[NOTE: this article was written in 1964. It contains many factual errors. Do not use the advice presented here to make any kind of decision regarding the use of anabolic steroids.]

Tissue Building Drugs

Are They Safe...Or Effective ?

by Carl Richford
IronMan Vol 23 No 3, September 1964

Bodybuilders in this country are a very clannish lot and when something of interest or some juicy item of gossip crops up, no matter where, the word usually gets around pretty quickly. The coast-to-coast "iron telegraph" goes into operation pretty quickly at all times, but when the first rumors of the anabolic tissue drugs began circulating about two years ago, the speed of this hot news broke all records.

And, as with all rumors, the constant telling blew out of all proportions the claims associated with this drug. Responsible people were suddenly whispering how you could gain 20-30 pounds of muscle in a month, that amazing monsters with 55 inch chests and 21 arms were just about to come out of hiding and stun the world, etc. etc.

Rumors usually blow over after a period of time, or the real truth is discovered. Not so in bodybuilding, for in the heart of every beginner or would-be champion there is the "Secret" complex. He's been training for a while now, and because he has not reached the heights of the real champs, he concludes there must be some strange secret jealously guarded by all the greats, and that mystical knowledge is the only way anyone can ever become a top champ. Bill Pearl and Leroy Colbert have told many times about fellows asking them about their arms, and when they tell them about their routines, that they us ALternate Curls, Triceps Extensions, they (the questioners) will throw a fit because Pearl or Colbert won't tell them the "secret," the "real way" the stars train! So it is with most every good star and the average bodybuilder who has little real understanding of the true physiological workings of the body. The uninitiated are constantly on the trail of the "real truth" which, of course, they refuse to recognize.

Drugs and bodybuliders are no strangers in the rumor market. Tales are still heard about Steve Reeves or Reg Park using vitamin B12 injections, giving themselves shots right on the incline bench between sets . . .

But what is the real truth, of what value are drugs in bodybuilding ? Now perhaps that the big tissue drug craze has lessened a bit, and the miraculous gains have not materialized, it can be discussed with some measure of sanity.

The Basic Issue

The basic issue of the whole thing is a better physique. Every bodybuilder wants the body of Hercules and he chooses weights as the only avenue to it. In time, if he's really hooked on working out, he will study his exercises, their form, training priciples, his rest and diet. And he'll be hot for any "secret," any shortcut to a better physique in a quicker time.

All the progress made in the past thirty years, all the training discoveries, use of supplements, tec., have been designed with the sole purpose of shortcutting, making a better physique easier to get than before. It has been a long process of trial and error, and any miraculous discovery that will make the long, hard and exhausting process of bodybuilding any shorter or easier is eagerly snatched up and tried.

So it was with the tissue drugs. When the news of their supposed effects become known, all of us are aware of what happened . . . hysteria hit the muscle world. All the would-be champs were sure at last hat the great secret was exposed, that here was a real short-cut to big muscles, the easy way exposed at last. Even when the dire warnings of possible side effects were published, and reports of champs that had been affected bythe drugs, it was decided by the gym experts that this was just a scare campaign designed to keep the holy secret from the uninitiated.

The truth is, of course, that there are no "secrets" in bodybuilding that cannot be discovered by hard training and study of poper sleap and dietary habits. As in any endeavor in life, there is no substitute for hard work and intelligent study.

But what about the tissue drugs ? What are their real effects ? The simple answer to that is: some can benefit from them to an extent; for others they are a waste of time. And the above explanation will be a lot clearer to you if you fully understand the drug theory of bodybuilding, which I will explain now.

Both B-12 and the tissue drugs especially have been used because they have been thought to speed the bodybuilding process, make muscle gains quicker and better.

Unfortunately, neither was designed by the medical profession for this purpose. B12 is an anti-anemia factor that is a general stimulant to anemic or badly run-down patients. For muscle building it is useless; if the bodybuilder is run-down it will help his vitality, nothing more.

The tissue drug was developed after World War II to specifically help prisoners of war regain their lost health and weight. It greatly increses muscular tissue in those who are sick or have improper protein retention systems. But, before you jump to conclusions, let me fully exlpain. Yourliver has certain factors within it that control the use of protein in the body, control the amount of protein absorbed into the body. These factors are controlled by, to an etent, anabolic hormones. These hormones are secreted in the mle body after puberty (which explains why a woman or a young boy cannot develop a massive muscular system.)

Now, when you take protein into your body it is utilized by your system to a cedrtain extent. You have a certain level of efficiency in your body, x percentage of protein is used by your body, and the rest is eliminated as waste. If your liver functioning is poor because of low hormone level or poor general health, then the tissue drugs will help the patient get back to his regular levels. This treatment is used especially for the aforementioned war prisoners, today for surgery cases and young babies, also older people whose systems are inefficient.

But, these drugs will not raise your system beyond its natural best efficiency. If you're training hard, resting properly and eating healthful foods, the tissue drugs will not affect you much at all . . . you will not gain miraculous amounts of muscle overnight, in fact, you will gain little at all. If you are an irregular trainer, a beginner that hasn't been training very long, or follow a poor diet or sleeping haptis, then proper dosages of any of the tissue drugs under a doctor's supervison might help.

You wil notice I said proper dosage. One of the great dangers of muslce building is that the trainees are so hot to gain that they will do almost anything, including taking overdoses of dangerous drugs. These hormones are dangerous. If you overstimulate the liver your whole system will be disrupted and you can be seriously ill. This is no idle warning; the liver is one of the vital organs of the body that is indispensable to life. Without it you will die. If you attempt to overstimulate your natural metabolism you wil lage the body prematurely and throw the whole protein and metabolic balance of the body out of kilter. And, in case you didn't know, protein is not only the vital element in muscles, but also in the vital organs, the brain and the blood hemoglobin. Tissue drugs are definitely nothing to experiment with. And, if you are a conscientious trainer, they will be particularly useless as your body is already operating at its peak natural efficiency.

New Frontiers in Drugs and Bodybuilding

Even though the tissue drugs are fro all practical puproses useless in making you into a Mr. America, constant study in the medical world could eventually lead to aids in developing the body. Unfortunately, bottled or instant muscles will never be for sale. The body is far too complex an organism to be able to change from a skinny fellow to a really muscular man overnight.

The direction of this new research is fairly predictable. To accelerate your protein retention or speed up your muscle growth would also be to accelerate your general growth rate and to age the body prematurely. Surely no pound of muscle is worth years off your life. Incidentally, a recent item in IRON MAN also pointed out the relationship in your natural growth rate. An animal study showed that a slowing of growth also produced a slowing of general aging in those animals. Conversely, an acceleration over the natural body levels of growth would also produce an acceleration of aging. The natural rates of the body are best.

However, the recuperation of the muscles is another matter. Most every trainee is aware of the long periods of recuperation that are needed for proper muscle growth. If a drug were developed to speed the accumulations of lactic acid from the muscle and to aid faster recuperation, more frequent and harder workouts could be taken, building muscle just that much faster. This is an area for much study, and some day may yeild some results, or like the tissue drugs, may not be very helpful in the end after all. Only time will tell.

Finally, drug diehards may be interested to know that one of the major companies, after doing some studies, has changed its mind and definitely recommends AGAINST using its drug for muscle building purposes. The major tissue drugs are Dianabol, Nilevar, Winstrol and Durabolin. The later is a shot, all the rest are taken in pill form. Major side effects are nose bleeds, nausea, extreme tiredness and, of course, liver and gall bladder disorders. Be smart and stay away from them.

[NOTE: this article was written in 1964. It contains many factual errors. Do not use the advice presented here to make any kind of decision regarding the use of anabolic steroids.]