Anabolic steroids, is thrown around in many discussions around the bodybuilding community. It’s a no brainer that some of our idols, are probably under the influence of steroids but because it’s been made illegal, talking one’s usage, would be deemed as a crime. In many of the bodybuilding sites I am part of, I have heard people getting busted and charged, for the possession of steroids.
Personally, I think it’s ridiculous that someone would want to put their body under such stress, to add on some muscles. Not only that, but a lot of people don’t take the time to do any type of research on the matter. In preparation for this article, I tried looking around and reading up on different anabolic steroids, and I must say, you have to be pretty knowledgable, before engaging in something of that high capacity. The terminology, the pathways and everything that has to do with using, I don’t see why a person even bothers.
This article isn’t here to condone anabolic steroids, it’s here to inform and that’s it. I am not going to try to even understand the products, the usage, and etc. What this article will entail is the basic definitions, the reasons why people would use and how it works. I am not going to guide you to any forum, or site that promotes the use of steroids. I personally, recognize why it’s banned and agree with it.
Anabolic steroids, or as it’s also known as AAS; Anabolic-androgen Steroids, or even more abbreviated as roids or steroids, is a drug that imitates the effects of testosterone or dihydrotestosterone. Testosterone, is obviously the male hormone that is produced by the male testes. Testosterone is the prime sex hormone in males that helps develop the testes and the prostate. Dihydrotestosterone, is a reduced form of testosterone that’s more receptible to androgen receptors. It also is involved in the development of the male genitilia and in adults, it is the primary androgen in the prostate.
AAS was discovered in the 1930s by a chemist and it was utilized by the German’s to improve the performance of their Olympic athletes. Although back then, the dosage amount was way smaller than you see used today.
Here is the chemical structure of the natural sex hormone; testosterone:
Here is the chemical structure of a synthesized anabolic steroid:
If you have any type of chemistry knowledge, you’d see that the difference is an extra double bond between the carbons, in the azine; 6-sided ring along with the extra carbon with a single bond, next to the chemical compound hydroxide (OH).
Anabolic steriods increases the synthesis of protein within the cells, which produces anabolic responses in primarily, muscles. If you remember in any of your chemistry or biology courses, anabolism is the building up of anything. So anabolic responses would be the building up of the muscle tissues, hence the increase in muscle mass. This is why anabolic steroids are referred to as muscle enhancers.
Some other uses of anabolic steriods include; the treatment of patients with muscle reducing diseases, like AIDS, bone marrow stimulation, increasing appetite in patients with reduced appetites, and growth failure in children.
There are various side effects to using steroids. Some are good and a lot can be bad.
The positive sides to steroid is that it increases the individuals strength along with their muscularity. This only works though, if the person is using a fine-tuned diet and routine. It’s not a miracle drug where if it’s used, one doesn’t have to put in the work.
The negative side effects are a little more numerous, and people should be aware of them. For men, anabolic steroids inhibits the natural production of testosterone. When administered, the male’s natural levels are significantly reduced, biologically. So if the individual comes off of it and doesn’t utilize appropriate measures, their natural production of testosterone, would be significantly reduced. Not only does it reduce production of natural levels of testosterone, it can also cause testical atrophy. Atrophy is generally termed as the wasting away or the reduction of the size of an organ. This is why you may have heard that men who are using AAS, have small testicles. This is a truth and not a myth. Although, a return to normal status can occur yet again, if the appropriate substances are used along with usage. I am not going to assist in direction of what types of substances these are, as I do not condone the use of steriods. But for males, some of these side effects are reversible.
Another negative side effect for men, is the development of what is called gynecomastia or gyno for short, and male pattern baldness. Gyno is basically the abnormal development of mammary glands in males. It is a very unsightly side effect, that sometimes isn’t reversible. Generally anyone who has anabolic steroid induced gyno, have to get it surgically corrected.
As you can see above, there are different types of gynecomastia and different extensity. The reason gyno occurs is because of the small conversion of steroids to estrogen. As the male comes off of the anabolic steroid, the lowered testosterone levels can cause an increased estrogen level, that will cause development of these female characteristics.
Another known bad side effect of testosterone is the development of acne. In the bodybuilding community, it is effectively known that anyone who may possibly have an overrun amount of acne and bacne, are generally on steroids. The development, extensiveness and prolonging of the acne all depends on the dosage used, length of usage, etc.
Yet again other problems would be, as mentioned before; baldness, cardiovascular problems, kidney and liver problems, but the latter is seen more on oral administration of steroids. Along with high blood pressure and other ailments.
The problems experienced by women are generally non-reversible. They experience baldness, facial and body hair growth, deepening of the voice, an enlarged clitoris, stopping of the menstrual cycle, and acne. The extensiveness and the probability of reversible symptoms, all depends yet again on the duration of the usage, and the dosage.
AAS is an illegal substance because of the advantages that it can provide an athlete. At least in the United States, the reason it was recognized as a controlled substance placed under the Controlled Substance Act, was because back in 1980, there was a controversy over an Olympic athlete using the drug and winning that summer Olympics. Although many organizations fought for AAS to not be placed under the Controlled Substance Act because of the fact that it doesn’t cause a dependency, it was nevertheless allowed to pass.
The penalities if found in possession of anabolic steroids, is considered a federal crime and comes with very hefty punishment; 10 years in prison.
So in conclusion, anabolic steroids is a man-made imitation of the male sex hormone; testosterone. It is used to increase protein synthesis that has a build up of muscle cells, producing a growth in muscle mass. Although it has positive uses like treating patients who experience muscle reducing illnesses, it also has very negative side effects; cardiovascular defects, liver problems, kidney problems, gyno and reduction of men’s natural testosterone production, just to name a few.
Steroids are illegal and to be found in possession of it, for one’s first offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It was placed under the Controlled Substance act in 1990, due to athletes usage of it and winning the 1980s summer Olympics.
So, you should ask yourself, is all of the positives really worth the negatives? Train natural and be proud to be even accused of using steriods but know that all the symptoms of it, you’re free of them!!