What are Steroids?

Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are man made compounds. They are similar in structure to testosterone (the male hormone). AAS use has increased significantly since they were first developed in the late 1930's. There are hundreds of AAS on the market at any time and development continues to grow as medical science advances. AAS is always a topic of discussion in sports with some high profile athletes testing positive for a range of substances.

Steroid use has continued to grow since their first production. The foundations of steroids remains the same but with advances in medicine, new derivatives will continue to emerge. Steroids have a therapeutic use and their continual development is important for medical purposes to ensure the successful treatment of certain illnesses.

Humans are always looking to better themselves...it's part of our make up. Since we have competed against each other, humans have always looked at ways to improve performance to give us the edge over our opponents. Steroids were proven to have a positive effect when used in medicinal situations. It is inevitable that someone was going to try them out for performance purposes. This did not take long.

But what are steroids and what is the difference between our natural steroids and the ones athletes use to enhance performance???

Steroids

Steroids are naturally occurring within the body. You may know them better as hormones and they affect the bodies ability to grow. Everybody has differing levels of steroids that naturally occur in the body. These are here through thousands of years of evolution. No one will know what affect adding extra amounts to the body will have until after it has been tried. This is because everyone reacts differently. By then it may be to late to reverse the effects. Steroids do have a medical purpose and are prescribed by doctors for ailments that affect muscle development etc.

Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs

Some people use the term PEDs as a generic term for all drugs that enhance performance and/or body image. This is because some compounds do not come under the anabolic-androgenic banner. An example of this would be Erythropoietin (EPO) which controls red blood cell production. Before you think EPO is a good thing....it's use does increase the chance of you having a stroke!!

How are Steroids Supplied?

Injectable steroids are generally supplied in vials. You should be presented with a small glass container with a metal top. On this metal top a rubber stopper should exist that allow a needle to pass through. Always check the top has not been tampered with or opened. Click here for more information on injecting steroids.

Oral steroids come in tablet form and will either come in a bottle or in a 'strip' similar to paracetamol.

Anabolic Androgenic Steroids

Anabolic-androgenic steroids are man-made chemical compounds. Anabolic refers to the process of growth, this is an Anabolic Effect. The steroid aspect triggers or encourages growth within muscle and other tissues including bone structure as well as reduced body fat. The Androgenic part of AAS refers to the development of male sexual characteristics such as deep voice, chest and facial hair. This is a sought after hormone as it increases strength and development of muscle tissue. But...with this also comes increased aggression. So you could end up a very hairy angry person!

Types of Steroids

Generally AAS come in three basic forms:

Water-based injectables
as the name suggests they are prepared in a water based solution ready for injection. They are quickly absorbed by the body and reports suggest less painful to inject than oil base steroids. Water based steroids are generally used at the beginning of a cycle due to their rapid absorption which leads to quicker results compared to oil based steroids. This rapid absorption does mean that water based injectables do need to be injected more often.
Oil-based injectables
these come in an oil based solution that is absorbed at a slower rate and therefore take longer to take effect than water based AAS. They do not need to be injected as often as water based injectables but will require a thicker needle due to the consistency of the solution.
Tablets
oral AAS that have to pass through the body system to take effect. Oral steroids have a -17 Alpha-Alkylated compound added to them to ensure they pass through the liver in some sort of useful form. Basically if the steroid did not go through this process the liver would break the steroid down and there would be no point taking them. For this reason they are known to be very toxic to the liver and more oral AAS is needed as their effect is short lived.