You must have heard a lot about steroids but might still be confused about how it works and what the benefits and risks are. In this article we shall explain how steroids work in your body.
Every time you pump a weight at the gym, your muscles experience damage. The body recovers by forming new muscle. Protein strands to repair the muscle fibres over time these strands increase in thickness and number and ultimately if the protein synthesis in the muscle is greater than the protein breakdown, your muscles will grow.
The degree of growth is largely regulated by testosterone which increases protein synthesis. That is why generally men have larger muscle mass than women as they have higher levels of testosterone.
Steroids are any compounds with a specific 4 carbon ring structure so the term steroid actually includes some chemicals that can be used to treat fever and headaches and even sex hormones like estrogen, and testosterone.
The type of steroid we’ll be looking at actually mimics natural testosterone with the intention to enhance performance and are used by more than 15% of gym goers.
In a single day of taking steroids, the expression of your genes will begin to change. Steroids easily enter your cells and bind to the androgen receptor. At this point, they can move into the nucleus and attach with your DNA. This activates hundreds of genes to increase protein synthesis while slowing protein breakdown. Hence, in the end people who take steroids can have three to five times more nuclei in some muscle cells. Steroids can also stop the differentiation of fat stem cells and decrease a person’s body fat days in and your quickly increasing muscle size and strength while also protecting muscle fibers against damage making steroids ideal for exercise, tolerance and recovery as well. But, continue to take them and your behavior may start to change because steroid receptors are found in parts of our central nervous system like the forebrain hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Steroids can lead to the classic ‘roid rage’. A study of athletes taking steroids show 20% developed higher manic and depressive scores than non-users. Mice given steroids over ten weeks also become more aggressive towards other mice put in the same cages. Male mice also become more dominant and are more willing to compete for with female mice but that sex drive may not translate to better sex for female users. Steroids can interfere with the estrus cycle and may decrease sexual drive. Masculinization can occur as well with female users gaining deeper voices and starting to grow more body and facial hair. Male users may experience sperm cell abnormalities and decreased sperm count. Steroids also decrease natural production of hormones that are necessary for maintaining testicular size–meaning your balls will shrink and since most steroid users follow a cycle of on and off dosing periods natural levels of testosterone can be quite low at times causing erectile dysfunction
and decreased libido in males. 40% of male users also developed enlarged breast tissue as steroids break down into estradiol which stimulates the growth of mammary tissue. Finally,
steroids can cause a high level of acne in almost half of users and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. So yes, steroids will make you bulk up faster and improve your athletic ability but as with most things comes with a set of risks and side effects that you’ll likely experience as well.
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