Anabolic steroids help enhance bodybuilding results, in terms of increased endurance and muscle mass. These steroids work because they masquerade testosterone’s function. Testosterone is a hormone that’s produced naturally by the body; anabolic steroids are synthetic or man-made versions of these hormones.
Generally, steroids are compounds sharing a common structure. Among the several types of such steroids, anabolic steroid is a variant.
Upon administering anabolic steroids, the drug is broken down by the body into molecules that could be absorbed by the cells. The cells have androgen receptors within – these are structures that the steroid molecules attach to. At this very point is where the steroid mimics testosterone function, since androgen receptors are specifically shaped to merge with the natural testosterone of the body. These receptors also attach to anabolic steroids.
Once the synthetic steroid is put into place, the receptor gets activated. Based on the cells the steroids are positioned in, the activation could alter how specific genes behave – particularly the ones controlling changes happening during puberty.
Primarily, steroids impact routine metabolism in a couple of ways, and both contribute equally toward increased muscle mass. Upon those androgen receptors’ activation, some cells augment their protein production, which the human body utilizes for building more cells. This metabolic cycle phase is called anabolism, where the little molecules come together to form more complex molecules and store energy within them. Anabolism also refers to the phase when the body creates muscles – precisely the reason why anabolic steroids are called so. During anabolism, the skeletal muscles’ cells bind to the bones, starting to proliferate as replications. This process soon results in improved agility and strength.
However, this reaction is not caused by all androgen receptors that get activated. Some of them inhibit the glucocorticoid hormone, another steroid variant. This steroid’s inhibition increases the speed with which complex molecules such as proteins break down into smaller units – for instance, energy-emitting amino acids. This whole breakdown process is known as catabolism, and it is metabolic cycle’s another half.
With glucocorticoids’ inhibition, anabolic steroids reduce metabolism’s catabolic phase. This means the body muscles would be spending little time recovering from workout burn, and the resting period duration would decrease as a result.
Use & Misuse
Anabolic steroids are medically prescribed to individuals suffering from AIDS and cancer, so that they regain the muscle mass they lost to their disease. These steroids also often get prescribed for treating specific hormone deficiencies. Within professional sporting circles, using anabolic steroids to enhance athletic performance is banned.
Steroid usage sans prescription can lead to unpleasant side effects. Generally, the effects are associated with the drugs’ androgenic effects, or related to a gender’s sexual traits. When on these drugs, the body thinks it is undergoing puberty again. Activating the cells’ androgen receptors increases the sebaceous glands’ oil production, which often results in acne.
Anabolic steroids’ overuse could also speed up the biological clock. It could decrease sperm count and lead to testicular atrophy, popularly called shrinkage. Changing levels of hormone would also cause baldness in both women and men.