What are Anabolic Steroids?
Anabolic steroids are a class of steroid
hormones that are based on testosterone. Also known as anabolic
androgenic steroids (AAS) or colloquially as "steroids", these drugs
mimic the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and testosterone in the
body. The use of AAS is related to an increase in protein synthesis, a
process in which body cells manufacture proteins, within the body cells
to build up cellular tissue, especially in the muscles. These drugs
have virilizing and androgenic properties that stimulate the
development and maintenance of masculine features like growth of body
hair and vocal cords.
While these drugs were first synthesized
in the year 1930, these days they are used under medical supervision
for stimulating the growth of bones and improving appetite, as well as
inducing male puberty and treating chronic wasting conditions. It is
worthwhile to note that the use of AAS in combination with a proper
bodybuilding diet and exercises can easily lead to muscle strength and
performance gains. AAS use is also related to dramatic enhancements in
terms of stamina, muscle function, muscle size, muscle definition, red
blood cell count and nitrogen retention; in addition, they are used to
gain or lose body weight.
Routes Of Administrations
AAS are commonly available and
administered in four common forms: oral pills, skin patches,
injectable, and creams or gels for topical application. It is important
to note that the traditional administration routes don't have
differential effects on efficiency of the drug, though some orals may
lead to liver damage in rare cases.
Generally, all water-based and oil-based
anabolics should be taken using intramuscular injections, and the
common sites for administering intramuscular injections are the deltoid
region of the arm (shoulder), the buttock, and the lateral side of the
thigh. Other injection sites that may be considered by you could
include Biceps, Lats, Pectorals, Quadriceps, Traps, and Calves.
Mechanism Of Action
AAS, as fat-soluble hormones, are
membrane-permeable and have the potential of influencing the nucleus of
cells by direction actions and their pharmacodynamic action gets
initiated when membrane of the target cell is penetrated by the
exogenous hormone and bind to an androgen receptor that is located in
cytoplasm of the specific cell. After this, the compound
hormone-receptor gets diffused into the nucleus after which it either
activates processes that transmit signals to other parts of the cells
or alter the expression of genes.
These drugs increase the production of
proteins within the body and are highly effective at reducing recovery
time by inhibiting the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone, on
muscle tissues that further leads to the reduction of muscle
catabolism. In addition to that, they have the ability to affect a
number of cells that get developed into fat-storage cells and may even
be used for decreasing body fat by inducing an increase of basal
metabolic rate (BMR).
Anabolic Androgenic steroids are
routinely prescribed by medical practitioners across the world to
provide relief to patients suffering with health conditions such as
hypoplastic anemia, aplastic anemia, and growth failure. Besides this,
they induce male puberty, prevent bone loss in elderly men, stimulate
lean body mass, improve libido for elderly males, and help with gender
identity disorders. They drugs are also used for promoting muscle
deposition after surgery, radiation therapy, burns, and aging-related
sarcopenia (muscle wasting).
Use Of Drugs In Sports (And Other Purposes)
AAS are commonly used by amateur and
professional sportsmen and others for increasing weight and promoting
fat-free mass. These drugs are also used to improve the levels of
naturally-producing testosterone and promoting a sense of well being,
physical performance and improve body composition. AAS are also used to
increase muscle and bone mass, as well as the growth of facial hair and
primary male sexual characteristics. The use of these drugs increases
the count of red blood cells and treats deficiency of testosterone.
The use of anabolics is also linked with
improvements in the context of muscle morphology and biochemistry in
human beings. Moreover, the use of AAS enhances the number of muscle
fibers and average muscle fiber size (in trapezius muscle).
Anabolic Steroid Use by Students 2008 Monitoring
and Future Survey
When used indiscriminately or in absence
(or contravention) of medical advice or of low grade, steroids can
cause side effects that may be mild or severe (reversible or
irreversible) in nature. Some of the possible side effects associated
with abuse include acne, cysts, oily skin, gynecomastia, increased
aggression, heart problems, liver damage, kidney damage, growth of body
hair and voice deepening in women, shrinking of testicles in men, high
blood pressure, reduced sperm count, infertility, enlargement of the
clitoris, increased risk for prostate cancer, increases in LDL (bad
cholesterol), decrease in HDL (good cholesterol), trembling,
jaundice, menstrual irregularities, male pattern baldness, and
infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis when administered
using shared needles.
How To Avoid the Side Effects?
AAS should only be used legally and
only after a qualified medical practitioner has recommended their
use after thoroughly evaluating medical history and reports on a
patient. The dosages and the duration of use should be in strict
accordance with medical recommendations. In case any abnormality is
experienced after use, the therapy should be stopped immediately and
the advice of a doctor should be sought without any delay.