Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances related to male sex hormones (androgens). Although it is illegal in the United States to possess or distribute anabolic steroids for nonmedical use, a "black market" for them exists, and many amateur and professional athletes take them to enhance performance. In many cases, the athletes take doses that are extremely high—perhaps 100 times the doses that might be prescribed for medical use. As a result, they put themselves in real danger of short-term and long-term health problems. Blood testing, as has been used in the Olympic Games, can detect, identify, and quantify the presence of anabolic steroids in the blood of athletes, which can lead to the disqualification of an athlete.
Bile acids, in particular chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) and cholic acid (CA), can regulate the expression of genes involved in their synthesis, thereby, creating a feed-back loop. The elucidation of this regulatory pathway came about as a consequence of the isolation of a class of receptors called the farnesoid X receptors, FXRs . The FXRs belong to the superfamily of nuclear receptors that includes the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor family as well as the liver X receptors (LXRs) , retinoid X receptors (RXRs), and the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) .
Transdermal patches (adhesive patches placed on the skin) may also be used to deliver a steady dose through the skin and into the bloodstream. Testosterone-containing creams and gels that are applied daily to the skin are also available, but absorption is inefficient (roughly 10%, varying between individuals) and these treatments tend to be more expensive. Individuals who are especially physically active and/or bathe often may not be good candidates, since the medication can be washed off and may take up to six hours to be fully absorbed. There is also the risk that an intimate partner or child may come in contact with the application site and inadvertently dose himself or herself; children and women are highly sensitive to testosterone and can suffer unintended masculinization and health effects, even from small doses. Injection is the most common method used by individuals administering AAS for non-medical purposes.