Testosterone is responsible for maintaining secondary male sex characteristics in men.
Understand how androgenic steroids work inside the body before taking any kind of steroid to increase physical performance or muscle mass, strength or endurance.
It’s important to know how it functions in the body, or how it can alter certain body functions that may be detrimental to short and long-term health and wellness.
Table of Contents
Anabolic androgenic steroids are synthetic variations of the male hormone testosterone, as mentioned in the introduction of this article.
Most anabolic steroids also have some androgenic effects, although the influence of the androgen depends on the steroid. Let’s break it down.
Anabolic has to do with energy and strengthening. Androgens influence sex characteristics.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids are more commonly known as AAS steroids. Anabolic steroids are synthetic.
But what about androgens? Androgens are also known as androgenic hormones and can be found in compounds that are either natural or synthetic in nature, but most typically applied to steroid hormones.
Before taking any kind of steroid, understand the effects of endogenous or body-produced hormones and steroids and those that are introduced from outside of the body (exogenous) or those developed in a laboratory.
One of the most commonly prescribed and illegally used and abused by bodybuilders and athletes as well as non-athletes without a prescription is testosterone.
Remember that hormone levels must be carefully balanced in the body for optimal health and wellness. If those levels get out of whack, side effects can be extremely detrimental to health.
Some of the most commonly prescribed anabolic-androgenic steroids are often used by bodybuilders in what is referred to as cycles.
This is where steroids are taken for a number of weeks, or even months, and then stopped for a brief period of time before restarting again.
In such cases, AAS steroids are often combined with other steroids or drugs to accelerate and maximize results. This behavior or practice is called stacking.
A number of research studies regarding the effect of AAS steroids on the body have been conducted over the years.
Several relatively minor side effects in regard to androgenic steroids or anabolic-androgenic steroids are minimal and temporary in nature.
They can include things like headaches, male pattern baldness, and development of acne.
Other side effects associated with AAS steroids are a lot more serious and are only now beginning to be understood. Many of the recent studies in this regard focus on the effect of androgens on cardiovascular health.
Opinions regarding the effect of androgens on cardiovascular disease processes have been mixed.
Some studies have shown that use of anabolic-androgenic steroids can have a negative impact on lipid (cholesterol) levels, although some androgens provide some benefits in regard to heart function.
Some studies have focused on small animals such as rats.
Other studies have begun to involve humans, especially in regard to use of AAS steroids and detrimental effects of high doses with either short-term or long-term use.
Some studies have noted that the use of anabolic steroids can contribute to heart damage, especially in the left ventricle, responsible for the pumping function of the heart: “Acute effects of nandrolone decanoate on cardiodynamic parameters in an isolated rat heart” is just one such study.
Other studies have focused on alarming cardiac issues including cardiac arrest and myocardial infarction in adolescents and young wrestlers:
AAS steroids can have an immediate effect on brain function. These functions are mediated in relation to their binding to either male sex hormone (androgen), or female sex hormone (estrogen) receptors on cellular surfaces.
Long-term use of AAS steroids can have a detrimental effect on brain pathways as well as production of chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.
It is for this reason that many steroid users experience alterations in attitude, mood, and behaviors, including violent bursts of aggression, irritability, and annoyance.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids can have an impact on mental, emotional, and physical health and wellness.
They also have the potential for developing dependence. Before considering prescription-strength steroids of any kind, carefully consider the benefits versus the drawbacks.
Remember the use of steroids provides temporary results in regard to muscle gains, and that those gains will gradually disappear as the drug is discontinued.
When it comes right down to it, is use of androgenic steroids or anabolic-androgenic steroids worth your long-term health and wellness?
Alternatives are out there, including steroid alternatives that, while they may not produce results as quickly, are a lot safer, are legal, and produce far less side effects.