Anabolic Steroid Use: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

March 9, 2009
By AshleyMShearer BRONZE, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
AshleyMShearer BRONZE, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Steroids allow athletes to work out more often and lift more often, with less time needed to recover between. As a result, it allows them to build muscle mass more quickly. Unfortunatley, I think anabolic steroids should not be used by athletes because they can cause serious physical and psychological side effects. There are still many natural and legal ways to build muscle without hurting yourself, and without making your muscles illegal. Could Barry Bonds have built his current muscle mass without steroids? Yes, but it would have been more gradual and taken most likely a few more years.
Anabolic steroids, or anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) (another name for anabolic steroids), are a class of steroid hormones related to the hormone testosterone, a hormone found more in men than in women, that is responsible for development of male characteristics such as hair growth, muscle growth and the change of pitch in a voice. In the female body testosterone is primarily secreted in the ovaries. An androgen is any male sex-hormone, like testosterone. These steroids increase protein synthesis within cells, which makes cells grow faster, and results in the buildup of cellular tissue (anabolism), especially in muscles. Anabolic steroids also have androgenic and virilizing properties, including the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics such as the growth of the vocal cords and body hair. To viralize means to cause a female to develop male characteristics. The word anabolic comes from the Greek anabolein, "to build up", and the word androgenic from the Greek andros, "man" + genein, "to produce".
Anabolic steroids can enhance muscular strength and size in athletes, but can have bad side effects on the body. These side effects include sterility, which is the inability to reproduce sexually in humans, gynecomastia, when breasts form in males, acne, hair loss, psychological changes, and increased risks of heart disease and liver tumors, and thyroid and prostate growth. The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system in the male and femal human body.mThe endocrine system uses chemical messages (hormones) that are released into the blood to perform chemical processes necessary in daily life.
Women take steroids for muscle growth in sports also. Anabolic steroids affect a woman's natural body functions. With an increase in testosterone levels, her hormone levels change rapidly. Besides having serum testosterone levels around 30 times greater than normal, a woman will have a decrease in sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG- a protein produced in the liver) a decrease in follicle-stimulating hormones(necessary for reproduction, but not for life), a decrease in circulating HDL-cholesterol(the "good" cholesterol your body makes on it's own), and a decrease in thyroid connecting proteins. With these changing levels of hormones, a woman's immune system is at risk. Hormones control five major processes in male and female human bodies. They are reproduction, growth and development, mobilization of body defenses, maintenence of homeostasis and regulation of metabolism. Which means, she can become very vulnerable to infectious diseases and just might be hospitalized.
One study conducted said that it is possible that anabolic steroids might inhibit the immunomodulatory and antiviral activities of androgens like DHEA (acts on adrenal glands to induce the production of corticosteroids and dehydroepiandrosterone) . An immunomodulator is a substance, like a drug, that has an effect on the immune system. There are two types of immunomodulators. They are Immunosuppressants and Immunostimulants. Anabolic Steroids would fall under Immunosuppressants.
There is a ton of controversy surrounding steroids and the effects of taking them. As far as the government is concerned, if you take steroids to get bigger muscles or to get better at a sport, you're breaking the law. Yet despite the fact that they're illegal, and despite the side effects that come from abusing steroids, some athletes continue to do it. But beyond the issues of popularity or legality is the fact that anabolic steroids should not be used by athletes because they can cause serious physical and psychological side effects.

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