Performance Enhancing Drugs Essay

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Sitting on the top shelf of Mark McGwire's locker, next to a can of Popeye spinach and packs of sugarless gum, is a brown bottle labeled Androstenedione. Androstenedione was first synthesized in 1935. In the early 1960s, doses were given to women and increased the testosterone levels for a short period of time. In the 1970's, East German scientists developed a nasal spray version of this drug in order to help some atheletes' performance. This nasal spray was found to have the quickest absorption time, but was very hard on the sinuses. Recently, as you probably know, it has received fame as the "supplement Mark McGwire used." For more than a year, McGwire says, he had been using the testosterone-producing pill, which is perfectly legal in baseball but banned in the NFL, Olympics and the NCAA. No one suggests that McGwire wouldn't be closing in on Roger Maris' home run record without the over-the-counter drug. After all, he hit 49 homers without it as a rookie in 1987, and more than 50 each of the past two seasons. But the drug's ability to raise levels of the male hormone, which builds lean muscle mass and promotes recovery after injury, is seen outside baseball as cheating and potentially dangerous. Technically, Androstenedione is 4-androstene 3, 17-dione, a naturally occurring steroid hormone found in all meat and in some plant extracts (pollen for example). It is often referred to as an "adrenal androgen" (produced in the adrenal glands); it is also produced in the gonads. It is a precursor to testosterone. In lay terms, it is an anabolic steroid that is sold over-the-counter because of weaknesses in FDA policies. It is converted to testosterone by the liver. It is classified as a dietary supplement. It is referred to as a prohormone. Once ingested, androstenedione converts to testosterone in the liver. Higher testosterone levels have been found to

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