If you loosely mention anabolic steroid in any social circle, you are bound to elicit different responses. Every one would seemingly have an opinion on the topic.
However, you can be sure that many of the opinions will not be based on cold facts, but rather on popular myths surrounding anabolic steroid use.
This post seeks to dispel some of those myths while providing you with facts about the benefits of most anabolic steroids.
How Do Anabolic Steroids Work?
In general, anabolic steroids are chemically produced steroid hormone compounds that provide huge androgenic and anabolic effects to users in the same way, but much better than the natural hormones that they imitate in the body.
Testosterone is one major androgenic-anabolic natural hormone that all anabolic steroids are derived from. This endogenous hormone is released by the testicles, ovaries and adrenal glands, although the ovaries and adrenal glands secrete small quantities in the body compared to the testicles.
When testosterone is secreted into the bloodstream, it promotes amino acid production and because it is an androgen, testosterone binds to androgen receptors located in organs and tissues including muscle tissues.
Testosterone then helps manipulate the cells of the muscles to stimulate protein synthesis in the muscle tissues. This causes a positive reaction in the muscles as they start to grow, develop and strengthen.
Most anabolic steroids are the same as they mimic the androgenic-anabolic effects of testosterone. The chemical reactions of steroids in the body is similar to that of natural hormones with the exception of being more pronounced.
The introduction of exogenous anabolic steroid hormones in the body will be more telling than the natural testosterone. In fact, because of the introduction of synthetic testosterone, natural testosterone production by the testes tends to temporarily cease.
The testes, ovaries and adrenal glands stop producing testosterone as high amounts of similar synthetic hormones are introduced to the body. Testosterone is responsible for the proper development of male characteristics, such as; facial and body hair growth, muscle development, and the development of the sex organs.
So with the introduction of significant synthetic hormones that mimic testosterone in the body, one of the side effects of steroids in bodybuilding or even in medical use is virilization. This is where female steroid users experience masculinization characterised by a deepening of their voice, the increased growth of both facial and body hair, breast atrophy, and so on.
Meanwhile male anabolic steroid users may experience estrogenic side effects as the synthetic testosterone like hormone converts to estrogen and causes feminization. One of the more common side effects of steroids in bodybuilding is gynecomastia. This is an added condition whereby male steroid users develop female-like breasts.
However, both masculinization and feminization are reversible side effects provided users take precautions before, during and after anabolic steroid use.
Preventing Side Effects of Steroids in Bodybuilding
To prevent the masculinization side effects that could arise during steroid use. Steroid users first have to ensure that the unprescribed steroids for sale purchased (usually online) are pure and unadulterated.
Secondly, female bodybuilders should ensure that they practice post cycle therapy (PCT) after a cycle. In the case of male bodybuilders, feminization can be controlled with the administration of Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator or SERM drugs like Clomid during the running of a cycle.
Similar to female bodybuilders, PCT is advised at the end of a cycle and before the start of another cycle. Clomid should be used during PCT along with other SERMs like Nolvadex and Proviron.
Exogenous steroid hormones can also affect vital organs like the heart, kidneys, and liver. In the case of liver toxicity, liver protection drugs like Samarin140 or TUDCA should be used along with the anabolic steroid.
Benefits of Most Anabolic Steroids
All anabolic steroids are not the same and even seemingly similar steroids for sale may differ in their composition. Also, steroids can be used primarily for running either bulking (muscle building) or cutting (fat burning) cycles.
However, most anabolic steroids offer both androgenic and anabolic effects with some steroids having more anabolic than androgenic properties while others have more androgenic than anabolic properties.
Nevertheless, the chemical reactions of steroids often involves the following:
- an increase in amino acid production,
- an increase in protein synthesis,
- a binding with the androgen receptors of organs and tissues,
- an increase in red blood cell production,
- an increase in the growth of muscle mass,
- an increase in bone density,
- an strengthening of muscle tissue,
- the repartitioning of body fat,
- a boost in energy levels,
- increased stamina, mobility, and endurance.
All these chemical reactions of steroids are also the key benefits of androgenic-anabolic steroids in the body.
With increased red blood cell production, muscles are provided with a good supply of oxygenated blood which reduces the formation of lactic acid in the muscles. Blood rich in oxygen will also provide added stamina/endurance which is important particularly during high intensity training.
Protein synthesis in the muscles encourages rapid muscle growth and anabolic steroid use can also increase bone density ensuring that the user has a strong skeletal structure along with enhanced muscle mass.
Anabolic steroids can also repartition body fat which serves as a source of energy for the muscles when workout sessions get heated. With regular workouts, body fat will be used up as an energy source and steroid users can gain lean muscle mass in the process.
Common Anabolic Steroid Myths
There are many anabolic steroid myths out there, here are a few worth noting:
- Anabolic steroids are hard drugs: No, anabolic steroids are not narcotics in the same way as cocaine or heroin.
- Anabolic steroids make you ‘high’: No, anabolic steroids will not give you a ‘high’ like marijuana or other narcotics.
- Anabolic steroid users are junkies: Not true. While it is difficult to legislate for all anabolic steroid users, it is not right to generalise.
- Every bodybuilder uses anabolic steroids: Not true. Again another generalisation. It is like saying – ‘all politicians are corrupt!’
- Anabolic steroids only work when you use high doses: Not true. High doses can be dangerous to the health of the user. What matters in steroid use is consistency in running cycles, training, and a good dietary plan.
Again some of the benefits of using an anabolic steroid include increased muscle mass, increased bone mass, enhanced muscle tissue strength, burning of body fat, greater stamina, endurance, and energy levels.
Anabolic steroids can even help you to recover quickly from muscle strains, sprains, and tears. But while anabolic-androgenic steroids offer tremendous bodybuilding gains, it is also important to note that side effects of steroids in bodybuilding is a real fact of life and precautions need to be taken to ensure that they are minimised as much as possible to avoid severe health implications.
The use of SERMs like Clomid, Nolvadex and Proviron can help to restore your hormone balance while liver protection medications like TUDCA and Samarin140 will help to protect your liver from damage.