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Anabolic Steroids: Everything You Need to Know

With such a large focus on steroids in the world of bodybuilding, it’s only right that we shed some light on the topic.

Anabolic Steroids: Everything You Need to Know

There are plenty of misconceptions about what steroids are, their dangers, and their role in bodybuilding. This article takes a deeper look into steroids and lays out everything you need to know on the topic.

WHAT ARE STEROIDS?

The term “steroid” refers to a broad class of organic compounds made up of hormones and vitamins with a structure containing four carbon rings. Steroid hormones can be split into two categories; corticosteroids and anabolic steroids, with each serving different functions. Anabolic steroids have muscle-building capabilities, which explains their prevalence in bodybuilding. On the other hand, corticosteroids hold functions important to treating diseases and allergies, so you won’t be finding them in a bodybuilding steroid cycle.

WHAT ARE ANABOLIC STEROIDS?

Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances that mimic testosterone. Testosterone is the male sex hormone important for healthy libido levels (aka sex drive), the development of male secondary sex characteristics (facial and body hair, deeper voice), and most relevant to a bodybuilder, the development of lean muscle mass. The addition of anabolic steroids to already normal levels of testosterone can result in an increase in muscle size and strength, as well as sometimes unpredictable effects on other organs.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ANABOLIC STEROIDS?

Anabolic steroids come in many forms, simply due to the fact that they are produced in labs. Here’s just a few common ones:
Nandrolone decanoate (trade name: Deca-Durabolin®)
Stanozolol (Winstrol®)
Androstenedione
Methandrostenolone (Dianabol®)
Trenbolone (“Fina”)

Keep in mind that there are many other testosterone derivatives, but in general, all serve the same general purpose; to increase total testosterone in the body as a means of increasing muscle mass and strength.

Some anabolic steroids are injected either directly into the muscle, others are taken in pill form, while others come in the form of a topical cream, which is used by millions of older men experiencing andropause (a natural lessening of testosterone due to age) annually.

HOW ARE STEROIDS DIFFERENT FROM HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE?

Anabolic steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) are different in the way they work and in their functions. HGH is produced in the body and is responsible for cell reproduction, replacement of cells, proper functioning of certain hormones and enzymes, and proper brain function. On the other hand, anabolic steroids (synthetic testosterone) are responsible for enhancing male traits, increasing strength and muscle mass.

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