ORAL STEROIDS AND THEIR KEY ADVANTAGESRead full story
Steroids comes in various shapes and forms, but two main forms are injectable and oral steroids.
Steroids belong to the groups of molecules called lipids, and there is a lot of different steroids in our body used for different functions. For example, cholesterol is a steroid, and without it the cell membrane can’t be built.
But when it comes to sport performance enhancement, then we are always talking about anabolic steroids.
Anabolic steroids are the group of substances which are actually a derivative of one hormone, and that is testosterone. We call them anabolic because of their function to promote anabolism, especially the anabolism of the muscle tissue through the process of protein synthesis.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone, although it can be found in both males and in much smaller amounts in females.
So yes, steroids are produced naturally in the body, and those natural amounts are needed for normal functioning of the body.
Promotion of protein synthesis is actually the secondary function of testosterone, primary being spermatogenesis (production of sperm), gonadotropin feedback, and embryonic differentiation.
Where does testosterone come from?
Testosterone is produced by the testicles in men and ovaries in women, and in a much smaller amounts in the adrenal glands. Testosterone is a hormone and hormones play a huge role in regulation of the bodies’ functions.
Production of testosterone starts a few weeks after conception, and lasts throughout the whole life of a healthy male. The time of great changes that occur in our bodies is during puberty. That is when testosterone and estrogen start being mass produced. After 30 years, levels of testosterone slowly decrease, and that is perfectly normal, in a healthy adult.
But, another image of a healthy young man is painted through the athleticism. And it has been like that for a many thousands of years.
The athleticism is closely tied with testosterone. Testosterone is the strongest anabolic substance that naturally exists. It makes us stronger, and bigger. When people realized how effective it is, naturally they wondered what if we had more of that.
Unlike other anabolic substances used by athletes, both professional and recreational, the use of testosterone leaves little room for doubt about its effect on athletic performance.
The studies that observed athletes that were administered short-term anabolic steroids (testosterone derivatives) notified the increase of strength from 5-20% of the initial strength level, and an increase in, most likely lean, body mass of 2-5kg.
This was short term administration without the approximation of doses used by athletes. The production of synthetic testosterone derivatives opened the possibilities of use to treat illness and health issues related to low natural production of testosterone, and possibilities for abuse in order to artificially increase the levels of testosterone in body of athletes to the extreme ones.
Before going on, let’s be straight first. Use of anabolic steroids for the purpose of enhancement of athletic performance is illegal, both by professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts, and in many countries possession of it without proper prescription and distribution is subject to criminal prosecution.
Administration of steroids are done in mostly 2 ways. Through injections and orally, and there are also gels and creams.
The effect they have on anabolic processes in the body is not administration dependable, although there are claims that using them orally provides a much stronger effect than when injected. But one thing is certain, the adverse impact on the liver is much greater when consumed orally.
Oral steroids come in the form of tablets and liquids. Unlike the injectable steroids, the oral ones must be used on a regular daily basis. Some common ones are Anadrol, Dianabol, Winstrol.
Everything that we consume orally most go through the digestive system, get “checked and processed” by the liver, and then be free to do its function in the body. This is the way the body keeps itself safe.
So in order to create effective synthetic steroids, producers had to alter them a bit so they can get the full amount of hormone to the bloodstream. Therefore, we now have so-called 17aa steroids, and without going deep into biochemistry, let’s just say that very same process is toxic to the liver when oral steroids pass through the liver.
But besides having a toxic impact on the liver, one of the most important side-effects is the high level of testosterone in testicles that should originally produce it. The testosterone is being used to treat hypogonadism, but anabolic steroid abuse can also lead to development of hypogonadism in adults and otherwise healthy males. One anonymous survey among adult patients that were treated for hypogonadism, reported 43% of them had previously used anabolic steroids.
When it comes to the use of androgenic-anabolic steroids, (the word androgen comes from Greek word for man), by women, there are a lot of very unwanted side effects of virilization.
The virilization is the process of developing male characteristics in females, such as a deep voice, facial and body hair. This process is also called masculinization. It was especially noticeable in the eastern European block during the 1970’s, when female competitors from eastern European countries were very man-like due to the excessive administration of anabolic steroids.
But now there are oral steroids like Anavar that are claimed to be very low liver-toxic, and without the side-effects of virilization which makes it very suitable for use by females looking for a fast increase of athletic abilities.
Since the very potent effects on muscle building and strength increase, oral steroids have been very broadly used, and let’s face it, not everyone is a fan of needles, but some of them such as Dianabol and Halotestin are used especially for providing desired results very fast, but their use is not recommended to last more than a 6-week cycle, or 4 weeks in the case of Halotestin.
The use of steroids, if wanted to be done properly, with limited damage to the liver primarily, and other side-effects, should be done in cycles. The process of using steroids is mostly done through cycling, stacking, and pyramiding.
Cycling is simply having periods of using of steroids, and the “dry” periods, of training without the steroids, and repeating the cycle of use from the beginning.
Stacking is the use of multiple different steroids, not just orally but also the injectable, in order to get the cumulative and synergetic effect of different chemical components of steroids.
Pyramiding is the term used to describe the use of steroids by slowly increasing the dosage up to a certain point, and then lowering the dosage to the initial level, and then start a cycle without steroids.
These techniques should provide safe use of steroids, so that the body has time to get used to high dosages, and recover from the negative effects, but none of those techniques are scientifically proven.
Anabolic steroids are more often than not self-administered, and beside physical there is a lot of impact on the psyche of the user. Mood changing, mania, depression, rage, are all possible and unfortunately very often side-effects, so the use of steroids is self-administered by a user of sometimes impaired judgment. Reverse anorexia is quite common when it comes to muscle building. The levels of hormones consumed or injected are 10-100 times larger than used in medicine, and that is the only kind of use that has been examined and tested. Not to mention that there is a lot of examples of use/abuse of steroids, not even produced for use on humans.
It is not unheard, especially in the bodybuilding circles, of using steroids that are meant to be used on horses. Now imagine a 120-130kg bodybuilder, using several times higher dosages of a dose prescribed for a 700kg horse.
This is the extreme example of abuse not only of steroids, but of the body as a whole, but professional sport tends to be extreme, and when it comes to being a champion, many athletes would do anything not only in bodybuilding.
The use of anabolic steroids is mostly portrayed through bodybuilding. Bodybuilders put their bodies through extreme stress, from training, over nutrition, to the supplementation. So steroids are a part of professional bodybuilding. There are some kinds of bodybuilding like “natural bodybuilding” that restrains from the use of supplementation, but if someone is dreaming of holding the Sandow statuette, so far the use of steroids is crucial.
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