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Anabolic Steroids Anabolic steroids are a group of chemicals that are naturally made in the body. They function as both androgens and anabolic steroids. Without the presence of these drugs, the child would never develop the secondary sexual characteristic features and the physical growth. Over the past 50 years, it has been well recognized that the anabolic steroids can help people gain weight. The pharmaceutical industry has manufactured many types of anabolic steroids in the past but because of the widespread abuse by athletes, the majority of these synthetic steroids are not made anymore.

The majority of anabolic steroids in North America are only available through the black market. These steroids are manufactured in many countries and even in home made laboratories in the USA. OF course, in every single case the purity and quality of the products remain questionable. Infact, one is more likely to buy a fake product rather than a genuine steroid.

 

The classic anabolic steroid made in the human body is testosterone. It is manufactured in the testes and the synthesis is more prominent around puberty. It can help the individual develop muscle mass and the secondary sexual features. These masculanizing features are also sometimes known as virilizing features of the drug. In the female only a small amount of testosterone is secreted and functions in a similar way. The dominant hormone in females is estrogen, which is responsible for weight gain and the development of female sexual features.

 

In the last 4 decades, the abuse of anabolic steroids has become rampant. Both genders equally abuse the steroids. The internet is flooded with stories on how to best take these steroids to build the body.

Physiology of Steroid Cycle

For body builders who plan to take anabolic steroids, it is essential they understand what a steroid cycle is. Unlike many other pharmaceutical drugs, anabolic steroids can not be taken continuously. These potent drugs have complex side effects and have long term complications which can be irreversible. Further, the majority of anabolic steroids suppress the hypothalamic pituitary axis and synthesis of endogenous testosterone. Side Effect of Anabolic Steroids

If the exogenous anabolic steroid is stopped all of a sudden, the body can go into shock as the body’s own anabolic steroid production has been suppressed. The testes and the brain can take up to 2-4 weeks or even longer to recover. Thus, all users of anabolic steroids should limit the use of these drugs to a certain time period. In clinical medicine, anabolic steroids are administered for a period of 4-6 weeks and then a wash out phase is undertaken to allow for the testes and the pituitary gland to recover. If the anabolic steroids are taken for much longer period, one can permanently suppress the testes and its functions. Other problems related to suppression of the HPA pathway include heart disease, liver dysfunction and complete failure of the testes. In such cases, one has to take testosterone for the rest of life.

For the majority of body builders who take anabolic steroids, cycles are essential to limit toxicity and maintain the muscle mass. The major reason for cycles is simply to let the body recover and reduce the chance of side effects.

Stacking

Bodybuiding & Stacking
When one keeps on adding steroidal drugs to his/her regimen, this is known as stacking. Some body builders stack up to 3-5 anabolic steroids at a time. It is not healthy but people still do it. It really does not matter which drug you use, because essentially they are all the same. Stacking is in reality a concept developed by body builders to build muscle mass. One can simply stick to one drug and increase the dose. The downside of stacking is that the side effects can be amplified.

 

Why body builders take multiple anabolic steroids is not understood. There are some who believe (out of ignorance) that different steroids act differently. Others believe that perhaps a combination of many steroids can help build the body faster. All these assumptions are wrong. One can build the body with just one anabolic steroid alone. The major reason why so many body builders stack on these drugs is that the majority are fakes or sugar pills and do nothing at all.

 

Pyramidal Dosing

 

Some body builders perform an act called pyramidal. This is slightly different from stacking. In such scenarios the body builders gradually increases the number of steroids for up to 3 weeks and then gradually stop taking the pills one at a time. What this does is not really understood. There is no scientific basic for this scheme. All such dosing schemes are simply anecdotal and have no scientific value.

 

Selective Weight Gain

 

Despite all the media hype about steroid, there is no evidence that any steroid can selectively increase protein and decrease fat content. Steroid cycles have nothing to do with selective weight gain.

 

Side Effects

 

All anabolic steroids have side effects. While not everyone develops side effects initially, the longer the drug is used, the more likelihood that the side effects will appear. The majority of these side effects reverse when the drug is stopped. However, in women, some of the virilizing effects like clitoral enlargement or hair growth may not be reversible. Steroidal cycles also help limit the side effects

 

Genetic

 

There is a lot written in cyberspace about genetics and weight gain; and how this may be influenced by steroidal cycle.  Most of the information is simply ludicrous and carries no scientific value. Of course, there are some individuals who do respond differently to steroids. Some gain weight faster than others. Genetic influences may also affect who develop side effects and who does not. But in general, genetics has a small role to play when it comes to weight gain. The major problem with anabolic steroids is that the majority of products available are fake – and this is a common reason why the drug does not work and had nothing to do with genetics. And because the products are fake, most body builders take so many drugs because they have no clue which is fake and which is not. And it is impossible to tell if a drug is fake from the packaging or from simply looking at it.

 

Cycle Planning

 

While there are hundreds of variations of dosing with anabolic steroids, the one thing to remember is that the longer you take the drug, the greater the change of developing side effects. All the steroidal cycles currently being used by athletes have been developed by individuals with very little clinical background. For the majority of anabolic steroids, the safest way to take these drugs is to take them in cycles of 3-4 weeks and allow for    a washout period of 2-4 weeks. During the washout phase on can take Tamoxifen of Arimidex. When the next cycle begins the dose of the anabolic steroid can be gradually increased. One should simply stick to a single anabolic steroid and see if it works first. If there is no response by the end of 4-6 weeks, the product is most likely fake.

 

Weight Gain

There is no drug or steroid that can immediately cause muscle build up in days. Most people who do gain weight in the first 2 weeks simply retain water. Weight gain is a gradual process and can take at least 3-6 weeks to become obvious. On average, if the product is not fake, a weight gain of 10-20 lbs can occur during one cycle. Bodybuilding & Anabolic Steroids

When the anabolic steroid is stopped, the weight gain is lost. If you have not gained any weight after the first 4-6 weeks, the anabolic steroid is most likely fake.

 

Dose

 

Body builders have a habit of starting on the highest dose of anabolic steroid. This is a major error. Just because one takes a large dose does not mean that the body mass will build up faster. All this does is increase the chances of developing side effects. In all cases one should start at the lowest dose and then build up the dose gradually. The majority of anabolic steroids take time to work. Most anabolic steroids take at least 2-3 weeks for the effects to occur. Start low and then gradually increase the dose during each cycle. When starting at high doses, the chances of side effects are also high.

 

Stacking

 

Stacking simple means taking multiple anabolic steroids at the same time. This is simply rubbish and increases the chance of complication. One should stick to a single anabolic steroid and determine if it works first. The majority of anabolic steroids on the market are fakes and simple do not work. No point in adding more junk to your diet.

 

Short and Long Acting

 

Some body builders take an oral anabolic steroid and compliment it with an injection of a long acting anabolic steroid. Such scenarios can result in excess steroids and the chance of side effects is greatly increased. Most of these short and long acting steroids are taken for less than 3-4 weeks.

 

Staggered

 

Somebody builders stagger their cycles with different anabolic steroids. They start off with a short acting anabolic steroid, followed by a longer acting steroid in the next cycle and continue this regimen for 3-6 months

 

Loading Up

Anabolic Steroids Injection Other body builders load themselves with a long acting anabolic steroid by injection and then take an oral steroid every other day. This helps provide a constant level of the drug in the body

Bridging

 

All users of anabolic steroids have to understand that these drugs cannot be taken on a continual basis. Therefore, after a 4-6 week period the steroid is stopped for a few weeks. This gap is then bridged with drugs like Arimidex or tamoxifen. This helps prevent the estrogen side effects like water retention and gynecomastia. This regimen also helps maintain testosterone levels at an optimum.

 

Anabolic Steroid of Choice

 

There are many anabolic steroids all with fancy names. Any steroid which contains testosterone is fine. The rest of the anabolic steroids with their fancy formulations are simply testosterone analogues and made in home made laboratories. One also to remember that the majority of anabolic steroids mentioned in cyberspace are no longer manufactured. Where and how these drugs appear on the black market is a puzzle. Analysis of many of these drugs from cyberspace have found them to be fakes. Every anabolic steroid is classified as a Class 3 drug under the controlled substance act. This means that possession, selling or distribution of the product is illegal. And FOR ALL BODY BUILDERS- Do you really believe that the DEA is simply going to stand by and let someone sell an illegal drug online and do nothing about it? When the online companies are busted by the DEA, they tell them the truth- the pills are fake or contain some bogus vitamin or sugar.

 

Diet

 

For all body builders, eating a diet rich in protein is a must. Simple popping a pill is going to do very little. One does not have to go out and buy all fancy protein pills or potions. Simple eat a decent diet with lots of calories while taking the anabolic steroid.

 

Final Word

 

There is no rhyme or reason why body builders have developed such complex schemes. The jargon used, the complexity of dosing and routes of administration are simply bizarre and have no scientific value.

 

The world of body building and anabolic steroids is a billion dollar market. The cyberspace is full of charlatans and devious people. In the majority of cases, you are more likely to get a product which is fake. So in the end, select your dealer well and the adage- “Buyer beware” applies very well to this industry.

 

References

 

Jason Cohen, Rick Collins, Jack Darkes, and Daniel Gwartney. A league of their own: demographics, motivations and patterns of use of 1,955 male adult non-medical anabolic steroid users in the United States J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007; 4:12. Published online 2007 October

 

A Urhausen, T Albers, and W Kindermann. Are the cardiac effects of anabolic steroid abuse in strength athletes reversible? Heart. 2004 May; 90(5): 496–501.

 

Melanie A Mason, Matthew Giza, Lori Clayton, Jim Lonning, and Rick D Wilkerson. Use of Nutritional Supplements by High School Football and Volleyball Players. Iowa Orthop J. 2001; 21: 43–48.

 

Robert D. Kersey. Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Use Among California Community College Student-Athletes. J Athl Train. 1996 Jul–Sep; 31(3): 237–241.

 

Leslye D. Tuttle, Gregory L. Gaa, Edwin H. Griffith, and Bernard R. Cahill. Prevalence of Anabolic Steroid Use Among Illinois High School Students. J Athl Train. 1994 September; 29(3): 216-218, 221-222.

 

R Yeater, C Reed, I Ullrich, A Morise, and M Borsch. Resistance trained athletes using or not using anabolic steroids compared to runners: effects on cardiorespiratory    variables, body composition, and plasma lipids. Br J Sports Med. 1996 March; 30(1): 11–14.

 

C Bickelman, L Ferries, and R P Eaton. Impotence related to anabolic steroid use in a body builder. Response to clomiphene citrate. West J Med. 1995 February; 162(2): 158–160.

 

E. A. Newsholme. Breaking Olympic records. BMJ. 1996 August 3; 313(7052): 246.

 
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