION of the receptor while in others no change occurs.
Furthermore, the re-administration of androgen UP-REGULATES the receptor
in certain muscles.
So it is possible, though not yet definitively shown, that taking high doses of
androgens may actually up-regulate the androgen receptor. This may explain
why modern bodybuilders grow to the monstrous sizes that they do. It's as if
they are making their muscles more sensitive to effects of androgen!
The compounds athletes take (to build muscle) are typically called anabolic
steroids. All of these hormones have both anabolic and androgenic effects.
And all anabolic steroids are androgens. If have read in numerous articles
how some writers refer to testosterone as an androgen, but something like
nandrolone decanoate (Deca-Durabolin) is not an androgen, but an anabolic
steroid. Sorry, but they're wrong. I don't care if you take oxandrolone
(Anavar ), nandrolone decanoate (Deca-Durabolin), stanozolol (Winstrol ),
oxymethelone (Anadrol ), or the other hundred or so steroids derived from
testosterone. THEY ARE ALL ANDROGENS!
BTW, androgens or "roids" do cause your testes to shrink (not your penis,
although many in the gym crowd believe so), but it is *usually* a temporary
side effect. Once you've cycled off the stuff, your testes *should* resume their
About the author:
Jose Antonio, Ph.D. is an adjunct professor at University of Texas, Arlington
01-06-2002, 09:59 AM #2
Good info bexsome. Didn't know as much as I thought. Peace.
01-06-2002, 10:02 AM #3Associate Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2001
good read..........thank you bro!!!
01-06-2002, 10:38 AM #4Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
Bro, your just an encyclopidia of knowledge ain't ya?? Excellent post!!! Keep them coming, I love reading this shit!
01-06-2002, 11:17 AM #5Associate Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2001
01-06-2002, 12:10 PM #6
Thats the kind of info that makes this board worth while coming to. Thanks
01-06-2002, 01:08 PM #7
Thanks bros iam glad to help you all
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