All About Anabolic Steroids
Anabolic steroids, also known as anabolic-androgenic steroids or AAS, are a class of steroid hormones related to the hormone testosterone. Earlier, when testosterone was found to build muscle tissue and to cause the development of male secondary sex characteristics, medical researchers tried to use testosterone to treat diseases that caused the loss of muscle mass. Unfortunately, testosterone in its natural form has a half life of only about ten minutes in the body. So, medicinal chemists began to alter natural testosterone in an attempt to make drugs that would work like testosterone but last long enough in the body to have an effect and they came up with today’s “kewl” steroids which can either be taken orally, injected in veins or applied as skin patches.
The word anabolic comes from the Greek: anabole, “to build up”. No wonder, most of the guys in gyms have taken it literally! But they do live up to their expectations as they increase protein synthesis within cells, which results in the buildup of cellular tissue (anabolism), especially in muscles.
Anabolic steroids also have androgenic and virilizing (giving a masculine appearance or character) properties, including the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics such as the growth of the vocal cords and body hair. So don’t let your girl confuse them with energy supplements or you’ll have to miss her delicate features!!
General effects of Anabolic Steroids:
Anabolic steroids are widely used for diverse array of medicinal purposes, including:
- Stimulating protein anabolism in debilitating illness and in acute renal failure.
- Promoting growth in children with pituitary dwarfism & other growth disorders.
- The retention of nitrogen and calcium may benefit patients with Osteoporosis and patients receiving corticosteroid therapy.
- Stimulating bone marrow function in hypoplastic anemia i.e. anemia resulting from inadequately functioning bone marrow
However, they are not “as good” as they appear to be. These steroids are notorious when abused, and can have serious side effects. Many wanna-be macho men and athletes aiming to improve their strength, stamina, and speed or body size have always abused them. Steroids appear to work by decreasing the amount of time necessary for recovering between bouts of exercise. Because of this, trainees can exercise more often, or more intensely, without overwhelming the body’s ability to adapt.
Over a period of time, the gland that is responsible for the natural production and release of the hormone atrophies in steroid users. This is because their abundant presence in the bloodstream sends signals to various organs and tissues, just like the hormones. Glands also become weak if not used, just like our muscles.
Conceptions & Misconceptions about Anabolic Steroids
There are also many popular misconceptions concerning the effects and side effects of steroid abuse:
- One popular misconception is that anabolic steroids can shrink the male penis. It is possible that this idea came from temporary side effect that anabolic steroids have on testicle size (testicular atrophy).
- Other purported side effects include the idea that anabolic steroids have caused many teenagers to commit suicide. While lower levels of testosterone have been known to cause depression but the idea of suicides remain unproven.
- Aggression is frequently discussed as a possible side effect of anabolic steroids. Testosterone levels are indeed associated with aggression and hypomania, but the link between other anabolic steroids and aggression remains unclear.