What are anabolic steroids and what are they used for?
Anabolic steroids are part of a group of synthetic drugs that mimic and reproduce the effects of testosterone in the body. As the name partly suggests, legal steroids produce two different but overlapping effects: an anabolic effect – meaning that they promote the process of anabolism (cell growth), and an androgenic (or virilising) effect – meaning that they promote the development of masculine characteristics.
Initially used therapeutically in the 1930s, anabolic steroids were prescribed in order to stimulate appetite and bone growth, as well as to treat conditions of a chronic nature such as cancer, osteoporosis and so on.
However, nowadays steroids are more commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes for increasing body mass and gaining added strength.
Anabolic steroids can be administered in two ways: orally or by injection. In this article we are going to show you the main differences between oral and injectable steroids. We will cover issues such as the effectiveness of each, the side effects, the differences in prices and the legal issues concerning steroids use. Typically, individuals who are seeking to gain very quick results take oral steroids. This is because once they have been ingested, the oral steroids quickly pass through the human metabolism and enter the bloodstream, where they can exert their effects.
On the other hand, injectable steroids provide longer lasting effects in the body. However, because of this particular trait, they leave traces that can be detected in your body for a longer period of time, so athletes that are subjected to drug tests usually opt for using oral steroids.
Despite of this, many bodybuilders suggest that no-one should undergo an oral steroid cycle alone. This is because oral steroids inflict a bigger strain on the liver. But it is also because oral steroids have a very short half-life, so the effects of the pills do not last as long as the effects of the intra-muscular injections.
So in order to make the results more long lasting, steroid users often use injectables in conjunction with oral steroid pills. Using this technique guarantees that the increase in body mass and strength is maintained more effectively and for longer periods of time.
As a general rule, oral steroids are much harder on the liver than the injectable versions. Also, injectable steroids are generally more androgenic (enhance male physical characteristics) and less harmful to the body in terms of negative side effects. The oral versions of the steroids are more anabolic in nature (they provide faster muscle growth and quicker results), but they do cause more side effects than their injectable counterparts. This is mainly due to the fact that they have to be processed by the liver.
Most oral steroids (as well as many other pills and drugs) are toxic to the liver (hepatotoxic). When the pills are swallowed, they have to pass through the digestive system and then through the liver before they get into the bloodstream. Because of this, oral steroids have to be designed so as to survive in the digestive track. Also, the administered dose should be high enough to insure that there is enough active chemical left afterwards to induce an effect on the body.
Steroids taken orally have to go through the liver, but the liver’s job is to remove such substances from the body and prevent them from passing into the bloodstream. So in order to keep the steroid active and help the pill survive the journey through the liver, the scientists added a carbon atom to the 17th molecule of the steroid structure to replace the hydrogen atom. This improved the bioavailability of the steroid, but unfortunately, it also placed an extra strain on the liver.
On the other hand, injectable steroids don’t have to go through the liver. They are injected straight in to the muscle (never the vein!) and from there they are metabolized straight away. However, not even this method of administration is without risks: some stronger versions of injectable steroids can affect the kidneys when they are metabolised.
There is a large difference when it comes to the prices of oral versus injectable steroids. The cost of a prescription for oral steroids is usually much cheaper, as compared to injectable steroids which are almost ten times more expensive.
In most countries, including US, it’s illegal to possess oral steroids without a medical prescription. And the same goes for the injectables. The laws regulating anabolic steroid possession and use are very strict. The use of anabolic steroids without a doctor’s prescription and a legitimate medical reason has been against the law for some time. Also, using steroids to enhance strength, body mass and stamina has been against the official rules of sports for many years. However, the subject of athletic enhancing drugs has been the issue of endless television debates. It has also been written about extensively in the press and it’s still one of the highly debated issues in the world of professional sports.
Since the early 1990s, doctors stopped steroid prescriptions that had no medical reason. It was back then when anabolic steroids have been reclassified as controlled substances. So, the only options left in acquiring anabolic steroids was the black market. But with the development of website shops, online steroid vendors have quickly gained popularity.
They are now seen as an easy and reliable alternative source. Many online vendors advertise the safety and effectiveness of these drugs. Also, online steroid shops sell their products to just about anyone: they do not ask to see a medical prescription, they do not check the buyer’s age or background. However, we do recommend that you exercise precaution when dealing with obscure online shops and websites.
Overall studies indicate that anabolic steroids can be used to effectively increase muscle mass, endurance and strength. Nowadays, they are often taken by bodybuilders and athletes who wish to boost their performance as well as improve and sculpt their physique.
At the same time, anabolic steroids, both pills and injectables, are still prescribed in the treatment of medical conditions caused by a hormone deficiency, (such as delayed puberty), as well as to fight off diseases such as cancer and AIDS, which often eat away at the patient’s muscle mass. However, scientists have proven that there are serious health risks associated with the abuse of steroids. Steroids should be taken under direct medical supervision.