Do You Know... Anabolic SteroidsAppearance and performance enhancing drugs APEDs are most often used by males to improve appearance by building muscle mass or to enhance athletic performance. However, users may develop a substance dht based cycle disorder, defined as continued use despite adverse consequences. They can lead to early heart attacks, strokes, liver tumors, kidney failure, derivedd psychiatric problems. In addition, stopping use can cause depression, often leading to resumption of use. Because steroids are often injected, users who share needles or use nonsterile injecting techniques are also at risk for contracting dangerous infections such as anabolic steroids are derived from hepatitis and HIV. Steroids are popularly associated with doping by elite athletes, but since the s, their use by male non-athlete weightlifters has exceeded their use by competitive athletes.
Types of Steroids - Safe, Health, Legal, and More
The word, steroid, has different meanings to different people. For some people, steroids are medicines they use to deal with acute conditions like arthritis, while others use it for enhancing muscle growth and performance.
Steroids are most commonly linked to athletes, who are known to take them for boosting their energy levels and stamina, thereby enhancing their performance. The word, steroid, is derived from two Greek words - "Stere", which means solid, and "Eidos", which means a three-dimensional form. Together, they form the word, Stereoiedes, which means a solid organic compound. When translated into English, Stereoiedes becomes Steroid. Technically, steroids are defined as soluble organic compounds composed of four Cycloalkane rings.
The four rings, labeled A, B, C and D, are made up of more than 20 carbon atoms that joins them together. Of the four rings, three rings are cyclohexane rings, which contain 6 carbon elements, and the fourth ring is a cyclopentane ring, which contains 5 carbon elements. Steroids are taken in the form of injections , tablets or soluble powders, for a variety of reasons. They are endogenous and exogenous. Examples of endogenous steroids include cholesterol, which is a direct product of the steroid nucleus.
Other examples of steroid include the sex hormones called testosterone and estradiol, and performance boosting hormones called Nandrolone, Stanozolol and Oxandrolone. Vitamin D is also a classic example of a steroid. Exogenous steroids that are available as supplements or replacements are usually synthesized versions of the endogenous steroids produced in the body.
The most common understanding of steroids is that they are drug supplements that enable an individual to build muscles and enhance performance. That is not entirely true, for different types of steroids have different functions. There are different varieties of steroid compounds that can be found in animals, plants and even fungi. Vertebrates produce what are called steroid hormones that are essential for the proper functioning of the body. The functioning of these various types of steroids is not the same, and not all steroids are helpful in building body muscle and mass.
In fact, some steroids do just the opposite of that, which is to destroy the muscle tissues. Steroids can be broadly classified into two types - the Corticosteroid and Anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids are naturally produced by the body, in the adrenal cortex above the kidney to be precise, and include steroid hormones that the body needs for proper functioning.
The corticosteroids are divided into two classes - the glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. Glucocorticoids are steroid hormones that play an important role in controlling the fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. These steroids also have anti-inflammatory properties as they prevent release of phospholipids, control the action of eosinophil, etc.
These hormones are said to be named so, for their involvement in glucose metabolism. Glucocorticoid levels in the body also affect the development of the fetus, as they play an important role in maturation of lungs and protecting the surfactant. Due to the affect they have on the amygdala, the frontal lobes and the hippocampus, the glucocorticoids also play a role in creation of flashbulb memories of intense emotional events, either negative or positive. They are also considered to have a strong impact on a person's cognitive memory and vigilant abilities.
Glucocorticoids can further be classified into metabolic and immunological , depending on their functionality. These steroid hormones are also used for a variety of therapeutic purposes and for controlling certain allergies, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
They are also known to be useful in managing type 1 familial hyperaldosteronism, but not effective with type 2. Glucocorticoids are also used sometimes, in heart failure patients suffering from refractory diuretic resistance. An example of glucocorticoids is cortisol, which is popularly known as the "stress hormone", for the role it plays in reducing stress in the individual.
Cortisol is also an essential hormone in the human body as it regulates important metabolic, cardiovascular and immunologic functions. Other synthesized glucocorticoids are also used in humans, for suppressing an overactive immune system and in cases of glucocorticoid deficiency. Mineralocorticoids are corticosteroids that play an important role in balancing the sodium levels in the body. Aldosterone is the key mineralocorticoid that is produced in the adrenal cortex.
It acts on the kidneys, enabling active absorption of sodium. By regulating the sodium concentration in the body, this hormone regulates the individual's blood pressure. When there is insufficient production of these endogenous hormones in your body, use of Corticosteroid medicines can help you regain the balance and control diseases. Corticosteroid medicines are basically anti-inflammatory drugs that control swelling of the air ways to lungs. They are also used to treat a variety of medical conditions like asthma, skin allergies, arthritis, lupus and more.
Corticosteroid medicines are offered in the form of inhalers or intranasal sprays, tablets or oral medications, topical creams and ointments ad as injections. Commonly prescribed corticosteroids include dexamethasone, prednisone and prednisolone.
When you hear the word, Steroid ,on TV, or read about it in the newspapers, it is usually in connection to an athlete or a celebrity abusing it for professional gain. The steroids in question here are called Anabolic steroids, and they are not the same as corticosteroids. Anabolic steroids are synthesized compounds man-made that are related to male sex hormones called androgens. Anabolic steroids imitate the functions of testosterone, and are also referred to as anabolic androgenic steroids, or AAS.
They are so called because of the effect they have on the individual. Anabolic steroids result in increase of protein within the body's cells and enhance muscle build. They also have virilizing properties, which is why they are prescribed for the development of masculine characteristics like growth of body hair, deepening of the vocal chords and development of the testicles.
Like the word, steroid, the terms — anabolic and androgenic — are also derived from Greek words, "anabole" and "andros", which mean "that which is thrown up" and "of a man" respectively. In simple words, the word, anabolic, refers to muscle or mass building and the word, andros, is related to masculinity. Among the anabolic steroids that are commonly used, testosterone , dihydrotestosterone and nandrolone are the key ones, from which a variety of steroid analogues are derived.
Of these three, testosterone is perhaps the most important and popular among people, as it affects the physiology of a person and also has medical benefits. The primary steroid among anabolic androgenic steroids is testosterone , which is found in most species including vertebrates, animals and birds. Naturally produced by the testicles in men, and by ovaries in women, testosterone is the most important sex hormone for males.
The androgenic part of the hormone is responsible for development of the primary male reproductive cells like the prostate and testis, and the anabolic part enables development of secondary sexual characteristics like muscle mass, body hair, development of vocal chords, etc.
In women, this hormone is produced in very little quantities. Testosterone and its derivatives are also available as prescription drugs and hormone supplements.
While some of these supplements contain these steroids in their original form, others boost their secretion in the body, thus bringing out the same kind of results. Use of AAS is highly common among people who wish to enhance their muscle mass and their body structure.
Bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts and even sportspersons tend to use these steroid hormone supplements for enhanced fitness levels. Androgenic steroids are also prescribed to men who have insufficient levels of testosterone.
Low quantities of this steroid hormone can affect the development of masculine characteristics in men, and excess secretion of this hormone leads to enhanced masculine traits in women. Due to the many physiological effects it has on the body, testosterone is also used as a prescription drug in certain cases.
The hormone is said to deliver either anabolic or androgenic effects, although in most cases, the steroid results in both types of changes in an individual.
The androgenic effects of testosterone can be seen right from the prenatal stage through the adolescence and adult phase that the person goes through. Among the biological uses of testosterone are development of sperm, regulation of physical energy and cognition, regulation of acute hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or the HPA, platelet aggregation, increased libido and maintenance of muscle trophism.
The hormone induces the "flight-or-fight" response when a person is put in dominance challenges. There is also likely correlation between the levels of testosterone and heart attacks, obesity and perception of one's own health. Studies have also shown that testosterone levels do not in any way cause or have a negative impact on prostate cancer.
It is a well-known fact that hormones, especially testosterone, play an important role in sexual arousal. Studies have also revealed that this steroid hormone impacts an individual's romantic life. The testosterone levels tend to decrease in men who fall in love, while they tend to increase in women in love.
It is also suggested that fatherhood brings down the levels of testosterone in a man. While low testosterone levels decrease a person's libido, higher production of testosterone in men encourages them to have extramarital affairs.
It is also suggested that for a man in a relationship, physical interaction is not necessary for maintaining high testosterone levels, while it is the opposite in women. Women need physical intimacy and interaction with their partners for increase in testosterone levels. Testosterone also plays a significant role in decision making, when it comes to risky financial transactions.
Lack of testosterone production in the body can impact the development of reproductive organs and sexual characteristics in males. Testosterone is used for treating men with hypogonadism, a condition where too little or no natural production of testosterone takes place in the body.
It is also prescribed for other conditions like infertility, erectile dysfunction, lack of libido, osteoporosis, enhancing penile enlargement, inducing height growth, reversing the effects of anemia and promoting bone marrow stimulation in men. In women, this steroid hormone is used for dealing with low libido post menopause. Studies also reveal that proper dosage of this hormone can help in treating Type 2 diabetes, while low testosterone has been associated with Alzheimer's disease.
The natural production of this hormone decreases in men as they age, which is why testosterone is highly used in hormone replacement therapy for aging men.
Men with abnormally low levels of this hormone are also prescribed testosterone steroids or booster supplements. Testosterone is the most effective steroid hormone produced in the human body. Most of the testosterone steroids are available as prescription drugs, while the steroid supplements are offered as over-the-counter medicines.
The commonly available testosterone steroids are as follows. The most commonly used testosterone steroid by athletes and bodybuilders, testosterone enanthate is a derivative of the primary endogenous steroid hormone testosterone. The steroid is also the most commonly prescribed compound to treat low testosterone levels and adropuase in men. It is highly anabolic, which means it promotes significant muscle development and also enhances strength, while helping in reducing fat in the body.
Endogenous androgens are responsible for normal development and growth of male reproductive organs like the prostate, penis, scrotum and seminal vesicles. Androgens also play a significant role in development of secondary sexual characteristics like growth of pubic hair, bodily hair, facial hair, thickening of the vocal chord, fat distribution and overall changes in the body musculature. Testosterone enanthate , commonly known as test-e among athletes and bodybuilders, helps in building body muscle, and reducing fat.
This is because the parent hormone, testosterone, plays a major role in determining the size, shape and overall appearance of the muscle fibers.