Anabolic Steroids and the Ways They Affect Body Functions
Anabolic steroids – more correctly termed anabolic-androgenic steroids – are artificial derivatives of testosterone – the hormone behind a man’s manly characteristics.
Testosterone creates two unique effects on the body: androgenic (growth of male genitals and body hair (including on the face), and voice deepening, and anabolic (or the growth of muscle and bone mass). Though all steroids have anabolic and androgenic effects, some synthetic types are manufactured to trigger less of the latter.
Anabolic steroids work by assisting the body’s muscle cells in producing more protein, which, provided they work out, increases the athletes’ strength and muscle size. This, at the same time, increases the body’s production of ATP, or the “fuel” required by the muscles to move.
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Steroids may be taken orally or through injection, typically on the outer upper quadrant of the buttocks. However, some athletes inject other sites in the hope that muscle size and/or strength in that specific area will increase more quickly.
Cycling and Stacking
In cycling, the athlete uses the steroids during specific specific time intervals, such as 12 weeks on, 6 weeks off, and so on and so forth; in stacking, several steroids are used at one time. A lot of users combine oral and injectable steroids, hoping to the effects of these drugs.
Correct Steroid Use
Steroids are popularly used in replacement therapy for individuals who cannot produce adequate testosterone naturally, and to treat a lot of medical conditions or diseases, such as certain cancers and anemias, tuberculosis, malnutrition and burn injuries. Of course, it remains a highly popular method of fast-tracking the increase of athletes’ and bodybuilders’ muscle strength and size.
Types of Steroids
There are various types of steroids. What your mom or grandma takes for her arthritis is certainly not the one athletes use. Unlike anabolic steroids, more typical steroids likely contain cortisone or a cortisone derivative – for example, prednisone – which manages swelling and thus helps relieve arthritis and a host of other inflammatory conditions. They have no muscle building or masculinizing effects as produced by anabolic steroids.
Users should also know that growth hormones are not to be mistaken for anabolic steroids, as these two classes of drugs are very different.
However, the body also naturally produces these hormones, and many companies are also manufacturing synthetic versions. In children, they play a crucial role in the growth of bone and muscle, as well as tissues, glands, and organs.
Even creatine, a protein popularly used by bodybuilders, should be treated differently from steroids. The body produces about one gram of creatine daily, and another gram is usually consumed from meat and fish sources. Like steroids, creatine is taken by athletes in the hope of becoming stronger.