Steroids and Why Taking Them Is the Worst Idea Ever
If you ever thought about taking steroids, there are some things you need to know. First, we need to identify the type of steroids that are commonly used for building muscle mass.
1. Anabolic Steroids
Testosterone is a naturally secreted hormone which is responsible for typically male characteristics, including muscle mass. Anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders are synthetic versions of testosterone. However, even though the human body secretes this hormone naturally, if there are surplus levels of it in the body (just like with any other naturally secreted hormone) there are numerous negative side-effects.
2. Supplements vs. Steroids – What’s the difference?
The use of anabolic steroids to boost one’s muscle mass carries along many health hazards, from liver and heart disease to inability to perform sexually, including testicular atrophy. The use of growth hormones can cause joint pain and an imbalance between good and bad cholesterol.
Performance enhancing supplements mustn’t be mistaken for illegal (unhealthy) substances, such as steroids. Some of them use FDA-approved hormones and natural ingredients, so they are often labeled as food items, not as supplements.
The reason why supplements are often labeled as food items is because they contain natural ingredients which we already consume. Amino acids, for example, are present in the foods we eat on a daily basis. Supplements made from these amino acids are very much different from testosterone shots and growth hormones prescribed by doctors, or used illegally. Such supplements stimulate the body to naturally produce more hormones, while the later are synthetic versions of natural hormones. This is the main and most important difference between supplements and steroids.
There is strong medical evidence that amino acids can naturally raise the levels of testosterone and growth hormone, enhancing muscle mass and athletic ability.
A study conducted by a clinic for reproductive biology and endocrinology showed that certain amino acids (D-aspartic amino acids) stimulate the release of testosterone in the body, and can naturally increase growth hormone levels by up to 682% in men and women of different ages.
“Supplements do not contain any active pharmaceutical substances,” says sports dietitian Dave Ellis. “There are many regulations that manufacturers of supplements are supposed to uphold. They are made from common ingredients that can be found in every shop, and then assembled together using regulated manufacturing practices,” Ellis concludes.
On the other hand, steroids are often distributed through illegal channels and many of them aren’t FDA approved. The substances present in steroids are synthetic and detrimental for one’s health. They should be prescribed only to treat certain conditions.
In conclusion, we can say that natural supplements induce the same positive effects as steroids do, but without the serious detrimental consequences on one’s health.
3. When are steroids prescribed?
Doctors prescribe anabolic steroids when treating specific conditions. For example, they are prescribed to AIDS patients who are losing muscle mass, or in case of a testicle disorder or delayed puberty.
4. The Consequences
According to WebMD, men who use steroids may experience painful erections, testicular atrophy, and a declined number of healthy spermatozoids – which all ultimately leads to infertility. A common symptom is impotence, while gynecomastia isn’t rare either.
Women using anabolic steroids may face excessive hairiness, reduction of breasts and an inconsistent menstrual cycle as well, while they may also develop a deeper voice and an enlarged clitoris.
Both sexes may experience greasy skin and hair, acne, yellowish skin, boldness, frequent ligament injuries, heart attacks, dilation of the heart, etc. Some other consequences of using anabolic steroids include an increased risk of developing liver cancer and other liver diseases, elevated levels of bad cholesterol, mood swings, and many more.
Teenagers desiring more muscle mass need to be extra cautious because, besides all the other negative side effects, anabolic steroids may also stop bone-growth.
6. Think Thrice
You are probably thinking how is it possible, with all these negative side effects, that there are those who have been using anabolic steroids for years and haven’t experienced any single problem?
“There are numerous negative side-effects of using steroids,” says Dr. Kenneth R. Mautner. “It’s like Russian roulette – some of them are bad for you, while some are relatively safe for use. Five people could use them and not experience a single problem. The sixth user might die, though,” concludes Dr. Mautner.