No matter you are a hardcore bodybuilder or not, you may have known about the professional athletes and bodybuilders craze about the anabolic steroids. Various instances where popular athletes and bodybuilders were caught when tested for the banned compound may also have passed your eyes. And you must be wondering why outstanding fitness enthusiasts and both amateurs and professional athletes and bodybuilders are so drawn to them? What is the craze? And are they really worth the damage to internal organs of the body?
This guide is designed to offer insight into the basics of anabolic steroids, their usage, how they work and the possible medicinal, physical and psychological outcomes linked with them. We have tried to keep the guide free from any technical terms in order to make it easy for beginners or dummies, and have only included chemical, medical or biological terminology where necessary.
Simply put, anabolic steroids are the synthetically manufactured forms of male hormone ‘testosterone’, considered as class ‘C’ drugs in the United States. However, note that they are not the same as corticosteroids, cortisone or prednisolone, which are prescribed as anti-inflammatory, also known to treat asthma and other skin or biological conditions.
Oftentimes, they are used for medicinal purposes; however, a dose that is ten to hundred time more than the normal range or what is prescribed normally is considered illegal. And in order to buy them, you need a prescription from a certified medical practitioner; however, the case may vary from one country to another country.
They are commonly known to combine the effects of muscle building with the secondary sexual characteristic development in men. But studies have shown them to be associated to stroke and heart attack. According to Baggish et al. (2017), and a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Anabolic steroids usage is linked to coronary artery plaque in users.
Anabolic steroids are not commonly known by slang words. They are usually known as ‘steroids’ among both users and non-users. They are also known as ‘juice’ or ‘roads’ among street users. Scientifically, they are known as “anabolic-androgenic steroids”. The word ‘anabolic’ refers to ‘building muscle’, and the word ‘androgenic’ refers to ‘increased sexual characteristics in males’; however, they are commonly known as anabolic steroids among both scientific and non-scientific community.
No matter you are using anabolic steroids for medical or illegal purposes such as bodybuilding etc., they can be taken by the below-mentioned methods:
As described above, there are 32 forms of synthetic testosterones commercialized and available in pharmacies, online shopping websites etc.
Some commonly used oral anabolic steroids include:
Some commonly used injectable anabolic steroids include:
The background of androgenic hormones go back to the early 1950s when Dr. John Ziegler collaborated with the Ciba Pharmaceuticals, and together they introduced ‘Dianabol’ tablets, aka metandienone, methandienone or methandrostenolone, that proved to be a game changer in the medical world. Ever since the discovery of anabolic steroids, they have been unstoppable. And their popularity is no less than a forest fire currently. And it seems to go on as such for a while now.
Pharmaceutical giants at the time such as Ciba, Organon and Schering saw the potential for these steroids and did not miss an opportunity to jump on the bandwagon. Later on, Ciba and Schering were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work on the discovery and commercialization of anabolic androgenic steroids.
The experimentation on anabolic drugs dates back to the late 1880s when Charles Edouard Brown conducted tests on male semen and testicular serum. He used testicular vein blood, semen and various serums and fluids extracted from dog testicles, and designed a 3-week long self-administered experiment involving the administration subcutaneous injections. The results showed improvement in both physical and mental energy levels. This experiment later became the founding principle of the modern endocrinology and laid a path for the discovery of current anabolic steroids.
However, the nature, magnitude and strength of steroids have developed greatly over time. And today, there are more than 32 renowned forms of anabolic steroids, and each of them have their own unique properties.
Normally, the brain sends the signal for the production of testosterone to the testes. The testes receive the signal and respond by producing testosterone into the bloodstream. Similarly, anabolic steroids are either ingested or injected and once they become a part of the bloodstream, they add to the already present testosterone in the body and work in a similar way.
Anabolic steroids like testosterone attach themselves to the muscle cells and boost the growth of muscles. They also get attached to various other testosterone receptors in the body and perform their function, producing different effects. And since the anabolic steroids increase the normal range of testosterone in the body, they start inducing abnormal effects such as the overgrowth or over-development of muscles.
Normally, the brain maintains the concentration of testosterone in the body by the feedback system of the body.
Anabolic steroids were created to cure a majority of chemical, medicinal and biological defects such as asthma, delayed puberty, and they may also provide a relief from the harmful effects of AIDS and cancer. It demonstrates that the original purpose behind the creation of androgenic steroids was to present a modern cure for various fatal ailments.
They were originally created in Germany in 1935 as a treatment for depression. And the positive effects of these androgens for the cure of medicinal disorders are popular and widespread. However, professional bodybuilders and athletes started misusing them after their commercialization.
Later on, the general public including high schoolers and young adults began the use of androgenic anabolic steroids to improve their overall sexual characteristics.
Professional athletes and bodybuilders most commonly use anabolic steroids to:
However, they do not improve agility or skill, which are determined by factors such as body size, genetics, training, gender, age, diet etc.
The non-athlete usage of anabolic steroids is observed in male weightlifters in their early 20s or 30s. A vast majority of men who use anabolic steroids demonstrate poor self-esteem, poor health attitudes, poor knowledge, higher rates of mental illness such as depression, anxiety etc. more suicide thoughts and attempts, higher rates of drug abuse, higher rates of sexual abuse, higher rates of eating disorders, greater participation in bodybuilding and similar sports, greater parental pressure etc. The use of anabolic steroids is also common is a condition known as muscle dysmorphia. Men suffering from the state tend to think of themselves as fragile and weak, even though they are often muscular and pretty large.
A NIDA-funded study shows that the rate of anabolic steroid usage has decreased in 8th and 10th grader students since 2000; however, the rate of usage among 11th and 12th years has significantly increased since 2000.
The usage of androgenic anabolic steroids is less compared to males, and is determined by various factors such as a higher rate or drug and sexual abuse, active role in sports etc.; however, woman generally do not desire muscularity or the masculinizing impact of synthetic testosterone.
Anabolic steroids are categorized as class ‘C’ drugs, which means that they can only be purchased at a certified pharmacy with a prescription.
They are legal for personal use. They can be imported and exported in person only. And cannot be posted, delivered or transported via courier or freight.
However, they are illegal if you are selling or supplying them, or transporting or delivering them for import or export via freight or courier services. This also includes supplying them to friends and family. The penalty for such provision is an unlimited fine. You may also be sent to prison and sentenced up to 14 years.
A majority of renowned sports corporations have put a ban on the use of anabolic steroids by professional athletes. Athletes are also tested for illegal steroids before they are selected and trained.
Anabolic steroids are used as performance-enhancing antidotes in bodybuilding to increase muscle, eliminate fat and enhance body size. They are also known to use them on a daily basis to boost their physical performance, build their bodies and strengthen their core.
Bodybuilders believe that the use of anabolic steroids will help them become healthier and fitter.However, the outcome is contrary. The long-term usage of such drugs is known to cause undesirable effects.
Here are the major reasons why bodybuilders use anabolic steroids, and the percentage of usage for each desired outcome.
Regular use of anabolic steroids leads to unwanted and harmful physical, medicinal and psychological effects in both males and females, including:
Beginners can use anabolic steroids; however, they need to do prior research and understand the damaging side-effects of such drugs before investing both money and time. Beginners need to learn that the usage of steroids should not be continuous and long-term as this is the quickest way in which they can put both their physical and mental health in jeopardy.
It is significant to begin their first cycle of anabolic steroids in the correct way. They need to make the most out of their current body and strength and stay safe by using the anabolic steroid for a pre-set time period. This cycle should last anywhere between one month to four months; however, the usage and the length of cycle vary depending on the type of anabolic steroid.
Beginners should also note the importance of post-cycle therapy and consider it a crucial part of their steroid usage. No matter the length of the cycle, they need to opt for the therapy to protect their physical and mental health. It is critical to maintain the positive aspects of the cycle and identify any harmful impact.
Anabolic steroid cycles are an effective way for people to plan what they want to accomplish, when they want to achieve that and for how long they want to use the drugs and test positive at the end of their journey.
Anabolic steroid cycles are known to be an on-off approach, and are mainly used to avoid the unwanted, reducing or harmful outcomesof such steroids such as a month or two until the time they start seeing no further affect on muscle gain, body building etc. Steroid cycles involve the formation of a regular plan that helps you decide the dosage of androgenic steroids, the period of time you want to take them, and for how long will you stop the usage before starting your next cycle.
The length of a cycle may range from a couple of weeks to a few weeks to months and more. This cycle is followed by no usage of steroids or minimum usage of steroids for a certain time period, and then the next cycle starts. Your steroid cycle’s length may depend on the type of steroid, the objectives you want to see, your history etc.