Anabolic history can go way back, yet development of these supplementation steroids were produced in 1930’s-1940’s in scientific purposes. We see that the first solid scientific experiments in this area, in which eventually led to discovery and replication of testosterone (as well as other similar androgens), were undertaken in the 1800’s. In this century a number of animal experiments were published, most which involved in the removal of implantation of testicular material from the lab subject. These studies certainly laid the foundation for the modern field of endocrinology (study of hormones). By the turn of the century, scientists were able to produce the first experimental androgen injections.
Chemists finally synthesized the structure of testosterone in the mid 1930’s, sparking a new wave of interest in this hormone. With the medical community paying a lot of attention to this remarkable achievement, the possible therapeutic uses for a readily available synthetic testosterone quickly became an extremely popular focus. During the infancy of such experimentation many believed they had crossed paths with a true “fountain of youth” pharmaceutical.
Dihydrotestosterone and nandrolone, two other naturally occurring steroids, were also isolated and synthesized in the early years of steroid development. To make things even more interesting, scientists soon realized that the androgenic, estrogenic and anabolic activity of steroid hormones could be adjusted by altering their molecular structure. The goal of many researchers thereafter became to manufacture a steroid with extremely strong anabolic activity, but which will display little or no androgenic/estrogenic properties. This could be very beneficial, because side effects will often become very pronounced when steroid hormones are administered in supraphysiological amounts. A “pure” anabolic would theoretically allow the patient to receive only the beneficial effects of androgens (lean muscle gain and increased energy output).
By the mid 1950’s well over one thousand testosterone, nandrolone and DHT analogues had been produced, but none proved to be purely anabolic compounds. The failure to reach this goal was primarily due to an initial flawed understanding of testosterone’s action. Scientists had noticed high levels of DHT in certain tissues, and believed this indicated an unusually receptor affinity for this hormone. This led to the early belief that the human body had two different androgen receptors. According to this theory, one receptor site would respond only to testosterone, while the other is activated specifically by the metabolite DHT. With this understanding eliminating the conversion of testosterone to DHT was thought capable of solving the problem of androgenic side effects, as these receptors would have little or none of this hormone available for binding. DHT, which was once thought not to bind to the same receptor as testosterone, is now to do so at approximately three to four times the affinity of its parent, and the unusual recovery of DHT from androgen responsive tissues now attributed to the distribution characteristics of the 5a-reductase enzyme.