Despite the fact that many people are familiar with the term, very few can correctly answer the question what are anabolic steroids?. These are synthetic substances that resemble the natural male sex hormones such as testosterone. The more technically correct name for the substances is anabolic-androgenic steroids. This is because of their two main functions in the human body; the anabolic effects result in the growth of skeletal muscles, while the androgenic component promotes development and expression of male traits. Steroids will have the same effects in female users as males, a fact that debunks a common myth that only men display the effects after consumption of these steroids.
Anabolic Effects of Steroids
In the years after 1930, scientists conducting experiments on steroids made an observation. They discovered that the steroids facilitated the growth of skeletal muscles in lab animals. This discovery would later become a cornerstone in some sporting activities such as bodybuilding and weight lifting. Participants of these games employed this property of steroids to make the games even more competitive. Their use has since grown in leaps and bounds, and athletes involved in numerous sporting activities across the globe have fallen prey to the use of steroids to gain an edge over their opponents. Steroid abuse has become widespread in sport and to a large extent determines the outcome of competitions. This has made governments and international bodies to ban the use of steroids among athletes.
The anabolic properties of steroids have been medically employed to alleviate suffering caused by human diseases that cause body wasting. Such include those living with the HIV and diseases that result in muscle atrophy such as ALS.
To cure the problem of hypogonadism, a condition that affects men and results in underproduction of the male hormone testosterone, scientists developed anabolic steroids. Optimum levels of testosterone are vital for normal growth and development in men and are necessary for sexual maturation and functioning. Apart from treating hypogonadism, this property of steroids has also been used in delayed puberty in boys and management of some forms of impotence in men.
Before using them, it is paramount for people to have a clear picture of what are anabolic steroids. This knowledge will help the user to anticipate the effects. It also helps those in athletics and other sports where steroids are outlawed to stay away from them to avoid disqualification from games.