The history of anabolic steroids and a review of clinical experience with anabolic steroids

Acta Endocrinol Suppl (Copenh). 1985;271:11-8. doi: 10.1530/acta.0.109s00011.


Metabolism is the term employed to embrace the various physical and chemical processes occurring within the tissues upon which the growth and heat production of the body depend and from which the energy for muscular activity, for the maintenance of vital activity and for the maintenance of vital functions is derived (Best & Taylor 1950). The destructive processes by which complex substances are converted by living cells into more simple compounds are called catabolism. Anabolism denotes the constructive processes by which simple substances are converted by living cells into more complex compounds, especially into living matter. Catabolism and anabolism are part of all metabolic processes, the carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. The term anabolic refers only to substances that exert an anabolic effect on protein metabolism and are unlikely to cause adverse androgenic effects. They shift the equilibrium between protein synthesis and degradation in the body as a whole in the direction of synthesis, either by promoting protein synthesis or reducing its breakdown. The protein anabolic effect of anabolic steroids is not restricted to single organs but is the result of stimulated biosynthesis of cellular protein in the whole organism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / adverse effects
  • Anabolic Agents / pharmacology
  • Anabolic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Doping in Sports
  • Drug Interactions
  • Growth Disorders / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Muscles / drug effects
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy
  • Substance-Related Disorders


  • Anabolic Agents