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Strength athletes who use anabolic steroids non-stop are almost bound to develop tendon problems, including the risk of tearing them. Brazilian physiologists came to this conclusion after doing experiments with rats. They believe that steroids, while boosting post-training muscle growth, also prevent muscle attachments from becoming stronger.

Strength athletes who use anabolic steroids non-stop are almost bound to develop tendon problems, including the risk of tearing them. Brazilian physiologists came to this conclusion after doing experiments with rats. They believe that steroids, while boosting post-training muscle growth, also prevent muscle attachments from becoming stronger.

The figure on the right above shows the strongest tendon in the human body: the Achilles tendon, or as it’s called in anatomy textbooks, the calcaneal tendon. Researchers from the University of Brasilia will soon publish the results of their study on the effect of steroids on this tendon in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

They got half of their lab animals to do weight training five days a week. They put a kind of suit of armour on each animal which weighed about half of the animal’s own weight. Then they got the animals to do four sets of 10 reps of jump squats. As the study progressed the researchers made the armour increasingly heavier.

The rest of the rats did no training.

Half of the rats that didn’t train were not given steroids [S]; the other half did get steroids [AAS]. Half of the rats that did train were not given steroids [S]; the other half did get steroids [AAS].

Strength athletes who use anabolic steroids non-stop are almost bound to develop tendon problems, including the risk of tearing them. Brazilian physiologists came to this conclusion after doing experiments with rats. They believe that steroids, while boosting post-training muscle growth, also prevent muscle attachments from becoming stronger.
The researchers used the anabolic steroid nandrolone decanoate. The Brazilians used Deca-Durabolin preparations produced by the Organon factory in Sao Paulo. The human equivalent of the dose they used was surprisingly low: 130-150 mg per week.

After seven weeks the lower part of the Achilles tendon – just above the heel – had become stronger in the rats that had done training. At least, the researchers found more hydroxyproline in that part of the tendon. But in the rats that had not only trained but had also been given nandrolone decanoate, the increase in the number of hydroxyproline units had not taken place. The tendon had not become stronger.

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The figure above partially shows how steroids can stop tendons from growing. In the rats that had trained the circulation of blood in the Achilles tendon had increased, but that didn’t happen if the rats had also been given nandrolone decanoate.

It’s true that the negative effects of the steroid on the structure of the Achilles tendon were pretty small. But the researchers suspect that in the long term, as muscles continue to build strength and users can lift increasingly heavy weights, the consequences could be serious.

Tendon structural adaptations to load exercise are inhibited by anabolic androgenic steroids.

Marqueti RC, Paulino MG, Fernandes MN, de Oliveira EM, Selistre-de-Araujo HS.

Abstract

The present study investigated the structural changes in the rat calcaneal tendon (CT), superficial flexor tendon (SFT), and deep flexor tendon (DFT) in response to jump exercises and anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS). Animals were divided into four groups: sedentary, trained, AAS-treated sedentary rats, and AAS-treated trained animals. Training increased the volume density (Vv%) of blood vessels in all regions of the CT and DFT, cell Vv% in the peritendinous sheath of the proximal and distal regions of the SFT and proximal region of DFT, and cell Vv% in the tendon proper of the proximal and distal regions of the SFT and DFT. The combination of AAS and load exercises showed little increased blood vessel Vv% at the proximal region of the CT, intermediate region of the SFT, and all regions of the DFT as opposed to an increase in adipose cell Vv% in the CT proximal region. The AAS reduced the levels of hydroxyproline in the proximal region of the DFT and in the distal region of the STF. In conclusion, exercise promoted benefits to the adaptation of the tendons to overload. These effects were absent when load exercise was combined with AAS. The abusive consumption of AAS contributes to tendon inertness and rigidity, and increases the potential risk of injury.

© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

PMID: 24224869 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24224869

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