Steroids have been a hugely debated topic lately. There have been several notable news stories about them in recent months, and there has also been a lot of ‘buzz’ about ‘legal steroids’ online that seems to be getting more and more attention as time goes on.
Of course, anabolic steroids are illegal to use without a prescription in the certain countries though that doesn’t always keep people from using them. They are often prescribed for conditions like delayed puberty and for diseases that cause muscle-density loss, such as AIDS though some people also utilize them illegally for different reasons.
One of the most predominant uses for illegal anabolic steroids is to build muscle mass. Body builders, athletes, and other people who might want to ‘bulk up’ quickly are the most likely candidates for illegal steroid use.
But why do they take steroids? How do they work?
How do anabolic steroids help to build muscle?
It’s no secret that anabolic steroids help to build muscle mass. They also contribute to speed up recovery times between workouts.
To understand why they do what they do, it’s important to first understand the body’s natural processes regarding muscle building. Whenever we work out or lift more than we’re used to, we actually cause small ‘tears’ to open up in our muscles.
Over time, these tears will heal as the body rebuilds the cells, though the body will heal them stronger and build larger cells every time this happens. Over enough time, this process causes our muscles to grow. This is how people ‘bulk up’ through working out.
It’s also important to understand that testosterone is the body’s natural ingredient that helps this process along. If we didn’t have testosterone in our system, then we wouldn’t be able to build as much muscle as quickly. This is why anabolic steroids are sometimes used to treat people who have testosterone deficiencies—because without it, building muscle isn’t really possible.
Alright, now that we have discussed the body’s natural process for building muscle, let’s take a quick look at anabolic steroids and how they impact this process.
First of all, anabolic steroids are synthesized derivatives of testosterone. This means that they are created in a laboratory, not through the body’s natural processes.
When they are used, the steroids travel through the blood and end up being absorbed by muscle tissue. They interact directly with cell DNA to enhance the protein synthesis that causes cell regrowth. In other words, it speeds up and improves the healing of those small ‘tears’ in the muscles by delivering more testosterone to the system.
This means that the tears will heal not only faster, but stronger. This, after a short amount of time, will greatly increase muscle gains, make the muscles larger, and reduce the time it takes to build lean muscle. It will also have some other effects. It will, for example, cause you to burn fat faster, etc.
Steroids also block cortisol, which is the body’s natural stress hormone. When you engage in a heavy workout, the body will naturally release cortisol, which will break down muscle tissue and cause your muscles to be sore. But when anabolic steroids are in the mix, they actually work to block cell receptor sites that would normally receive this ‘stress hormone’, thereby further reducing recovery time and speeding up the muscle-building process.
Side Effects and Other Information
This is a pretty basic breakdown of what anabolic steroids do and how they work. Of course, there is more to it than just this simple explanation, but in laymen’s terms, this is basically what happens when someone takes anabolic steroids.
Steroids do have a lot of side effects and are considered dangerous if they’re not utilized under the supervision of a medical professional.
Some bodybuilders and athletes who use steroids claim that they are actually not dangerous, but that they help to reverse the body’s natural aging processes to improve overall health—though most medical professionals seem to disagree, citing that the side effect risks associated with real anabolic steroids are truly not worth it.
There are also a lot of legal steroid supplements on the market today, though these should not necessarily be counted as anabolic steroids. While many of them do contain ingredients that produce an ‘anabolic-like state’ in the muscles, the side effects risk is much lower and they’re usually not dangerous to use.
Always double-check any supplement before taking it, just to make sure that what you are taking is safe. And always consult your doctor before trying anything new in conjunction with your workout.