• What are anabolic steroids?
  • Are they a necessity for muscle building?
  • Are they a sure shot way of achieving name and fame?
  • Is there and alternative?
  • What effects and side effects do they have?

Lets discuss all this in detail.

Anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of the natural male hormone testosterone. Chemically all anabolic steroids are derivatives of testosterone which number around 35. They come basically in three forms:

a. c-17 alkyl derivatives of testosterone
b. Ester (derivatives) of 19-nortestosterone.
c. Ester of testosterone.
anabolic steroids

This male hormone is produced mostly by testes in men. Testosterone hormone is responsible for variety of activities in males right from hair growth to extra muscle strength that men have compared to women. It primarily has two effects-

1. Anabolic - It results in height gain, thickening of voice, increase in sexual activity and growth of muscles as well as decrease in body fat percentage. Anabolic steriods increase the positive build up of the body called anabolism and reduce the negative effect or the breaking down of muscles called catabolism. They help in the better absorption of injected proteins and also directly effect the development of muscle fibers by effecting the body's conversion of nitrogen.

2. Androgenic- Theses are related to the male reproductive functions and development of secondary sexual characteristics. After the onset of puberty in males (around 13 years of age) there are some changes in the physical appearance, like appearance of pubic auxiliary and facial hair and increase in the length and diameter of penis. These are due to the androgenic effects of testosterone.

Now why do athletes use or are tempted to use anabolics?

Anabolic steroids build strength build strength, stamina and muscles, hence people who are into power lifting, bodybuilding use them. even people in show business use them to get that lean and muscular look.

Are anabolic steriods a necessity?

NO, they are not. Persons blessed with good genes, scientific knowledge of training, diet and nutrition can achieve whatever one dreams of without having such potentially dangerous drugs. Are they a sure shot way of achieving name and fame?

There have been at least 10 winners of bodybuilding's top contest "Mr. Olympia" that used steroids. The big muscle legend Sergio Oliva used both oral and inject able steroids. This isn't an endorsement of steroids; it's just an effective illustration to counter the stigma generally associated with all steroids. All steroids are different. Some are more dangerous than others. Birth control pills are steroids.

Testosterone patches have been used with great success to enhance the quality of life for elderly men. Some of the steroids that bodybuilders use are very mild, and the risk associated with them is virtually negligible.

What effects and side effects do they have?

Excessive use of anabolic steroids is like abusing your body and ending up with side effects which runs contrary to the very idea of muscle building The need of the hour is to educate people about the good, the bad of anabolic steroids. Although the decision ultimately lies with the individual. Its your body after all. Use it or abuse it, the choices is yours.

Still, there are dangerous steroids, and that's all the more reason that athletes who choose to use them must be more knowledgeable about them. Of course, the physical changes that steroids bring about might cause adverse psychological effects in the user, and that fact shouldn't be ignored.