Nutritional Effects of Anabolic Steroids on Teenagers Term Paper

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Nutritional Effects of Anabolic Steroids on Teenagers

The use of anabolic- steroids is commonly known for its alleged ability to enhance performance sport. There is a general tendency to accept its "....positive skeletal muscle-enhancing effect"; although this aspect has not been conclusively proven. (Wichstrom, and Pedersen 5) More controversially, the use of steroids, especially among teenagers or adolescents, has been shown to have possible negative health implications. These include, among others, the risk of coronary heart disease, liver disease, testicular atrophy, prostate cancer, and breast enlargement in men and decrease in women. (Bahrke et al., 1998) There are also psychological side effects relating to steroids that can exacerbate physical ailments as a result of the use of this substance. These aspects in turn have an effect and interrelate with healthy nutritional balance and the normal development of teenagers.

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In ascertaining the way that steroids impact on the health of adolescents one needs to take into account the extent of its use among school children and the youth. In this regard studies have found that, "...while anabolic-androgenic steroids have been used since the early 1950s to enhance athletic performance, the incidence of use appears to have increased considerably in recent years" (Burnett, and Kleiman 81). Numerous studies show that there is a disturbing trend in the increased use and abuse of this substance. Statistics indicate, for example, that the estimated incidence of its use by adolescents in the United States is six percent of male 12th grade students. This figure is supported by other studies;" a 1988 nationwide survey showed that 6.6% of male high school students reported having used steroids" (Reese, and Exum 238). Alarmingly it has been estimated that at least 700,000 high school students use anabolic steroids. (Burnett, and Kleiman) Coupled with the above figures is the worrying finding that in many cases of the use of steroids leads to addiction, with the concomitant long-term negative implications that this suggests.

Term Paper on Nutritional Effects of Anabolic Steroids on Teenagers Assignment

The way that the use of steroids interact with and affects nutrition in young people can be seen in that steroids often displace normal and healthy nutritional habits and requirements. In another sense the use of anabolic steroids often have an adverse impact on the chemistry of the human body, which disturbs the normal healthy balance between good nutrition and general well-being. It is therefore important to understand the numerous ways that anabolic steroid can affect health in young people.

While the reports of the physically enhancing effects of this substance are not universally verified, what has been verified and studied at length are the effects of this substance on young growing bodies. In the first instance the use of steroids has been shown to have a physical effect on the growth process itself. As Wichstrom and Pedersen (2001) in their study entitled Use of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids in Adolescence: Winning, Looking Good or Being Bad state, the use of anabolic steroids in adolescence "....may cause premature closure of the growth plates over the bones resulting in permanent short stature.... The initiation of AAS use has mostly been found to take place sometime during adolescence" (5).

There are a wide range of negative effects that have been associated with the use of anabolic steroids in adolescence. It has also been found that while some of these effects are short-term, other have more lasting and long-term repercussions for the health of the individual. There are other considerations that should be taken into account in ascertaining the negative effects and the duration of these effects. These include the type of drug, the dosage and regimen as well as the way that the drugs are administered. It has been found, for example, that injecting anabolic steroids has less negative impact compared to oral forms as oral intake of the drug passes through the enterohepatic circulation. (Reese, and Exum 239)

Another noted side affect among adolescents of the use of steroids is that acne occurs after four weeks of usage. This is due to the increase in the size of the sebaceous glands that the drug precipitates. (Reese, and Exum 239) the acne often occurs on the face, neck and back. Baldness can also occur in both make and female users. Furthermore, the development of breast tissue in men, known as Gynecomastia, can occur due to the estrogen-like metabolites of some steroids. (Reese and Exum 239)

Even more alarming is the cardiovascular effect that this substance can have in the adolescent - which… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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