The level of competition in bodybuilding has increased drastically. While there were bodybuilders like Larry Scott, ripped to bone, in 60’s, now the situation is different. The meaning of bodybuilding has changed a lot. Many branches of fitness has come out. The bodybuilding is now a competition against who can pack on most mass of muscles. The trend of bubble gut too took a rise lately. And with all these, the use and abuse of steroids started. Though it is undeniable that steroid use was not a thing in past, it surely is essential part now.
What are Steroids Made of?
Steroids are biologically active organic compound that is made of 4 rings arranged in specific molecular structure. Steroids are hormones that is secreted by 3 endocrine organs: testosterone by testicle, estrogen by ovaries and steroid hormones like cortisol and aldosterone by adrenal cortex. Cholesterol is the parent compound where steroid is derived.
Steroids are made up of 17 carbon atom arranged in 4 rings. They fall under lipids because they are hydrophobic and insoluble in water. Though shocking, but cholesterol is most common steroid.
Types of Steroids
Commonly or by how it is used, the steroid is of two types:
- Oral: It is absorbed by the stomach and then metabolized or regulated by the liver.
- Injectable: It is absorbed slowly when injected directly in the muscles. It bypasses the liver.
Specifically, there are main 2 types of steroids.
- Anabolic Androgenic: They are like testosterone which builds muscles and promotes masculinity.
- Corticosteroids: They are anti-inflammatory and suppress the swelling. Generally, it blocks the cortisol release.
Both of these have specific function in the body. Steroid is hormone and is responsible for the functioning of body in cellular level.
Steroids work by altering the testosterone to increase its effects. It basically affects the androgen receptors on certain cells, including muscle cells and promotes tissue production. Steroid also blocks the effect of cortisol, a muscle eating hormone which is induced by stress and other. Exercising makes the androgen receptor sites available and thus, muscle growth takes place.
Benefits of Steroids
Steroids have got pretty bad reputation but still athletes use them. So, there are benefits as well. Those whose take steroids are usually athletes or patients with some medical disorder. Some of the benefits of steroids are as follows.
- Increased muscle size
- Increased muscle strength
- Quicker recovery time
- Treatment for patients who require rapid muscle growth
Short Term Effects of Steroids
Benefits of steroids come with short term effects while usage. Steroid use is like addiction, once in it, you will want to get back to it again and again. Though, steroids use and abuse come with several short term effects. Some of them are as below.
- Mood swings
- Small appetite
- Trouble in sleeping
- Decreased sperm count
- Shrinking of testicles
Though these are short term effects of steroids use and abuse, these are pretty irritating and very unwanted.
Negative Effects of Steroids
If something has got such a bad reputation, there must be some facts in it. Steroids are widely used by bodybuilders as performance enhancing drugs. Naturally it is not possible to have such huge lean mass at such low body fat percentage. The paper thin skin look comes at a price. Some of the side effects of steroid abuse are given below.
- Shrinking of testicles: As testicles stop producing testosterone in the body,as it comes from outside, the testicles shrink in size.
- Excessive hair growth in female: Steroids mimic the action of testosterone in body. Testosterone is male primary hormone. Hence, steroid abuse gives manly characteristics to the female.
- Rapid Mood Swings: There is unexpected mood swings every now and then.
- Gynecomastia: Also known as development of man boobs becomes common in man. Breast tissues start growing in the male body.
- Stroke: The rupturing or blocking of the blood to the brain causes stroke.
- Heart disease: The increased heart rate is due to the high muscle mass. Heart needs to work harder to feed them. Hence, due to clogging of blood, heart fails to function causing heart attack.
These are just few of the side effects of steroid use and abuse. As steroid is hormone, these influence the characteristics of gender. Testosterone being male hormone, it affects female and estrogen production from excess testosterone affects male.
Also Read: Importance of Supplements
Long Term Effects of Steroids
Many side effects of steroids are from outwards or can be noticed physically. But some long term effects of steroids cannot be noticed physically. Although the steroid abuse is like addiction, it doesn’t trigger the same response and at same intensity in brain as with cocaine and others. The effects of steroid can happen over longer course of time, altering the brain for long period of time.
Long term use and abuse of steroids can cause effects as such:
- Aggression and anger: Commonly known as roid rage, it is most common yet serious side effect. Over the course of time, the personality of person changes. The aggression becomes the primary weapon and anger becomes normal.
- Kidney Failure: As the products need to be passed by the kidney, the oral use of steroid makes kidney weaker in long term. After long term abuse of steroids, the kidney fails to work.
- Heart attack: The unnatural amount of blood the heart needs to pump to keep those muscles alive stresses the heart. As heart too is an organ, its size too increases resulting in blockage of path of blood flow. This results in heart attack.
- Tumors in liver: Liver filters out the toxins from the body. The excessive use and abuse of steroids causes the growth of tumor in the liver.
- Dependency: Most of the function of the body shuts down due to availability of testosterone from outside. The testicles shrink, body becomes restless and energy always seems to be low. Due to these factors, the dependency of body upon the steroid use increases. The body won’t function normally without steroids.
Some common Steroids
Some of the common anabolic steroids are as follows:
- Stanozolol (Winstrol)
- Nandrolone (Deca-Durabolin)
- Methandrosteolone (Dianabol)
PCT (Post Cycle Therapy)
Most bodybuilders have lived longer despite of steroid abuse. Steroid use needs to be in cycle form; on and off. When your steroid cycle finishes, you need to have proper PCT to regain the loses steroid has done to your body. The effects of steroid minimizes when it is completely out of the body. PCT does the exactly same thing as minimizing the effects of steroid.
There are different doses of different drugs that needs to be take for fixed period to flush out steroid from our system. This continuous abuse of drugs is very stressful for heart, liver and kidney as a whole.
Steroid Good or Bad?
Steroid are hormones. Any foreign body in our system is always harmful. Bodybuilders in past used to take steroids in limit that they could handle. The PTC too was less stressful. But as the competition of packing muscle has started, there is abuse of drugs rather than use. There were multiple death in 2018 alone of some famous celebrity.
Steroid abuse might make you look stronger, huge and terrifying from outside, but it is opposite inside. Unless you earn from your body, even supplements are not necessary for you. The use and abuse of steroid is killing many out there, don’t be the next one. Steroid shall never be an option for you.
These are few of the topics on steroids use and abuse. Don’t be tilted more towards the use and abuse of steroids. Steroid comes with very huge price, more often death. Playing with your health when you are totally blank about what you are doing is foolishness. Don’t do steroids.