Many a naive man has been tempted by shortcuts on the road to Mr. Olympia muscle. But whether taken orally or via a needle, the risks are real.
Anabolic steroids travel through the bloodstream to your muscle cells where the hormone can interact with your DNA. Once in the bloodstream, steroids affect everything from your brain to your reproductive system.
If your natural testosterone response can be described as a steady stream, steroid use is like lobbing a stick of dynamite at the floodgates. “It increases the anabolic potential of the muscles, so they grow beyond genetic disposition,” says Professor Greg Whyte, from the Centre For Health and Human Performance in the UK. Instead, he advises an early night: a lot of muscle adaptation occurs overnight. Big sleep, indeed.
While your muscles swell, the rest of your body suffers. “Your T-levels will be above what the body has evolved to deal with,” says Whyte. This toxic environment stresses your body’s waste disposal units: the liver and kidneys. If your liver already needs rebooting (a few mid-week beers can do that), serve a side of cauliflower at dinner. It helps you process toxins.
Manly though you may feel, steroids are making you biologically more feminine. “Oestrogen is a byproduct of steroid use,” says Whyte. “Elevated levels can trigger testicular atrophy, so by chasing after the masculine aesthetic, you risk the loss of fertility.” Quit the juicing and eat Brazil nuts instead. Their selenium and fats have been linked to testosterone production and virility.
Put a pin in the notion you can get away with a brief dabble for longterm gain. “The training adaptations are short-lived,” says Whyte. Once you ditch the drugs, your artificially generated mass shrinks. The damage, however, lingers. Scoring testosterone from external sources drives down your natural production, leading to fatigue and low mood. Flex some sense and steer clear.
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