Synthetic Steroids: Artificially Enhancing Muscles vs. Natural Testosterone Production

Every now and then we hear of athletes taking steroids to pump up their muscles to gain a little advantage over their opponents. In the last decade, we have learned a lot about the dangers of taking synthetic anabolic androgenic steroids. We have heard about famous people losing their lives due to the use of these synthetic hormones. Anabolic androgenic steroids were first isolated in the 1930s, and they were commonly used during the 1950s and 1960s.

Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) and testosterone are almost synonymous; testosterone is produced naturally by the body. AAS is the synthetic form of testosterone. Males produce testosterone in their testes, and females produce a lesser amount of testosterone in their ovaries. Both males and females produce a small amount of testosterone in their adrenal glands. A good way to deliver these steroids to your muscles is to lift weights.

Testosterone, in males, is what makes men virile. Males with adequate testosterone have a healthy sex drive. Testosterone in women is needed for the growth of muscles. We produce it in smaller amounts than men. Testosterone is known as a male hormone, but both men and women depend on testosterone for our sex drives.

Testosterone is responsible for the male’s primary and secondary sex characteristics, such as pubic, and body hair, growth of vocal cords to deepen the voice, and the development of the sexual organs. By lifting weights you cause your muscles to get larger. A bit of biochemistry, called anabolism, occurs to develop bigger muscles. Testosterone, which is a natural anabolic androgenic steroid, attaches to a specific protein molecule in your DNA. Ligands are the binding molecules that attach the steroid to the DNA. When this happens, it is like flipping a switch. Muscles grow and develop when you strength train with weights in the gym, due to the biochemistry that takes place.

By producing these steroids naturally with muscle building exercise you do not disturb your body’s homeostasis; however, if you were to administer synthetic anabolic androgenic steroids for the purpose of pumping up your muscles, you would very likely upset your body’s homeostatic balance. Synthetic testosterone is used in medicine to treat certain conditions that cause a wasting away of the muscles, such as cancer and AIDS. These same steroids are illegally used by teenagers and adults who want to look a certain way.

The abuse of AAS can cause something known as “roid rage.” Roid rage happens to people who over react and become violent over nothing. Every now and then I hear on the news about someone who became violent due to roid rage. It could happen to you. You might say something harmless, and a person on a heavy dose of anabolic steroids might overreact, take offense and become violent with you.

The side effects of using synthetic anabolic androgenic steroids include high blood pressure, flushing, anger, aggression, gynecomastia in men, testicles that have decreased in size, cardiovascular disease, bone loss, edema due to water retention, and a moon shaped face, to name a few.