Steroids in fitness

These are all adverse effects, according to science

The consumption of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) in fitness is a very controversial issue, because although many of us are against its use in recreational and sports, we all admire and know the athletes who achieve the most “superhuman” feats “and shocking.

It is true that the use of steroids at a therapeutic level is a topic that is increasingly studied and that opens a new world of possibilities in terms of the treatment of problems such as erectile dysfunction or loss of sexual appetite, but is everything gold What glitters?

What are anabolic androgenic steroids and how do they act?

During training, mechanical stress, muscle damage and metabolic stress generate alterations in the integrity of microfibrils.
This a priori seems something negative, is completely normal and in case recovery is adequate the final result that will be obtained will be supercompensation of muscle fibers; that is, the cross sectional area of ​​the skeletal muscle will increase.

This growth is regulated largely by anabolic hormones such as testosterone (among many other factors), and in fact, the differences in relation to the amount of testosterone between men and women are responsible for that usually the amount of muscle mass that men have is greater. Precisely, the steroids that are injected some athletes are analogs of testosterone.

By joining steroids to the DNA inside the cells increases the expression of genes that promote protein synthesis and decrease protein degradation, and since proteins are the only of the three macronutrients that provides nitrogen to our body, and that this balance of nitrogen must be positive for muscle fibers to grow, we can conclude that steroids generate muscle hypertrophy through genetic mechanisms.

What side effects do steroids cause?

A study by Liverpool’s John Moores University defined nine types of major adverse effects with regard to the abusive use of steroids, as occurs in sports.

Endocrine adverse effects:

The chronic and acute administration of AAS decreases the plasma levels of gonadotropins, testosterone and thyroid hormones T3 and T4, greatly altering the normal functioning of the organs responsible for the secretion of these hormones (pituitary, testes and ovaries, and thyroid gland) , respectively).

On the other hand, gynecomastia is another adverse effect that occasionally occurs in athletes who resort to the administration of anabolic androgenic steroids. Gynecomastia is neither more nor less than the pathological increase in the size of the mammary glands in man.

Cardiovascular adverse effects:

Anabolic androgenic steroids have been shown to increase blood volume. In fact, in athletes treated with methandioneone (commonly known as “Dianabol”) there was a 15% increase in blood volume, which usually occurs due to the retention of water and salt they cause.

This in many cases can lead to a large increase in blood pressure, which can have really serious effects if we consider that steroids can also induce thickening of the left ventricle.

Finally, AASs increase blood clotting and greatly alter the lipid profile, decreasing high density lipoproteins (HDL) and increasing low density lipoproteins (LDL), so that the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels becomes More frequently.

A big mistake in which steroid users can fall is to control only their total cholesterol levels, when these can remain stable while HDL drops and LDL increases, which can favor the development of pathologies and cardiovascular events such as heart attack of myocardium or atherosclerosis.

In any case, several studies show that these alterations in the lipid profile can be reversed when the consumption of AAS ceases.

Adverse effects on fertility:

The administration of AAS inhibits the release of FSH and LH, so that alterations occur such as reductions of up to 75% in the sperm count in relatively low doses and short times (15mg daily and two months duration). The adverse effects on fertility depend on the dose and the duration of the steroid abuse, but although after its use the sperm count increases again to normal values, the new sperm that is produced is not necessarily fertile.

Adverse effects on behavior:

Certain results have shown increases in aggressiveness, hostility and irritability in athletes using anabolic androgenic steroids. Some of these changes have been associated in certain cases with reductions in thyroid hormone levels, and increases in hostility have not been reported with low doses of steroids.

Adverse effects on mental state:

Although there is little consensus on the adverse effects at this level, several cases of suicide associated with the withdrawal of steroids have been documented in subjects who consumed them on a regular basis.
In addition, AASs appear to increase the risk of experiencing physical violence, including crimes such as murder.

Adverse effects on addiction and dependence:

Certain scientific publications have shown that in many habitual consumers there is a fear to lose the muscular mass gained after stopping the consumption of steroids, and for that reason they become addicted to its consumption.

In addition, the alteration of personal perception has been proposed as a mechanism that favors addiction to AAS, and in fact in one study it was observed that factors such as narcissism and low empathy were associated with steroid abuse.

Hepatic and prostate adverse effects:

Anabolic steroids, even at clinical doses, induce increases in the levels of liver enzymes, and jaundice at supra-physiological doses is a very frequent adverse effect, increasing the bilirubin that accumulates in the tissues.

Hepatic carcinoma is one of the most worrisome adverse factors, and the relationship between the administration of AAS and liver carcinoma was first established in 1965.

Regarding the adverse effects on the prostate, it has been observed that steroid administration is strongly linked to prostate cancer (especially, the administration of testosterone).

Adverse effects on longevity:

Relatively little information is known about this type of adverse effects, but in a study of 62 elite power lifters in Finland, the incidence of premature death was 4.6 times higher in those who abused the use of AAS, than in the population control group he did not abuse the AAS.

Dermal adverse effects:

Finally, it has been shown that acne is the most common dermatological adverse effect in steroid users, and this is also particularly resistant to habitual therapies aimed at eliminating it. In addition, this acne caused by steroids is not always reversible.


In general there are many adverse effects that accompany the use of steroids, and all this by increasing a few kilos of muscle mass, show a more defined abdomen and / or be able to move more kilos in the bar.


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