Professor Kristian Gundersen and colleagues from the University of Oslo published new research in the Oct. 28, 2013, issue of The Journal of Physiology that indicates a brief use of anabolic steroids may produce potentially permanent performance-enhancing effects in muscle.
Tests with mice found that mice that were given anabolic steroids for a brief period recovered muscle mass faster when the mice returned to a regular exercise program after a brief exposure to anabolic steroids in their diet.
Three months after the mice quit taking anabolic steroids they were initiated into a regular exercise routine and regained about 30 percent of the muscle mass the mice had lost. This change occurred in mice that were middle-aged. The number of muscle fibers and the number of muscle nuclei increased with a return to an exercise routine just like muscle mass increases when taking steroids.
The research results have several implications.
The rules about doping established by the World Anti-Doping Agency sets a maximum of a two year exclusion from sports if a person is found to have been taking anabolic steroids. The limit may have to be changed to a life time ban because the artificial benefit of anabolic steroids was shown to be permanent by this new research.
More beneficially, the results show that strength training in youth may benefit people in old age when the ability to grow new muscle is impaired.