Of all the methods that athletes use, to stimulate muscle development, the most effective is, by far, hormonal manipulation. Aware that the results of increased consumption of nutrients (macro and micronutrients) have a limit, many athletes go to the heart of the matter and accelerate the rate at which the body uses them. Before examining the various drugs they use to modify their biochemistry, a brief explanation of the main principles of the endocrine system is required.
The human body consists of two important control networks: the endocrine and nervous systems. Although both have decisive functions, it is the endocrine that most athletes experience.
WHO ARE THE CAUSES OF MUSCLE DEVELOPMENT?
The hormones are the main messengers endocrine system and divided into peptide and steroid. The former is formed from combinations of amino acids. Steroids are generated from cholesterol in the gonads and in the cerebral cortex. The hormones are released by the glands in the surrounding extracellular fluid and travel through the bloodstream to the relevant organs.
It is believed that hormones do not activate chemical reactions, but they influence the intensity of reactions that are already occurring. They achieve this through various mechanisms: first, they stimulate the synthesis of enzymes(substances that control the rate at which chemical reactions are carried out); second, they increase or decrease the number of reagents available for a reaction, and third, they accelerate the passage of substances through the cell membrane (permeability).
Most of the glands of the endocrine system are governed by various brain portions, the most important of which is the hypothalamus. This small structure, located in the anterior part of the brain (the main control center of the organism), regulates sensations such as hunger, thirst, anger, sexual desire, and fear. Closely related to it is the pituitary gland, which is divided into two sections (anterior and posterior), each with different functions.
The posterior pituitary releases the peptide hormones (of protein origin) that are produced in the hypothalamus. Vasopressin (which preserves body water) and oxytocin (which starts labor) are included in this category.
The anterior lobe controls the gonad (the testicles and the ovaries). For these two structures to function properly, they must be regularly stimulated by hormones from the anterior pituitary. It is luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which “order” the testes or ovaries to produce testosterone or estrogen.
In the evolutionary process, the human body has developed a mechanism of constant control and regulation of hormone levels by increasing and decreasing the production of the various hormones. In men, sperm production is controlled by the interrelationship between testosterone generated by the testes and LH of the anterior pituitary. When the level of testosterone decreases, the anterior pituitary detects the change and begins to secrete more LH. This increase in LH orders the testes to increase the level of testosterone, which, in turn, increases sperm production. When testosterone reaches a certain level, the release of LH is interrupted. If it goes down, the LH will be activated again and the cycle will be repeated. This facilitates muscle development.
Of all the hormones that circulate in the human body, sexual hormones play a more active role. They establish the physical differences between men and women. The main “male” hormone is testosterone, which is produced by testes and quoted because the body of women also secretes testosterone. Similarly, despite commonly considered “female” hormones, men have estrogen, derived from the degradation of testosterone. It is the concentration of these hormones that gives rise to the terms “male” and “female.”
In men, testosterone fulfills two fundamental functions: the production of sperm and the development of secondary sexual characteristics. In the sperm are the male reproductive cells, which contain half of the chromosomes of a human being. Muscular development would be favored by means of testosterone.
Regarding the second function, testosterone develops secondary sexual characteristics through two types of actions: anabolic and androgenic. The term “anabolic” refers to anabolism, one of the two divisions of metabolism.
The metabolism is, in a nutshell, the sum of all the chemical reactions that take place in the human body. The reactions that involve the synthesis of molecules are called anabolic, and catabolic which consist of the fragmentation of molecules.
Testosterone is, in essence, anabolic and among its effects is the increase in muscle development and strength. That men are, in general, bigger and stronger than women is because they have a higher level of testosterone. In addition to anabolic actions, this hormone also has androgenic effects, such as acne, facial and body hair, and the aggravation of the voice. Testosterone acts with more intensity in puberty, the years in which sexual maturity is reached.
Given the importance of the endocrine system in human physiology, we will now focus our attention on the means athletes use to modify their biochemistry. We must clarify that many of the substances and practices described in the following section are prohibited in many countries. And in case of doubt, we already know abstention.
In addition, medical studies do not provide convincing evidence of the health risks associated with many of these drugs … for this reason, adolescents are recommended not to use them NEVER and older ones if they do, only under medical supervision.