Steroids have been around in one form or another for centuries.
Not only do they have incredible benefits, they’re also widely used among bodybuilders and athletes to enhance performance and appearance.
With so little information out there, we thought we’d educate you with a timeline of the world’s steroid use.
- 100 BC: China begins extracting hormones from urine.
- 3rd century BC: Greek athletes participating in the Olympics ingest the organs of animals to improve their performance, believing their strength and stamina would be increased.
- 1880s: Scientists studying human strength begin using testicle extract for medical purposes. Jim “Pud” Galvin, a pitcher with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys drank an elixir before an 1889 game made from drained animal testicles. After winning the game, the popularity of such mixtures increased dramatically.
- 1931: A German chemist purifies 15mg of the male hormone androstenone from urine.
- 1934: Another German chemist synthesizes androstenone.
- Mid-1930s: With increasing scientific study being done, pharmaceutical companies in Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland competed to isolate an even stronger male hormone than androstenone: testosterone.
- 1935: Germany succeeds at isolating and synthesizing testosterone, and it is often prescribed as a treatment for depression.
- 1937: Human clinical trials begin with either oral doses of methyltestosterone or injections of testosterone propionate—both categorized as “androgen and anabolic steroids”—AASs.
- 1938: An AAS (testosterone propionate) is mentioned in the U.S weightlifting and bodybuilding magazine, Strength and Health.
- 1940s: Russian and East German scientists begin working to isolate testosterone’s muscle-building properties in order to enhance the performance of weightlifters (both Olympic and amateur).
- Early 1950s: The Soviet Union Olympic team experimented with testosterone as a performance enhancer.
- 1958: The FDA approves methandrostenolone (an AAS) for use in the U.S.
- Early 1960s: John F. Kennedy is given steroids during his presidency (and long before) to help relieve symptoms of Addison’s disease. In 1960, the U.S. starts a steroid program for its athletes in response to the success of the Russian and East German athletes from the 1940s.
- 1968: It is estimated that 33% of the U.S. track and field team are taking anabolic steroids.
- 1974: The German Democratic Republic begins a mandatory steroid program, giving all its professional athletes AASs to improve their performance. By 1978, anabolic steroids are widely used in East German sports.
- 1980s: Bodybuilding and wrestling become hugely popular, and the physiques of these athletes becomes highly coveted.
- 1990-present: Steroids continue to be popular and widely used.
With such a surprisingly long history, steroids have undoubtedly influenced our perception of medicine, sport, and body image, and will continue to do so for many years to come.
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