Editor's note: This is the first of an eight-week series of articles examining the effects of anabolic steroids and other substances on baseball pitching performance and overall health. Source: MLB.
There are two distinct kinds of steroids you should be familiar with: 1) those designed to reduce inflammation, swelling or pain, and 2) steroids which are designed to increase strength or muscle mass.
The first category, known as anti-inflammatory steroids or glucocorticosteroids, are most commonly referred to as cortisone or prednisone. Often, professional baseball players are administered cortisone shots by a doctor to reduce inflammation and/or tendonitis.
The second category, known as anabolic androgenic steroids (AASs), is designed to increase muscle size and strength. ("Anabolic" indicates muscle building properties; "Androgenic" indicates "masculinizing" properties.)
Testosterone is essentially the prototypical anabolic androgenic steroid, but unlike the "designer testosterones" that appear on the black market under various pseudonyms -- like deca-durabolin, winstrol, stanzanol, etc. -- testosterone is actually produced naturally in the male testes (in the amount of about 4 to 10 milligrams per day in healthy individuals).
Testosterone, by its very classification as an AAS, has two distinct functions in the natural development of male human beings: 1) to build muscle size, increase lean-body mass, and increase body weight; and 2) to masculinize the body and develop normal male characteristics like facial hair, body hair, deep voice, and reproductive functions.
Naturally occurring testosterone is, of course, what makes males males. It's essential. And if your body does not produce adequate amounts of testosterone, numerous emotional and physical problems can occur, which may lead a physician to prescribe testosterone. However, such use in healthy athletes like yourself is extremely rare — and therefore, the use of additional testosterone is completely unnecessary.
(Series continues on Thursday...)