Steroids

Unveiling the Truth: Can You safely take steroids?

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Discover if it’s possible to safely take steroids with guidelines from our health experts. Wondering about steroid use without risking your health? Our article delves into the precautions and safety measures for responsible steroid use.

The effects and potential risks associated with anabolic steroids are extensively known. Nonetheless, could there be a balanced approach that allows for safe steroid consumption?

Unveiling the Truth: Can You safely take steroids?

Examine the methods by which steroid-related risks can be amplified or minimized through the control of various factors, as gleaned from our extensive experience in providing harm-reduction services to countless bodybuilders.

Steroids Sanctioned by the FDA

Back in the 1970s’ bodybuilding heyday, icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger were able to get prescriptions for steroids to enhance their physique from their doctors.

Yet, as the negative impacts of steroids became apparent, physicians stopped prescribing them.

Moreover, anabolic steroids have been deemed controlled substances, rendering them illegal in numerous countries.

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Consequently, certain steroids that once had therapeutic applications for conditions such as osteoporosis and cachexia are now obsolete for those purposes.

Still, a few steroids continue to carry FDA approval, such as Anavar (Oxandrolone), Testosterone, Anadrol (Oxymetholone), and Deca Durabolin (Nandrolone).

Medically speaking, these particular steroids are considered to be safe when used at therapeutic doses and under medical supervision for specific health conditions. However, their usage for aesthetic or bodybuilding purposes remains illicit.

Relative Safety of Different Steroids

The health risks associated with each anabolic steroid can differ significantly. Typically, the more potent the steroid, the greater the likelihood of adverse effects.

Testosterone often stands as an exception to this rule, which is why it’s favored by novices embarking on their first steroid cycle.

In our experience, Testosterone, Deca Durabolin, and Anavar can be regarded as relatively mild, as indicated by patient lab results.

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Conversely, steroids like Anadrol, Trenbolone, and Winstrol should be considered harsh due to their pronounced negative impact on blood lipids.

Also, combining multiple steroids can intensify the occurrence of side effects.

Based on what we have observed, here is a ranking of seven primary steroids utilized in bodybuilding today, from safest to most hazardous:

Safest

  1. Testosterone
  2. Deca Durabolin
  3. Anavar
  4. Dianabol
  5. Winstrol
  6. Trenbolone
  7. Anadrol

Least Safe

It’s important to note that this is a general guideline, and individual responses can vary greatly, as some patients may be genetically more sensitive to certain steroids.

For a detailed examination of the safest steroids for bodybuilders, consult this guide.

Pharmaceutical Grade vs. Underground Labs

The safety of steroid use can also be influenced by the manufacturing source.

A pharmaceutical-grade steroid concocted by professionals in a certified lab is considerably safer than one produced by an unregulated dealer in a non-sterile environment.

That’s why products from pharmaceutical companies command much higher prices on the black market compared to those from underground labs.

Reducing Steroid Side Effects

We’ve recognized that the use of natural supplements and medications can mitigate steroid side effects. TUDCA, a natural bile salt available as a supplement, has been demonstrated to reduce liver damage.

Consequently, we recommend a daily intake of 500 mg of TUDCA for bodybuilders using hepatotoxic oral steroids like Winstrol, Dianabol, and Anadrol, with success in alleviating liver inflammation.

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We’ve also noted that a 4-6 g daily dosage of fish oil can potentially improve users’ HDL cholesterol levels and lower heart attack risks, especially beneficial for those with high blood pressure.

For less severe side effects like hair loss and gynecomastia, our patients have effectively used DHT inhibitors like Finasteride, which decreases scalp inflammation, and aromatase inhibitors (AIs) or selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) to prevent gynecomastia. However, AIs should be used with caution due to their potential to raise blood pressure by limiting the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.

SERMs are preferred for specifically inhibiting estrogenic activity in breast tissue, rather than reducing overall bodily estrogen.

Post-cycle, men and women experiencing a drop in testosterone can suffer from reduced well-being, libido, energy, and sexual function. Under our guidance, bodybuilders implementing post-cycle therapy (PCT), often with Clomid, Nolvadex, or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), have been able to swiftly restore their natural testosterone production, diminishing these effects.

Balance vs. Excess

It is worth noting that certain FDA-approved steroids can have minimal side effects when used in medical scenarios; however, when bodybuilders use the same steroids for non-medical reasons, there is a risk of serious health issues such as heart attacks or liver damage.The justification for this lies in the fact that when steroids are medically prescribed, they are usually administered in controlled therapeutic doses and for a limited duration.

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Conversely, bodybuilders often engage in aggressive dosage strategies and prolonged cycles, with some reporting steroid use throughout the entire year.

The safety of steroid use is therefore contingent upon whether it is practiced with moderation and in well-thought-out cycles, as opposed to reckless abuse.

It is crucial for anyone considering steroid use to recognize the potential for addiction and comprehend the difficulties that may arise when attempting to discontinue use.

Genetic Factor

Certain individuals are more susceptible to heart, kidney, or liver disease due to genetic factors, making them more vulnerable to the adverse effects of steroids.

On the other hand, some individuals exhibit remarkable genetic resilience, and despite taking substantial doses of steroids, their medical tests consistently return within normal ranges.

For example, a daily dose of 50 mg of Anadrol may be too much for one person, while another might well tolerate 100 mg daily.

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This underscores the importance of regular medical checkups for individuals using steroids, allowing healthcare providers to assess and monitor the body’s reactions to various substances.

Athletes who have won titles like Mr. Olympia exemplify those with the genetic edge not only in muscle development but also in their capacity to consume significant drug quantities without falling sick.

Nevertheless, this does not imply that steroid-using bodybuilders are immune to illness or mortality; these incidents unfortunately still occur.

Steroids Shorten Life Spans

Studies indicate that anabolic steroids can reduce lifespan, a position supported by anecdotal evidence from medical observations.

For instance, one study showed that mice given anabolic steroids for six months lived significantly shorter lives than their untreated counterparts.

Another research highlight is that male steroid users had over a threefold higher likelihood of death within a seven-year span compared to non-users, though the overall fatality rate within steroid users was still relatively low at 1.3%.

Despite this, the aforementioned seven-year follow-up is considered relatively brief.

Many Can Take Steroids and Live Long Lives

While the risks associated with steroids are real and link to a reduced life expectancy, there are numerous instances of individuals who have taken steroids and enjoyed longevity.

Prominent, classic bodybuilders, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Robbie Robinson, Frank Zane, Tom Platz, and Mike Katz, are all still alive today, illustrating that some can safely use steroids long-term.

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Additionally, bodybuilders from earlier eras such as Franco Columbu, Serge Nubret, and Dave Draper lived into their 70s and 80s, despite using steroids when their safety was not yet established.

With better understanding and careful dosing today, bodybuilders can mitigate health risks more effectively than in the past.

Medical Supervision

The continued well-being of many IFBB bodybuilders on steroids can be attributed not only to genetics but also to regular monitoring by top healthcare professionals.

Early intervention for health issues like hypertension or elevated liver enzymes can be life-saving.

While not everyone can afford elite medical care, the principle of undergoing regular health checkups and laboratory tests is crucial for preserving one’s long-term health.

Counterfeit Steroids

Since anabolic steroids are illegal and cannot be prescribed for aesthetic enhancement, bodybuilders are often forced to acquire them through the black market.

One study found that nearly 38% of steroids from these sources were mislabeled, containing substances different from those indicated.

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The concealed contents can pose serious health risks, which is why verifying the authenticity of these substances before consumption is vital to ensure safety and legitimacy.

Legal Implications

Even if individuals use steroids without compromising their health, they face legal risks due to the illicit nature of these substances.

In the US, possession of anabolic steroids could result in a fine of at least $1,000 and a potential one-year prison sentence for a first offense.Should an individual be apprehended for selling steroids, they may face a fine of up to $250,000 and a potential five-year term of imprisonment. Repeated offenses could see these penalties doubling, emphasizing that the illicit trade in anabolic steroids carries severe legal consequences, thus undermining any perception of safety against criminal sanctions.

Hazards of Steroid Injection

Incorrect injection techniques may lead to severe consequences, including paralysis or even fatality. While injectable steroids may present fewer liver-related risks, the administration itself carries significant dangers, particularly for those lacking experience. Furthermore, the dangers stemming from needle contamination underscore the importance of strict hygiene practices and the avoidance of needle-sharing.

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Additional Adverse Effects

Beyond the critical concern for heart and liver health while using steroids, numerous other adverse side effects may arise, impacting a user’s lifestyle and relationships. Although some may argue that it is possible to use steroids without severe repercussions, the reality of these additional side effects cannot be ignored.

The following list comprises side effects that, while not immediately life-threatening, have been observed to cause considerable distress:

  • Infertility
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Low testosterone levels
  • Gynecomastia
  • Fluid retention
  • Shrinkage of testicles
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Heightened aggression

The potential psychological impact of these side effects is profound, as evidenced by data indicating a high suicide rate in the US, highlighting the mental health risks associated with anabolic steroid use.

The negative psychological effects of steroids, including the influence on brain neurotransmitters associated with mood, such as dopamine and serotonin, are as harmful as their physical health risks.

‘Roid Rage’ Phenomenon

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Though it is a widely held belief that increased testosterone levels, such as those resulting from steroid use, lead to heightened aggression, it’s important to note that ‘roid rage’ is not universally experienced. It is more commonly observed in individuals with preexisting psychological issues, suggesting the psychological safety of steroid use may vary greatly among individuals.

Influence of Diet

Dietary habits can amplify or mitigate the effects of steroids. When hepatotoxic steroids are combined with excessive alcohol intake, the risk for liver damage escalates. Conversely, a diet low in unsaturated fats and sodium can help manage blood pressure levels in users of cardiotoxic steroids, highlighting the impact of dietary choices on steroid-related health risks.

Steroid Use in Women

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Women face similar cardiac and hepatic risks as men when using steroids. However, the risk of masculinization presents a significant concern, restricting the steroids that can be used without severe side effects like menstrual irregularities and structural changes to the voice and body. Nonetheless, certain steroids have been found to minimize these risks when used under controlled conditions, emphasizing the importance of medical supervision and dosage control.

In Summary: Is Steroid Use Ever Safe?

While some individuals may use steroids without immediate detrimental health effects, others may experience serious or fatal consequences even with short-term use. Genetic factors and individual responses to steroids play crucial roles in their overall safety, which can be unpredictable.

Notwithstanding individual variations, there are several immutable truths regarding the use of anabolic steroids without medical justification:

  1. Non-medical use invariably leads to health deterioration
  2. Higher dosages and prolonged use escalate health risks
  3. It is probable that life expectancy may be reduced
  4. The risk level corresponds with the steroid’s potency
  5. Combining different steroids amplifies potential harm
  6. Black market steroids present additional safety risks
  7. Legally, the purchase and use of steroids are largely prohibited internationally.

REFERENCES

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6952947/

(2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7769501/

(3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9140897/

(4) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181121073244.htm

(5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10859788/

(6) https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics/

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3949980/

(8) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150126083816.htm

(9) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8855834/

(10) https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/sodium.htm#:~:text=The%20body%20needs%20a%20small,for%20heart%20disease%20and%20stroke.

(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544259/

(12) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12646793/

General Practitioner at | Website | + posts

Dr. Grant Fourie, a specialist in male hormones, is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He provides comprehensive treatments for conditions related to low testosterone, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood changes. His methods include hormone replacement therapy and other modern treatment options.
Contact me via email or phone to book personal appointment in my clinic: The Village Square, Cape Town - South Africa

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About Dr. Grant Fourie

Dr. Grant Fourie, a specialist in male hormones, is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He provides comprehensive treatments for conditions related to low testosterone, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood changes. His methods include hormone replacement therapy and other modern treatment options. Contact me via email or phone to book personal appointment in my clinic: The Village Square, Cape Town - South Africa

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