Changing times have paved way for a plethora of new advancements coming up in every aspect of human existence. Especially when the aspect is associated with the human body itself, how could it ever remain untouched? Today we shall be talking about a very well-known group of drugs being used by people the world over for their benefits. They are commonly termed as ‘steroids'. They are synthetically produced compounds known to regulate the growth of the body and also repair its tissues. They are considered to be mostly derived from testosterone. They are available in many forms such as injections, syrups, tablets and powders. Steroids at one time were only bought on prescription for curing illnesses like breast cancer, anemia and muscle wasting caused due to conditions like AIDS, cancer and surgery. Today you find people around the world using it even without prescription to achieve their goals like enhancing their appearances, reducing extra fat from their bodies, increasing body strength and other things that these steroids are suited for.
People using these steroids perpetually belong to all sections of the society and virtually all age groups. Today you will find even teens experimenting with these compounds to initiate faster growth and development. Adult males share an interest for bodybuilding these days which is no more than a passion these days. People not just consume these drugs but also exert physically hard to ensure they achieve the right muscle mass they aimed for. Even women users have not been far away from using these drugs for various reasons.
Steroids belong to two major families – one is called the corticosteroids which are primarily released in the adrenal gland located above the kidneys in the human body. Their prime hormones are aldosterone whose main function is to regulate the sodium concentration in the body. Cortisol plays an essential role in serving the stress response system of the body to decrease its inflammation.
The second family is referred to as the androgenic anabolic steroids which we commonly call AAS. They are actually hormones which regulate the release of testosterone in the ovaries of the female body and testicles of the males. The androgenic characteristics of testosterone boost the development of male sex features and the anabolic features boost the growth of body tissues by enhancing the process of protein synthesis taking place in the tissues. Their production is regulated by the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain in the human body. Scientific studies also reveal that steroids are compounds which often mimic the effects of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone in the body. By increasing the rate of protein synthesis taking places in the cells, they lead to the building up of cellular tissue, a process which is referred to as anabolism. This process precisely takes place in the muscles. Anabolic steroids also have their androgenic as well as anabolic effects in the human body which shall be discussed in the later part of this article.
Dating back to the time when anabolic steroids, they were first isolated, identified and then produced in 1930's and are now employed to cause the stimulation of appetite and induction of male puberty. It has also been studied that intake of steroids lead to weight gain, increase in lean mass of the body and high quality gains in muscular tissue as well as strength. Of course it has to be lined with high intensity muscle training regime as well.
Steroids have also been medically employed to cure many conditions. Let's take a look at them:
- Bone marrow stimulation : For many years anabolic steroids have been employed therapeutically for curing hypoplastic anemia due to leukemia or kidney failure , especially aplastic anemia .
- Growth stimulation: These potent drugs are still used by pediatric endocrinologists to treat children with growth failure . Since synthetic growth hormones are already available these days, the children are likely to confront fewer side effects during the treatment.
- Steroids play a major role in boosting the appetite of its users. It is also employed to cure conditions like muscle wasting in people suffering from cancer and AIDS.
- Induction of puberty has already been discussed above but is a major issue that is addressed by steroids particularly androgens. Many teenage boys often get distressed about their delayed puberty and induction of testosterone in the body is known to increase height, weight and even muscle mass that is free of fat.
- Well, medical advances and research has termed testosterone enanthate as a potent form of safe and a reliable male contraceptive.
- That steroids are used to add lean body mass and prevent bone loss isn't an uncommon phenomenon. It is mainly used to better this condition in elderly men showing very low levels of testosterone. They are also employed for replacing hormones in these men.
Abuse of Anabolic steroids:
Abuse of anabolic steroids is a serious concern that needs to be addressed every time any person plans to use them. Although they help people achieve their desired results, it is important to note that consuming excessively high quantities of these compounds for a very long time can disturb body mechanism and might cause certain conditions to develop such as high level of cholesterol, high blood pressure, liver toxicity, acne, baldness and sometimes aggressive and violent behavior. According to the nature and the properties of the steroid being used, they also elevate the level of estrogen in the body. This often causes enlargement of breasts in males known as gynecomastia. Similarly if women consume high amount of steroids without limiting themselves to the doses prescribed for them, they might suffer from male characteristics like hirsuitism, deepening of the voice and clitoral enlargement in extreme cases.
A few well known anabolic steroids are Anabol, Android, Androstenedione, Winstrol, Deca-Durabol, T3-Cytomel, Testosterone Cypionate, Anavar, Testosterone Enanthate, Testosterone Phenylpropionate, Testosterone Propionate, Equipoise, Omnadren. Testosterone Suspension, Trenbolone Acetate and Trenbolone Enanthate, THG , Genabol and HGH. Depending on the properties of the steroid and its reaction in the human body, they are administered in the body in different forms such as tablets, syrups or injections.