These days, men and women around the globe look for ways to enhance their performance, their strength, and even their physical appearance. Since the late 1940s, anabolic steroids have grown popular for those very reasons.
With all of the herbal remedies out there these days, people are looking for natural steroids that can provide some of the same results. Do they really exist?
Understanding the Word Steroid
Before you try to discover the best natural steroids, it’s important to understand what a steroid truly is. It’s not an exogenous compound made in a laboratory from DHT or testosterone. Those are anabolic steroids, and they represent only a fraction of the entire group.
A steroid is a particular type of hormone that is produced within the body, and they include everything from cholesterol and cortisol to testosterone and estrogen. Birth control pills are, by and large, a legal, synthetic, and exogenously administered steroid.
Foods Containing Natural Steroids
There’s no plant in nature that will produce enough natural testosterone booster to improve your performance like an anabolic steroid will, but there are some fruits and vegetables that produce steroids in very small amounts. There are still others that provide your body with the compounds needed to create more steroids on their own.
- Spinach – This amazing little leaf contains ecdysterone and dehydroepiandrosterone, which are phytoecdysteroids. A study in which rats were fed powder made from spinach revealed that their grip strength improved 24% – more than the control group, and even more than a third group that was given anabolic steroids.
- Quinoa – Quinoa also contains ecdysteroids much like those in spinach, but the real powerhouse in this tiny grain is in the saponins. These have been clinically proven to improve testosterone levels by directly influencing the amount of LH, or luteinizing hormone, that the body can produce.
- Celery – Some new research shows that men who simply smell celery have improved testosterone production, but eating it is even better. It contains two natural steroids called androstanol and androstenone, both of which are important for muscle growth.
Of course, there are plenty of products on the market today that are labeled as natural steroids, too. One of the newest and most interesting is pine pollen, which you may find inside supplements as pollen pini. It’s one of the world’s strongest all-natural androgens.
Not only does it improve the levels of free testosterone in the bloodstream, but it also helps to restore the balance of androgens and estrogens in both the male and female bodies. Though research is ongoing, preliminary results are quite positive.
Another option is called suma root, which has been researched a bit more than pine pollen. It contains plant sterols and steroidal saponins much like quinoa, but in much higher amounts.
Studies have shown that it increases strength, increases red blood cell count, and improves oxygenation much like steroids, and an in-vitro study even found that that it acts as an anti-estrogenic compound.
The Different Types of Plant-Based Steroids
There are literally hundreds of plant-based steroids, and while some many have a minimal effect on your body, most will not. The chart below shows some of the most well-known natural steroids found in animals and plants.
|Product||What it Does||Usual Dose|
Of course, this is not a complete list, and it only represents some of the ingredients you might find in natural steroid alternatives. Others include products like tribulus terrestris, which contains saponins thought to enhance the body’s anabolic state, and plants like fenugreek, which are thought to help the body produce more of its own natural steroids – namely testosterone.
The Soy Controversy
A common misconception in the bodybuilding and athletic world comes from the use of soy – namely soy proteins – by vegans and vegetarians. Some people believe that soy contains a substantial amount of estrogen, which can cause hormonal imbalances and even gynecomastia in men.
This is simply not the case, and most everyone can use soy-based protein products as often as they would like without fear. The natural steroids found in soy are simply not potent enough to cause problems for most men.
Soy contains substances called isoflavones, very specific types of phytoestrogens, which have been shown to produce plant estrogen. Now, it is important to keep in mind that plant estrogen and human estrogen are two completely different things. For one, plant estrogen is much weaker than human estrogen, and it will not cause the body to produce estrogen on its own.
These phytoestrogens can have similar effects as estrogen, but they are very minimal. Per studies, soy can have a modest effect on a man’s overall estrogen levels when consumed in large amounts. In fact, more recent studies have shown that consuming products rich in isoflavones may even help to balance estrogen levels by limiting the action of the hormone when it is too abundant in the bloodstream.
Steroids vs Natural Alternatives for Performance Enhancement
Whether you are simply curious about anabolic steroids or you live in a country where steroids are illegal, natural steroid alternatives can seem promising.
Though studies have shown that the steroid compounds found in plants, insects, and animals do have some anabolic effects in the body, these cannot and do not rival the effects created by anabolic steroids designed specifically for humans.
In very large doses, some of the natural steroids listed on this page can and do provide at least some effect, but in order to get these large doses, you must purchase supplements made with concentrates or extracts. Some laboratories have successfully altered some of the plant-based steroids at the molecular level to make them more effective, and these are legal in areas where steroids are not.
This means that you cannot simply eat enough of any given plant to provide an anabolic effect in your body, and even if you choose to take the natural steroids in a processed form, they cannot rival steroids like Dianabol or Anavar.
Although natural steroids are not as powerful as anabolic steroids simply because they haven’t been altered at the molecular level, people who stress over how to get steroids and the side effects they might cause do have some viable alternatives. Many plants produce a variety of compounds that either act as steroids within the body or boost the body’s natural production of hormones like testosterone.