Anabolic steroids, also known as anabolic-androgenic steroids or simply AAS, are derivatives of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone that are designed to increase anabolic processes and slow catabolic processes within the body. One of the most common questions asked on forums is, “What do steroids do?” The answer will vary based on the type of steroid you are taking, your unique needs, and your goals.
Before you can fully understand what steroids do in the human body, you must first realize that there are two major types of steroids available today. When asking what do steroids do, it’s important to first note that different types of steroids do very different things.
- Corticosteroids like prednisone, cortisone, and hydrocortisone typically serve one of two purposes. They either suppress the body’s immune response and reduce inflammation or regulate the balance of salt and water in the body. These are available by prescription from physicians, and they come in handy for treating a variety of illnesses and injuries. Corticosteroids are very closely related to cortisol in a molecular sense; cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” that can trigger catabolism in the human body.
- Anabolic-androgenic steroids, otherwise called AAS, anabolic steroids, or simply steroids, are designed to have the opposite effect on the human body. Rather than triggering catabolism to promote healing, these steroids trigger anabolism, which speeds the metabolism and allows for faster fat-burning, muscle-building, or even strength gains than diet or exercise alone could provide.
Different Types of Anabolic Steroids
Anabolic steroids can be classified in several ways. For example, some steroids are wet while others are dry. Simply put, this means that some steroids increase the amount of moisture retained within cells while others decrease that moisture. This can result in significant bloating for a very wet steroid, or even joint pain for a very dry steroid. Knowing how to combine steroids in a stack can help you avoid these effects.
Along those same lines, some steroids are considered more anabolic than androgenic, or vice-versa. Some products are better suited for adding muscle mass, and still others are designed to maintain muscle mass during times of caloric deficiency. The chart below shows some of the most popular steroids, whether they are wet or dry, and their most common uses.
|Steroid||Wet or Dry||Bulking or Cutting|
What Do Steroids Do? – The Benefits of AAS
Anabolic steroids are often referred to as “performance-enhancing drugs” or PEDs due to their ability to improve overall athletic performance. When determining what do steroids do to you, you should remember that there are both positive and negative effects associated with AAS.
Some of the benefits associated with steroids include increased muscle mass, lower body fat, a faster metabolism, more speed, improved power, and incredible strength. Some steroids may also improve red blood cell counts, fight diseases like hereditary angioedema, improve bone density, prevent bone pain, and reduce muscular atrophy in immunocompromised patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS.
It is estimated that most men over the age of 50 suffer from a condition known as low testosterone, or simply “Low-T”, which can influence their everyday lives. Low testosterone can cause everything from chronic fatigue and unexplained weight gain to erectile dysfunction and even impotence. The testosterone used for hormone replacement therapy in these cases is known as an anabolic steroid, and it can change lives for the better by improving men’s physiques, sex lives, and senses of wellbeing.
What Steroids Do – The Downfalls
The risks are significant when it comes to steroids, but the good news is that you can mitigate these through responsible use and the proper supplementation. Some anabolic steroids may aromatize, or convert to estrogen in your bloodstream. These excess levels of estrogen can lead to unwanted side effects, including things like bloating, mood swings, and gynecomastia. Almost all anabolic steroids suppress your body’s ability to produce testosterone on its own, and this requires the use of exogenous testosterone on-cycle and a product called a selective estrogen receptor modulator, or SERM, post-cycle. Steroids may also have androgenic effects, including hair loss, acne and oily skin, and even libido changes.
The long-term effects of anabolic steroid pills may be devastating, and this is yet another reason why it’s so important to know what do steroids do to your body. Over time, they can cause cardiovascular problems including an enlarged heart and atrophy of the heart muscle. Many steroids will worsen lipid profiles, which can put users at greater risk of heart attack and stroke. What’s more, because steroids will completely stop natural testosterone production, men who do not use them according to recommended cycle lengths and doses may experience lifelong complications.
What Do Steroids Do to Women?
Finally, when asking “What do steroids do?” it’s important to think about women and how these compounds may affect their bodies, as well. Women are highly susceptible to the effects of testosterone derivatives, so that strictly limits the steroids that are considered safe for female use. Women have a few options available to them, and these include compounds like Anavar, Winstrol, and Primobolan Depot. These can produce amazing results when cutting or bulking based on dose, but they have the lowest risk of virilization at the same time.
Virilization is a woman’s primary concern when she’s curious about what steroids do to her body. Because most steroids are derived from testosterone and act much like testosterone in the body, they can actually cause women to develop physical characteristics that are usually associated with men. These often start out quite mild, such as thickening body hair or the development of small amounts of facial hair, but over time, virilization can worsen and lead to decreases in breast tissue, a deepening voice, male-pattern baldness, and even clitoral enlargement – all of which can become permanent. That’s why women should be especially careful with steroids and use them responsibly.
What do steroids do? When discussing anabolic steroids, the benefits are many. Simply put, when used responsibly, they can help men and women alike sculpt and shape their bodies or gain significant strength far beyond anything that diet and exercise alone would allow. However, when used irresponsibly they can be quite dangerous and hazardous to one’s health. Responsible use and AAS education are vital for meeting your goals safely.