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Steroid supplements are types of hormones that fall into five categories: androgens, estrogens, progestins, mineralocorticoids, and glucocorticoids.
All are synthesized via a series of enzymatic modifications of cholesterol and have either anabolic or catabolic properties in the body.
Anabolic reactions build cellular components while catabolic reactions do the inverse (i.e. breakdown cell components).
Steroid Supplements Bodybuilding
For the purpose of this article, we will mainly focus on androgens and anabolic steroid supplements as they are the most potent in terms of enhancing muscle building and athletic performance.
Be careful to note that androgenic and anabolic are not synonymous terms, though.
Androgenic steroids are hormones that promote masculine characteristics, whereas anabolic steroids are simply hormones that produce growth of certain tissues (such as skeletal muscle) in the body.
Certain drugs, such as testosterone, have both anabolic and androgenic properties.
There is a significant body of evidence that shows anabolic steroids exert their effects on body composition by decreasing amino acid oxidation and increasing their uptake into whole-body and skeletal muscle proteins.
Essentially, anabolic steroids enhance how the body utilizes amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins (which are subsequently the major composition of muscle tissue).
Below you will find a list of the most popular anabolic steroids used in bodybuilding and athletics for enhancing performance, muscle building and fat loss:
Clenbuterol *anabolic effect has not been proven in humans
The only steroid supplements for sale on the above list that is also produced endogenously by humans is testosterone. All the other ones listed are not created in humans and must be synthesized chemically.
Most of these steroids are necessarily administered by injection, as they are not well absorbed orally (and oral steroids are very toxic to the liver).
Benefits of taking anabolic steroids include enhanced muscle growth, improved fat loss, and heightened athletic performance.
When used in conjunction with a proper diet and exercise (specifically weight training) users will experience fairly dramatic and rapid results.
However, there are risks associated with taking these drugs, especially in large amounts. Read on to learn more about the possible side effects from anabolic steroid use.
Steroid Supplements Side Effects
Excessive use can cause priapism, testicular atrophy/shrinkage, severe acne, alopecia (balding), impotence, premature coronary heart disease, increased LDL cholesterol, decreased spermatogenesis, and gynecomastia (“man boobs”).
In females, they can promote masculinization of the body. Androgens can also stimulate prostate gland growth and fluid retention, leading to edema.
When taken at a young age (younger than 25 years old) can cause premature closing of the epiphysis of long bones, which stunts growth and interrupts development.
High doses taken by young athletes may result in liver abnormalities and even death.
An old adage says, “The difference between medicine and poison is in the dose.” That certainly applies to anabolic steroids.
In fact, cancer patients are susceptible to a significant amount of sarcopenia (muscle degeneration/loss) and in those cases they can literally save lives.
Moreover, doctors often prescribe testosterone supplements to individuals who don’t produce enough testosterone naturally, a condition called hypogonadism. This form of treatment is referred to as testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
In studies where hypogonadal men received a nominal dose of testosterone boosters, fat-free mass, skeletal muscle strength, and muscle protein synthesis all increased significantly.
TRT may also be useful for aging men as the body starts to lose its ability to produce sufficient testosterone during the middle ages.
It is just as unhealthy for a man to not produce enough testosterone as it is for a man to produce too much.
In fact, producing too little is often more life-threatening than not producing enough, not to mention without enough testosterone vitality, virility, libido and strength all decrease significantly.
However, it should be noted that TRT is to be done under the supervision of a licensed physician as testosterone (and most other anabolics) are controlled substances in the United States.
When all things are considered, they are much like any other drug out there – they have pros and cons.
It’s unfortunate that the general public has such a skewed perception of how anabolic steroids work and the risks associated with using them (especially when taken in medicinal amounts).
That being said, they can be dangerous when misused, and the side effects can be life-threatening, which is why you can’t buy legal steroids without a prescription.
There is also very little regulation of how black-market anabolic steroid supplements are made, so you never really know the purity and potency of what you’re buying if it isn’t coming from a pharmacy via prescription.