When anabolic androgenic steroids are discussed the adverse effects are always a hot button issue. The truth is simple; there are anabolic steroid related side-effects but to end the discussion there, as is usually done is not only unacceptable but exceedingly irresponsible. When discussing the possible side-effects of steroids we cannot simply state "XYZ these are the side-effects of steroids." Absolutely, we must inform what the negative implications can be, but we must also recognize that the side-effects of steroids are "possible" and not guaranteed; that is why they are called "Possible." Further, we must recognize the probability of such adverse effects occurring, what we can do about them should they occur and of course most importantly of all what we can do to prevent them in the first place.
As the truth is simple, the side-effects of steroids can largely be avoided and controlled through responsible use and an educated mind making the probability of incurring adverse reactions highly unlikely; in-fact, for the healthy adult male, if he supplements responsibly he will in almost all cases be fine with the only effects being of a positive nature. Of course, it must be stated several factors can come into play, we cannot supplement haphazardly and expect to remain safe. As responsible use will always be our best friend; however, there remains the issue of individual response.
We are all unique human beings and as with all things in life we will all react a little differently to substances we put in our body. This rule does not only apply to anabolic androgenic steroids but to all hormones, all medications of a steroidal and non-steroidal nature to even the foods we eat. For example, the vast majority of us can take Aspirin, while there are others who become very sick if they touch a single pill. There are those who can drink a gallon of milk a day while others will have their head in the trash can if they ingest the first dairy product, let alone a glass of milk. Does this make milk and Aspirin bad, of course not; it simply means there are genetic response factors at play. Further, as it pertains to ingesting any item, again, responsibility is always your best friend. If you take too much Aspirin, if you down the whole bottle it will probably kill you; if you drink too much water you'll drown. Again, this doesn't make these things bad it simply means we must be responsible.
As responsible use is the key to avoiding the side-effects of steroids, we must have a set definition of responsibility and such a definition can carry with it some variances. If responsibility is defined by U.S. law then any use for any purpose outside of therapeutic practice is abuse; of course as the law is a direct infringement on liberty this puts a hole in this definition. Others will argue, regardless of why you supplement, if your use is causing no one else any harm then you are not abusing the hormones even if you are falling prey to the side-effects of steroids. While a strong argument can be made regarding this way of thinking, as it pertains to individual liberty this is not a valid definition of responsibility. To accurately define responsible use, we can only do it one way; responsible use is any supplementation for any purpose so as long as it does not cause you harm. This does not mean you should be prohibited from supplementing beyond a responsible manner, it simply defines what responsible is and will always be.
The most common side-effects of steroids are often due to the use of aromatizing anabolic steroidal hormones; many anabolic steroids that aromatize causing an increase in estrogen in the body leading to many possible unwanted reactions. The unfortunate news is such reactions can be very severe; the good news is these possible side-effects of steroids are very easily avoidable through responsible and proper use and sometimes this means taking precautions. The side-effects in question include:
These side-effects of steroids while on their surface may seem very worrisome; again, each one is easily preventable. To begin, keeping doses at an appropriate level will significantly protect you, but it does not end there, not by a long shot. As an estrogen buildup is the problem, we need something that will control it and the answer is an Aromatase Inhibitor (AI). AI's do exactly what their name implies, they inhibit the aromatase process; they inhibit the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. Further, as by their nature AI's actively reduce the amount of estrogen in the body. Without question, a solid and high quality AI will do wonders for protecting against Gynecomastia and water retention, but it will also play a role in the other adverse effects in a positive manner; however, there is still more to say.
To protect from the common side-effects of steroids of an aromatizing nature, beyond responsible dosing, Gynecomastia aside, the best thing we can do is to live a healthy lifestyle. Avoiding things that have a negative impact on cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as instituting things that have a positive effect can do wonders. For example, those who ensure they consume plenty of Omega-3 Fatty Acids will see their lipid profiles improve as such fatty acids are extremely cholesterol friendly. Further, while a proper diet will assist in protecting cholesterol and blood pressure it will also do wonders for protecting against bloat. Often those who bloat and hold excess water blame it on the steroids. It is true, certain anabolic steroids will make you far more vulnerable, but most will find if they keep their diet clean and do not overeat; especially carbohydrates then they will be fine. Further, if you add in an AI water will not be an issue for you; if it is it simply means you're eating way too much.
While the above side-effects of steroids are strongly aromatase based there can be other causes, although the aromatase process is primary. There are some anabolic steroids that do not aromatize yet can cause Gynecomastia such as Trenbolone and Anadrol. While Trenbolone does not aromatize, it is a progestin in nature and as such Gynecomastia may occur. The likelihood of incurring Gynecomastia in progestin based steroids, while possible carries a far smaller rate of probability than with aromatizing steroids and will normally only be a concern in those who are ultra-sensitive to the condition. As for Anadrol, while it does not aromatize nor carry a progestin nature the occurrence of Gynecomastia remains a mystery. In any case, the same AI's will protect you against this effect.
Further, there are certain steroids that while they do not aromatize can have a negative impact on blood pressure; again, Trenbolone and Anadrol being prime examples. To combat this issue total dosing will play an enormous role as will the individual's diet and overall lifestyle. It must also be noted; if you already suffer from high blood pressure you should avoid anabolic steroids that can have an adverse affect; in-truth, you should probably avoid all anabolic steroids as the ultimate solution to successful use is possessing a prior solid state of health.
There are two distinct side-effects of steroids that are largely genetically based; while our own genetic response will play a role in all side-effects these two side-effects of steroids take it a step further. Most commonly such side-effects are found in Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) based anabolic steroids such as Winstrol and they include hair-loss and acne. Certain anabolic steroids can cause you to lose some of the hair on your head, and this problem may occur in men who are predisposed to male-pattern baldness. Put simply, if you lose any hair due to anabolic steroid use you were going to lose your hair to begin with; the anabolic steroids simply sped the process up. Those who are not predisposed to male-pattern baldness will not lose the first hair on their head.
In many ways, the same can be said of acne; those who are sensitive to acne and genetically predisposed to such a condition will be the first to have a problem and DHT steroids are notorious for creating this problem. For some, while DHT steroids are generally the worst in this regard, simple use of testosterone can have a negative effect as a high influx of the hormone can produce it, but it remains DHT steroids are the number one culprit. If you are sensitive to acne, the best thing you can do is ensuring you keep your skin clean. If this means taking an extra shower every day then so be it. This may also mean always changing your shirt if you become sweaty if a shower is not immediately available. Further, beyond staying clean, ensuring all of your anabolic steroids are clean will do a lot for you. Many times those who fall prey to bad breakouts could have avoided them, if they had not purchased and supplemented with contaminated and dirty anabolic steroids.
There are two side-effects of steroids that are absolutely guaranteed in all men who supplement, and they revolve around natural testosterone production, for when we supplement with anabolic steroids our natural testosterone production is suppressed. The total suppression can vary depending on the steroids used; for example, the popular oral steroid Anavar will only suppress slightly while one single 100mg dosing of the popular steroid Deca-Durabolin will suppress your natural testosterone production 100%. In any case, suppression will exist and as such remedy must necessarily be applied.
Due to the suppressive effect of anabolic steroids most male performance enhancers will include the anabolic steroid testosterone in all of their cycles. Testosterone is an essential hormone to the body; as the primary androgen, it is one of the most important hormones we produce. When our testosterone levels fall we can suffer in numerous ways, negatively affecting our very physical and mental health, as well as sexual functions. Men who supplement with anabolic steroids and provide their body with adequate amounts of the testosterone needed will not have a problem. Further, once all anabolic steroid use has come to a halt and the hormones have cleared from your system natural testosterone production will begin again.
Due to testosterone suppression, men who supplement with anabolic steroids will find their testicles will atrophy, as testosterone is produced in the testicles, and production has been suppressed the testicles simply shrink. This does not mean they disappear; it simply means they lose some of their fullness. Even if you are supplementing with testosterone, your testicles will still atrophy, as while you will be providing your body with the hormone you will be doing so in exogenous form and there will still be no natural production occurring. Once all anabolic steroid use has been discontinued, and all the hormones have cleared your system, as natural testosterone production begins again your testicles will return to their normal size.
Quite frequently when the side-effects of steroids are discussed liver toxicity is often a high point of discussion. Certain anabolic steroids are toxic to the liver; most notably C17-Alpha Alkylated (C17-aa) steroids. C17-aa anabolic steroids are simply hormones that have been altered at the 17th carbon position in-order for them to survive the first pass through the liver. Without this structural change, the hormone would be destroyed by the liver before any benefits could be received. This structural change is necessary to the hormones very existence and function. Through this structural change, use of C17-aa steroids can increase liver enzyme output, as the C17-aa nature is toxic. The strong majority of anabolic steroids that belong to this class are oral steroids, with the exception of oral Primobolan; most injectable steroids do not belong to this class with the exception of Winstrol Depot. Further, how great the toxic effect is will depend on the steroid at hand; for example, Anavar, while a C17-aa steroid is mildly toxic, whereas Halotestin is one of the most liver toxic of all.
As C17-aa steroids are toxic to the liver, use must necessarily be short lived if we are to remain safe. In most cases, C17-aa steroids should not be used for more than 6 weeks at a time, with highly toxic steroids like Halotestin being better served with no more than 4 weeks of use. Of course, when we speak of liver toxicity this can scare many people, but it should be noted most anabolic steroids of this class are not as harmful to the liver as excessive alcohol consumption and not as dangerous as many over the counter medications. However, as you will supplement with most C17-aa steroids on a daily basis when they are being used responsible time frames should be adhered to. For the healthy adult male, who does not cause any other stress to the liver, although his liver enzyme levels will increase with C17-aa use, if he is responsible his levels will return to normal very shortly after use is discontinued. The liver has amazing rejuvenating capabilities and can remain healthy if we are simply responsible.
Of all the side-effects of steroids, "Roid Rage" as it is commonly known, is often the smoking gun used by many on the anti-steroid side of the fence. The idea is simple; anabolic steroids increase aggression and can cause the individual to lash out in uncontrollable ways. It is true; anabolic steroids can increase aggression, most notably steroids like Trenbolone, Anadrol and Halotestin but even simple testosterone can have this effect to a degree. To begin it must be clarified, aggression in of itself is not a bad thing no more than a hammer is a bad thing; what we do with it is what makes it good or bad. Increases in aggression can greatly benefit the performance enhancer by the simple fact it will provide them with the ability to perform at a higher level.
So what about Roid Rage itself; we know anabolic steroids can increase aggression but can they directly influence behavior? The old saying goes; if you're a jackass without anabolic steroids you'll be a bigger jackass with them; put simply, those who are predisposed to violence and unsavory behavior should not supplement with anabolic steroids if they already lack the ability of self-control. What about actual mind altering effects? If a jackass is a jackass to begin with this doesn't tell us much; the question remains, what about actual mind altering effects? In a 1996, study performed by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), "The Effects of Supraphysiologic Doses of Testosterone on Muscle Size and Strength in Normal Men", the NEJM measured the effects of testosterone in supraphysiological doses in a study of 40 healthy adult men ages 19-49; supraphysiological refers to doses well beyond medicinal. Of the 40 men, 20 were given 600mg of Testosterone-Enanthate per week for 10 weeks; three times the average high end medical dosing. In regards to mood and behavior, the study concluded "No significant changes in mood or behavior were reported by the men on the Mood Inventory or by their live-in partners, spouses, or parents on the Observer Mood Inventory."
The truth is very simple; anabolic androgenic steroids do not have the ability to alter the brain or change your personality. Anabolic steroids can increase aggression, but we are still in full control of our decision making process. If you're already a jerk you'll more than likely be a more aggressive jerk, as your personality is already in-line with this sort of behavior. For the sane individual, while thhe may have increased levels of aggression they will still possess the same distinctive instincts of right and wrong; in that, nothing changes. As human beings, we all possess free will and anabolic steroids do not take away from this truth. What we do, what actions and the path we follow is still up to us whether we supplement or not.
Many of the side-effects of steroids already discussed apply to females as well with a few exceptions such as Gynecomastia; however, anabolic steroid use by females can be at times very detrimental. As by their nature many anabolic steroids carry strong levels of virilization, which can in-turn destroy a woman's femininity. The virilization side-effects of steroids in females include and may not be limited to:
The female side-effects of steroids of this nature can be devastating to a woman, but this does not mean women cannot supplement safely. There are some anabolic steroids that carry low levels of virilization when doses are kept at a reasonable level. Of all the steroids that can be safely used by females Anavar remains the number one choice. Some women will also find they tolerate Primobolan and Winstrol well, but Anavar remains the safest of all. Keep in mind; while these steroids can be safely used some women may still have a problem even at a low dose simply due to genetic response. If a female supplements with anabolic steroids, and virilization symptoms begin to show she can simply discontinue use and the symptoms will dissipate very fast. If the symptoms are ignored, and anabolic steroid use continues this is where many women will run into trouble as the effects may become of a permanent nature.
As you can see, the side-effects of steroids are in most cases very easily controlled and in many cases completely avoidable with responsible use. It should be noted, children should not supplement with anabolic steroids in any form as the influx of such hormones can produce horrific effects. Young, fragile bodies simply cannot handle this influx of hormones, and if present can severally damage their growth and overall development. For the rest of us, especially healthy adult men, anabolic steroids can be used safely when responsible protocol is followed. This may sound a bit overly simplistic, but it is simply the truth.