Al-Qaeda, the Nazi party, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung; ask any sane person and they'll aptly label the aforementioned list as a representation of pure evil. Of course, there are plenty of other names and groups we could easily include; we could go on and on about the validity of placing certain names and groups in the list, but if we added anabolic steroids hardly an eye would bat. Through the late twentieth and into the twenty-first century, anabolic steroids have been branded demonic substances of such evil even the devil himself shuns and shutters at their mere thought. Those who partake are forever labeled the scum of the earth; liars, cheaters, lazy, mentally inept, lunatics, and on and on we could go. Of course, while these may be the labels, even so millions upon millions risk such a label; in-fact, the number of those supplementing with anabolic steroids in the U.S. alone would blow the minds of most. Physique after physique you view with admiration; 9.9 times out of 10 anabolic steroids were in play, but such supplementation is forced to remain in secret.
All of this raises some important questions, but one that's the most important of all. We know anabolic steroids are viewed extremely negatively by society as a whole, but what exactly are anabolic steroids? Have anabolic steroids earned a place in the list of the most evil substances on earth; are anabolic steroids deservingly viewed in the manner they are along with those who supplement? These are good questions, fair questions and we're going to answer them here today. In doing so, we'll go over the basics of anabolic steroids, but we'll also take an approach from the opposite direction and describe what anabolic steroids are not. This is necessary when discussing this topic, because, for a long time, myths and misunderstandings have been labeled as accepted fact without any foundation, and that simply won't do.
What are Anabolic Steroids?
Anabolic steroids are synthetic models of the primary male sex hormones Testosterone and Dihydrotestosterone, with testosterone being primary. By their nature, as is implied by the full name itself anabolic androgenic steroids promote anabolism and the male sexual characteristics and quite simply the very constructive nature of the metabolism. Of course, there are numerous forms and each one carries traits unique unto itself, but in the end they all trace back to testosterone. Within each form, it is largely distinguished by its total anabolic and androgenic activity, and of course, the traits by which are displayed through this activity. We'll discuss the specific traits later; for now this represents anabolic steroids but we're going to simplify it even more with one small sentence. Anabolic steroids are hormones, synthetic hormones identical to the ones you already produce, and they provide all the traits of those hormones.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
As is with all things in life, anabolic steroids carry positive and negative traits. Below we have broken down what anabolic steroids can do and provide, with "The Good" defining their positive traits, "The Bad" represents side-effects of an internal nature, and "The Ugly" representing adverse physical side-effects that are of a visual nature. Let's take a look and see what we can find; in doing so, you'll have a more thorough understanding of these immensely powerful hormones.
By their precise nature, anabolic steroids promote within the body ten specific traits of worthy note; while there are other traits, there are ten specific that encompass this grouping of hormones in a total sense. Every anabolic steroid does not carry each of the ten traits, but most carry the majority; further, when a steroid possesses a specific trait, each steroid carries the trait at varying levels. The ten primary traits include:
These represent the primary traits of anabolic steroids, and through these traits, nearly every attribute and goal imaginable can be reached. It must be noted; how one lives will significantly determine the total outcome; for example, the rules of nutrition do not go flying out the window simply because anabolic steroids are in play. If we want to grow, we must eat to grow, and if we are trying to lean out we must burn more calories than we consume. At any rate, by the above traits, anabolic steroids can provide all of the following:
As Aspirin carries possible side-effects, so do anabolic steroids. As vitamins carry possible side-effects, as do certain foods such a peanuts and milk so do anabolic steroids. Even so, by-and-large the side-effects of anabolic steroids can be controlled if we hold to some fundamental rules and notes:
As for the side-effects themselves, we have broken them down into two categories; "The Bad" representing internal side-effects, and "The Ugly" representing visual effects. "The Bad" is as follows:
To combat such effect, the use of Aromatase Inhibitors (AI's) can be extremely useful, as can simply following a diet that promotes a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. AI's will keep estrogen levels low, as an increase is common due to the conversion of testosterone into estrogen that occurs via the aromatase enzyme. Further, you are encouraged to avoid excess alcohol consumption when supplementing with anabolic steroids; especially oral steroids as they can be harsh on the liver; in-fact, we'd probably avoid all alcohol. If you're supplementing for performance and if you desire a healthy you, alcohol shouldn't be part of the equation in the first place. If you can do these things, if you're a healthy adult "The Bad" will largely be avoided.
Then there's testosterone suppression; when we supplement with anabolic steroids our natural testosterone production is suppressed; it is inevitable. The total suppression will vary depending on the steroids being used, but it will occur nonetheless. For this reason, some form of exogenous testosterone is advised, as a low testosterone condition is terribly unhealthy. There are many forms of exogenous testosterone, many options, but all that matters is you provide the body with what it needs and in doing so, you will garner success.
The following represent the visual side-effects that can be caused by anabolic steroids, and in many ways, the most commonly associated side-effects. Such effects include:
The use of an AI will largely protect against water retention and Gynecomastia, which refers to male breast enlargement; however, there are some important notes. If you are overeating, even if you're supplementing with an AI you're going to hold a lot of water. It's common for some performance enhancers to bloat and blame the steroids, when in-fact the problem is actually their diet; particularly an overabundance of carbohydrates.
Then we have acne and hair-loss, and by-and-large these are genetically driven. The only people who will lose any hair are those predisposed to male-pattern baldness; further, this is normally caused by the use of DHT based anabolic steroids. If you are not predisposed you won't lose any hair but if you are and you do it's important to note you were going to lose your hair any way; the DHT steroids simply sped it up. Largely the same can be said of acne; those who are acne sensitive will be the first to have a problem; those who aren't will rarely have any issues. In any case, keeping your skin extra clean and ensuring your products are pure will serve you well.
Now we're left with testicular atrophy; a side-effect that petrifies many men. As discussed above, the use of anabolic steroids suppresses natural testosterone production, and as testosterone is manufactured in the testicles, now that its been suppressed the testicles shrink. The good news is once use has been discontinued, and all anabolic steroids clear your system your natural testosterone production will begin again, and your testicles will return to their normal size. A note; testicular atrophy simply means the testicles lose some of their fullness, and by no means implies they disappear. Further, contrary to the belief of some, anabolic steroids have absolutely no effect on the rest of the genitalia.
Females can supplement with anabolic steroids, but they must exercise a little more caution than men. Females are simply far more sensitive to the hormones, and due to the androgenic nature of anabolic steroids virilization can occur. When virilization occurs, it can destroy a woman's femininity by deepening her voice, causing body-hair growth, as well as clitoral enlargement. To avoid such issues, females must only supplement with steroids that carry low virilizing rates, and further, only supplement with low doses; fortunately, it won't take a large dose to garner the desired end. In any case, if virilization begins to occur for any reason, if use is discontinued immediately the symptoms will fade away rapidly; if they are ignored this is when they can become problematic.
What they're NOT:
On just about any other topic on earth, this wouldn't be necessary, but anabolic steroids have taken such a beating there's simply no way around it. Below we've mentioned and briefly discussed some of the most common myths and often outright lies regarding these hormones that are either an outright impossibility, thought due to a lack of education or used to promote an anti-agendum. In any case, some of this will overlap with the above, but there's no way around this:
Making Sense of it All:
Anabolic steroids are truly remarkable hormones; they are abundantly powerful and demand your respect, but when such respect is given successful supplementation can be enjoyed. The key to it all is rule number three discussed at the beginning of the side-effects discussion that revolves around responsible use. If you're supplementing and causing your body harm, this is not successful supplementation; if no harm is done then success cannot be argued; well, it can be and often is, but it's an idiotic argument. In any case, the above information provided is only the beginning; there is still so much more to say regarding these hormones, but hopefully your appetite has been increased, and you will continue your education.