Anabolic Steroids Explained In Detail

Owing to the competitive nature of sporting events, participants will do anything to gain a competitive edge over their rivals. As a result, performance-enhancing substances such as anabolic steroids have become popular among sportsmen and women. There are many myths revolving around the use and side effects of the anabolic steroid, this piece seeks to shed light on what these drugs are all about.

Understanding anabolic steroids

Anabolic steroids are essentially a form of a synthetic compound that mimics the structure of naturally occurring testosterone hormone as well as its side effects. They are commonly referred to as anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS). Anabolic is derived from the term anabolism which entails increasing protein component within cells and is responsible for the development and maintenance of muscle tissue.

AAS as a medication

Since their discovery and synthesis in the 1930s, AAS have been used for a variety of medicinal purposes. Nowadays, physicians use them to induce male puberty among young males with delayed puberty. The goal is to increase height, weight, and mass in boys facing an extreme delay in puberty. In elderly men, AAS is used to boost libido levels as well as to stimulate bone and tissue repair. They are also used as a remedy to treat chronic wasting conditions such as HIV and cancer.

AAS as performance enhancers

Due to their performance-enhancing qualities, it is no wonder that a good number of users tend to be sportsmen and women. Anabolic steroids are believed to provide a competitive edge to users. Anabolic steroids are famous for muscle growth and they are also known to boost muscle recovery after intense physical activity. This is achieved by reducing muscle damage during training, allowing athletes keep going without tiring out. Examples of competitive events where AAS are used include weightlifting, bodybuilding, football, athletics, boxing, soccer and cricket.

How are the AAS taken?

Anabolic steroids meant for legitimate medical purposes can be administered in numerous ways. They are available as pills, injectables or as body creams. The majority of people who abuse these substances take them orally and via injection. Most abusers use techniques such as stacking (combining two or more substances), cycling (taking doses in a cycle) and pyramiding (increasing dosage over time) to maximize the drug’s effect.

Are anabolic steroids legal?

Though AAS are popularly used for medicinal purposes, boosting sports performance is not entirely legal. In fact, sports governing bodies around the world have banned the use of performance-enhancing substances is any form of sport. Professional athletes who test positive for such substances risk facing a lifetime ban as well as being stripped of any medals won in previous competitions. Producing the steroids in clandestine laboratories without a license is illegal and often attracts a jail term and a huge penalty for offenders.