Way back in 1975, sports scientists at Manchester University in England made
a discovery that mainstream science would only come to accept twenty years
later. The researchers gave bodybuilders who worked out in fitness centres pills
containing the anabolic steroid Dianabol, produced by the CIBA Laboratories.
They discovered that these accelerated muscle growth. “Their improvements were
significantly greater on methandienone than on placebo”, the Brits wrote.
The researchers got thirteen athletes to participate in their experiment and
gave them either a placebo or Dianabol. They had known since 1969 that
bodybuilders used steroids and that there was lively clandestine trade in the
substances. They also knew that women sometimes took steroids and that stories
were doing the rounds of users who took over 300 mg of Dianabol per day. The
scientists did their experiment to find out whether steroids really had any
effect on athletes.
They gave their test subjects either 10 or 25 mg of Dianabol per day. Some of
the athletes started with the steroids and ended with a placebo, and the others
did it the other way round. All athletes could tell whether they were using a
steroid or the fake. When they were using the blue CIBA pills they felt
“prima-donna-ish”, or made, in their own words, “fantastic improvements”.
The athletes’ progression is shown below. It is not clear from the article how
the researchers measured progress. They did mention though that the group on 10
mg of Dianabol per day made as much progress as the group on the higher dose.
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