- What are steroids?
- Corticosteroids and anabolics explained
- What do hormones have to do with steroids?
- The science behind anabolic steroids and the body
- Using steroids
- What types of steroids are there?
- What are the ‘benefits’ of anabolic steroids?
- What are the side effects of anabolic steroids?
- The verdict on steroids
What are steroids?
Steroids have been used in the world of fitness and bodybuilding for their muscle growth enhancing effects for quite some time. The benefits versus the risks debate of doping (steroid use) is an ongoing debate and is likely to remain in this state of limbo for the foreseeable future.
Many people ask, “But if steroids make you gain muscle and improve your athletic ability, then how bad can they be?” However, the list of side effects due to the misuse of steroids for muscle growth is an ongoing one and doctors around the world liken medically unsupervised steroid use to a game of Russian roulette, you may be lucky and not suffer from any of the long-term side effects of the drugs, or you may be unlucky and the effects can even go as far as being life-threatening.
A number of steroid users suggest that the media is warping the idea of steroids and their long-term effects. Some regard the use of the drugs as a way to ‘cheat’ the system as steroids are able to provide noticeable fast results. Others see steroids as a great alternative to natural muscle growth and deem the use of these drugs acceptable, so long as they are used appropriately, in cycles and are not abused (taken in higher doses than recommended).
There are certainly some of you who know of steroids users and have seen the effects of muscle gain and ‘roid rage’ (not to mention the endless list of other negative side effects) in action. Although, many have noted that the reason for steroids being a ‘taboo topic’ is that there is a vast amount of research still needing to be conducted in order for the long-term side effects of the drugs to be further explored.
Bear in mind, this information is not intended to bash the use of steroids and throw the drugs right under the bus full of athletes and gym-goers. But rather, the purpose of this information is to explore the class of drugs further and what they do to the human body. Regardless of where you may find yourself on the spectrum of this heated topic, we urge you to drop the dumbbell, get off the track, or off of social media and take a look at the navigation menu above as we explore the various positions in the debate on steroids and other performance enhancing drugs for muscle building.
Before we dive into the various kinds of steroids, their uses and effects, it would first be appropriate to explain what exactly steroids are.
The term ‘steroid’ has a number of different meanings. Simply put, steroids, which are often hormones that your body produces naturally, are chemicals. Steroids, or hormones, produced by our bodies aid in the functioning of tissues, organs and cells.
On the other hand, steroids can also refer to forms of medicines that are man-made (synthetic).
The dictionary defines steroids as part of a large class of organic compounds containing a characteristic chemical structure that consists of four rings of connected carbon atoms. This includes alkaloids (naturally occurring chemical compounds such as morphine), hormones and vitamins.
There are two main types of steroids, these are:
- Anabolic (anabolic-androgenic) steroids
Steroids play a crucial role in helping our bodies to carry out their vital processes and functions. Different steroids play different roles in the reproductive system and both the function and structure of membranes.
Some examples of common steroids include:
- Cholesterol - High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is the good kind of cholesterol that removes harmful cholesterol from the body which aids in reducing your risk of heart disease.
- Vitamin D