The synthetic anabolic steroids that some athletes use simulate testosterone. This tricks the body into growing additional muscle and amplifying a person’s masculine physical traits.
Steroids as a whole are one of many different types of chemical compounds that share a common structure. While anabolic steroids such as testosterone play a major role in activities such as muscle growth, there are many other steroids in the human body.
Whenever a person puts synthetic anabolic steroids into his or her body, the drug is broken down and moves to cells throughout the body. Once in the cells, anabolic steroids bind to androgen receptors.
Here, the anabolic steroids take on the guise of testosterone because androgen receptors are designed to bind with the male sex hormone. The synthetic anabolic steroids are created to bind with androgen receptors in place of natural testosterone.
Once the synthetic anabolic steroid is bound to the androgen receptor, the receptor is activated and certain genes are triggered. The genes that control puberty and growth are among the ones that are triggered by this activation of the androgen receptor.
Metabolism is greatly increased while androgen receptors are active. This results in expanded muscle mass that is caused due to an increased rate in protein production in certain cells. This protein is used to produce to even more cells. This cycle continues until the body reaches its limits or the androgen receptor goes dormant once again.
The cycle of protein and cell production is known as anabolism, a process in which small cells build to form more complex cells. Energy is also stored during this process. Skeletal muscles that attach to the bones of the human body experience rapid growth during this process. This muscle expansion results in an increase in the strength and agility that is sought after in many sports.
Not all androgen receptors cause this kind of rapid muscle expansion. When activated, some androgen receptors block hormones known as glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids are a variety of steroid that break down complex cells like proteins into basic cells like amino acids. The role of this kind of steroid is essentially the opposite of anabolism. The process that glucocorticoids normally perform is referred to as catabolism.
When catabolism is inhibited due to the activation of androgen receptors, the catabolic phase of metabolism is shortened. This means that muscles recover more quickly after workouts. This equates to more training time and improved athletic performance.
Are Anabolic Steroids Effective?
A medical study by Dr. Hartgens and Dr. Kuipers demonstrated that men who used steroids for 10 weeks experience an increase in muscle mass by two to five kilograms. This same study also reported that participants experienced an increase in strength by 5 to 20 percent. Participants gained the bulk of their muscle gains in the chest, neck, shoulders, and upper arms.
Other areas of the body experienced significantly less gains. This is because areas of the upper body have quite a few more androgen receptors than legs and other parts of the body. As a result, anabolic steroids caused participants to improve in activities that relied on the strength and agility of the upper body.
Anabolic Steroid Use: When to Use and When to Avoid
Outside of sports, medical professionals frequently prescribe anabolic steroids to patients with AIDs, cancer, and other diseases that diminish the muscle mass of the human body. Anabolic steroids can help treat hormone imbalances and rebuild lost muscle.
Outside of medical purposes, anabolic steroid use is mostly illegal. Using anabolic steroids to improve performance in competitive sports is illegal and often results in bans or heavy fines for users.
Along with potential drug charges and fines, using anabolic steroids without a prescription from a doctor can result in dangerous or otherwise undesirable side effects. These side effects are often related to the androgenic effects of anabolic steroids.
In other words, male sex characteristics may be exaggerated due to the body being tricked into going through puberty again. This increases oil production in the skin, which in turn causes acne of varying degrees.
Despite the return of some of the worst aspects of your teenage years, an overuse of anabolic steroids can cause rapid aging. This can result in a decrease and sperm count and shrinking of the testicles. Rapidly changing hormone levels can also trigger hair loss and baldness in both males and females.
Aside from aesthetic issues, anabolic steroid use can result in dangerous cardiovascular issues. Since heart cells are also affected by anabolic steroids, blood pressure can be increased to harmful levels and the heart itself may become enlarged. Excessive use of anabolic steroids can also result in increased production of LDL cholesterol and reduced production of HDL cholesterol. This can result in a cholesterol imbalance that is harmful to most people. Anabolic steroid use can also result in prostate cancer. In addition to this, the kidney and liver are likely to be harmed.
Frequent users of anabolic steroids can expect a variety of emotional and mental issues ranging from mood swings to depression.
Anabolic steroids are not necessarily harmful, but the vast majority of people that use them do so without any medical experience and overestimate their benefits.
Anabolic steroids offer many short-term physical benefits, but the long-term health effects certainly make using these drugs a poor decision. It is a wise decision to avoid anabolic steroids unless they are required more medical reasons.
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