A Brief History Of Steroids

The History of Steroids

In 1931, a German chemist called Adolf Butenandt discovered the hormone androstenone. So, when exploring the history of steroids, we find the steroid is not a new or recent discovery. Butenandt found he could extract the hormone from urine and purify the substance; it was Butenandt’s skill and ingenuity that heralded the true beginning of steroids. The purification process was considered ground-breaking and several years’ later, after much research, anabolic steroids came into being.  However, at this point in time, steroids were considered unsafe for human use.

Undoubtedly, Butenandt  was the first person to discover the steroid, but Leopold Ruzicka, another German chemist found a way to synthesize the hormone so it could safely be used by human beings. In 1935, Butenandt and Ruzicka joined forces to create a synthetic testosterone. Without doubt, this marked the birth of the anabolic steroid. The world hailed the breakthrough as ground-breaking and in 1939 both chemists were awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Further research was carried out during the 1930’s; in the late 1930’s testosterone-propionate injections were trialled on humans. By 1940, anabolic steroids were commonplace and it was thought that Soviet athletes triumphed as a result of anabolic steroid use.  Meanwhile, John Ziegler, physician for the USA Olympic team developed methandrostenolone, also known as Dbol or Dianabol. The pharmaceutical company, Ciba, were quick to market the hormone and did so in 1958 as soon as the FDA approved Dianabol for human use.

Explore the history of steroids and you realize Ciba saw great potential in the performance enhancing drugs. Literally thousands of experiments were carried out to create synthetic steroids. Evidence indicated weight-lifters and athletes excelled on anabolics, hence countless different anabolic steroids were created and introduced to the market. However, the bubble burst when the IOC and other sporting governing bodies banned the use of steroids.  In fact, in 1972, steroids were banned and the the IOC (The International Olympics Council) declared competing athletes must undergo rigorous drug tests.

Jump forward to the 21st century and you find steroids are widely used by sportsmen and sportswomen alike. In addition to this, anabolic steroids are employed for a variety of health reasons including certain cancer treatments and the menopause.