If there’s one question asked online in relation to anabolic steroids more than any other, it’s this one – what does steroids do? Most of those people associate them with huge muscles, but they aren’t sure exactly what they do or how they work.
Two Types of Steroids
Before answering questions about what does steroids do, it’s important to first consider the fact that there are two very common types used in the medical world: corticosteroids and anabolic.
Though they are similar in some ways, they are different in others.
- Corticosteroids are closely related in molecular structure to a hormone called cortisol, which is produced naturally in your body. Cortisol is commonly known as the “stress hormone” because your body releases more of it during times of physical or mental stress. Like cortisol, corticosteroids can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body, thereby relieving pain. These can also suppress the body’s immune response, which is why they are commonly prescribed to people who have certain conditions that cause abnormal immune responses.
- Anabolic are synthetic derivatives of male androgens like testosterone. Androgens assist in the growth of skeletal muscle, sexual function, the development of the reproductive system, and more. Though testosterone is produced naturally in both the male and female bodies, there are cases in which the body simply does not produce enough. Treatment with anabolics can prevent or even reverse the side effects of certain conditions. When people who are otherwise healthy take in large doses, they can gain muscle mass quickly, and that’s why bodybuilders will sometimes use anabolics to “bulk up”.
What Does Steroids Do in Medicine
When answering the question, “What do steroids do?”, it’s important to first address their medical uses. Corticosteroids and anabolics are both available by prescription from licensed doctors, but they are prescribed for very different reasons. For example, corticosteroids can slow abnormal immune responses and stop inflammation. They are commonly given to individuals who have inflammatory arthritis, and in some cases, they can even stop a severe allergic reaction.
Anabolics, on the other hand, are prescribed for different reasons. The number one medical use for anabolics is a condition known as low testosterone. As men get older, their bodies stop producing testosterone in the same amounts.
Though some men’s testosterone production slows at a manageable rate and has very little effect on their overall health and wellbeing, other men are not as lucky. Their testosterone production slows far too quickly, leading to side effects such as abnormal weight gain, loss of muscle mass, fatigue, and even sexual dysfunction. Treatment with testosterone boosters or testosterone-derived anabolic steroids can reverse these symptoms. Doctors may also prescribe them for a variety of other conditions, too. For example, certain ones have been shown to help people with certain muscle-wasting conditions (like HIV/AIDSA) regain their appetites and gain or maintain muscle mass. Other anabolics have proven helpful in the treatment of osteoporosis, and still others are used to treat severe cases of anemia because they are quite proficient at boosting red blood cell production.
What Does Steroids Do in Bodybuilding
Of course, when most people ask, “What does steroids do?” they are referring to bodybuilders and athletes who use them to enhance their overall physiques and performance. Because these steroids are derivatives of testosterone, which is a hormone that plays a vital role in skeletal muscle growth, strength, raw power, and overall performance, these people tend to use high doses (higher than those used in the medical industry) to enhance their bodies and athleticism. People who are deficient in these hormones and who use medical doses experience relief from certain symptoms, but people who are otherwise healthy and simply take for growth or performance will see superior results.
It is important to remember that not all are the same, too. Bodybuilders and athletes typically use them for one (or more) of three reasons:
- To gain mass – Certain products, such as Anadrol and Dianabol for sale, are designed to help athletes pack on mass in short order. In fact, some can assist them in gaining up to 30 pounds in as little as six weeks.
- To maintain mass while dieting – Prior to participating in bodybuilding competitions, most bodybuilders will want to enhance their muscle definition and vascularity. Part of doing this involves shedding unwanted subcutaneous body fat – or fat found just below the skin – that can “hide” the muscles and make them look ill-defined. Products like Winstrol are perfect for this; they allow bodybuilders to cut calories and work out more intensely without fear of losing their hard-earned muscle mass along the way.
- To enhance their performance – Finally, there are some athletes and bodybuilders out there who will use them primarily to enhance their performance. As examples, bodybuilders can lift more weight or do more reps, and athletes can run faster for longer periods of time. One of the most common Anabolics used for this purpose is Anavar. Though all can improve performance to a degree, there are some that may cause unwanted gains. Anavar, when used in low doses, can provide incredible performance boosts without fear of excess weight.
When determining the best answer to the question “What does steroids do?”, it is important to remember that there are different types, and these do different things. Steroids can improve certain medical conditions and completely change someone’s quality of life, but they can also help bodybuilders and athletes achieve incredible goals at the same time. Though both corticosteroids and anabolics do have the potential to cause side effects, they are considered safe when used responsibly at the right doses and for the right lengths of time.