The effect of steroids and sports nutrition on the body: what is better for an athlete
The question of choosing between steroids and sports nutrition is still open. Each athlete makes his own decision. But before choosing, it is worth understanding the difference between steroids and sports nutrition, around which there are still many myths and misconceptions.
What are steroids: endogenous and exogenous
Steroids are normally produced by the body itself. These are endogenous hormones – those that are synthesized in the human body, both in men and women. Steroids are a very large class of chemicals. It contains anabolic steroids that help build protein.
There are other steroids that are not related to muscle growth. An example is progesterone, which also belongs to steroids, but performs the function of regulating the female reproductive system.
Many people associate steroid hormones with testosterone, but this is only one of the “representatives”. The main types of steroids:
- Gonadosteroids – compounds produced by the sex glands: estrogens, androgens (testosterone, androstenediol, dihydrotestosterone) and gestagens.
- Corticosteroids – substances produced by the adrenal cortex: mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids.
In modern strength sports, we are talking about exogenous steroid hormones that enter the body from the outside in the form of pharmacological preparations. These are artificially created steroids that act like sex hormones. They are represented by testosterone and its derivatives.
Anabolic steroids as pharmacological drugs
Anabolic steroids are substances of animal (less often plant) origin with high biological activity. They participate in the regulation of metabolic functions of the body, accelerate the formation and renewal of parts of cells, tissues and muscles. This is anabolism – a process by which new high-molecular compounds are formed. In simple words – the generation of cells, the synthesis of proteins and hormones that promote the growth of muscle fibers, which athletes seek.
Thus, steroids are called anabolic and androgenic for a reason:
- Anabolic (means “building”), because drugs have an anabolic effect, which manifests itself in the rapid growth of muscles.
- Androgenic due to the ability to stimulate the development of secondary male sexual characteristics.
Androgens are the generic name for a group of steroidal male sex hormones that are produced by the sex glands: the testes in men and the ovaries in women (to a lesser extent).
List of popular steroids
Of the steroid substances, it is the preparations of male sex hormones – androgens – that have anabolic and androgenic activity. Steroids include:
- testosterone propionate (in the slang “propik”);
- nandrolone decanoate (“deca”);
- methenolone enanthate (in the slang “prima”).
The mechanism of action of steroids
The effect of steroids is as follows:
- Speed up muscle growth;
- increase endurance;
- reduce joint pain;
- increase physical strength;
- Reduce body fat.
The greatest effect is observed with injection, since the drugs begin to act only after entering the bloodstream. In the case of taking a tablet form, most of the drug is lost when passing through the liver.
The mechanism of action of steroids is as follows:
- Stimulation of the synthesis and accumulation of creatine phosphate and ATP – the main sources of energy.
- An increase in the permeability of the cell membrane, due to which more nutrients enter the cell, which are necessary for the synthesis of new protein cells and ATP.
On the use of anabolic steroids in sports and medicine
When considering the question of what anabolic steroids are, first of all it is worth noting that, first of all, these are medications. They were first synthesized on the basis of testosterone and growth hormone in the 30s of the 20th century.
Initially, the drugs were used to treat a number of diseases. Then veterinarians became interested in them, who noticed that with the help of steroids you can increase the strength and endurance of horses.
In the future, athletes and coaches became interested in drugs. At first they were used in reasonable dosages, but in the 60s doping became a real plague, and in 1967 the International Olympic Committee imposed a ban on the use of stimulants by competitors. The notorious steroid methane is also on the banned list.
Today steroid hormones are used mainly for medical purposes and only in small doses. They are used to treat AIDS, cancer, and recover from burns. And even in such cases, there is a risk of side effects. Athletes, as a rule, begin to take steroids in high doses, which leads to negative consequences.
What are the harm steroids do?
When taking steroids for muscle growth, an athlete runs the risk of facing many side effects, including:
- increase of blood pressure;
- deterioration in sperm quality;
- decrease in the sensitivity of cells to insulin;
- aggressiveness and imbalance;
- development of addiction;
- increased hair growth throughout the body;
- problems with the heart and blood vessels;
- liver disease (especially when taken in pill form);
- oncological diseases.
Since the body is already getting enough testosterone, it simply stops being produced. This can be the reason for the development of gynecomastia and testicular atrophy. In women, the harm of steroids is manifested in the violation of the menstrual cycle. Their figure begins to take on a masculine outline.
The consequences can occur both in the first course of taking steroids, and 5 or more years after the withdrawal of drugs. Careless and careless intake of anabolic steroids can lead to serious complications. In addition, most of these drugs are simply prohibited without a prescription.
About sports nutrition
Sports nutrition is special nutritional supplements that have nothing to do with anabolic steroids. They are based on natural substances that are present in common products. They are presented in a more concentrated form that provides:
- An easier way to take sports nutrition drugs.
- Accelerates the absorption of nutrients.
These effects have provided sports nutrition widespread among professional athletes. Time that previously had to be spent on diet planning can now be spent on training and other more important things. The right dose of nutrients is provided by supplements that can be purchased immediately for an extended period.
The main classes of sports nutrition:
- high protein foods (proteins);
- fat burners (L-carnitine);
- amino acids;
- carbohydrate-protein mixtures;
- energy (caffeine);
- vitamins, minerals and their complexes;
- BCAAs, phosphatidylserine and creatine.
How sports nutrition works
The mechanism of action of sports nutrition is completely different, it differs from what steroids do. Supplements have the same effect as food entering the body through the esophagus. Passing through the digestive system, nutrients in the required amount are absorbed into the bloodstream and provide nutrition to cells and tissues.
Yes, there is a sports diet that affects testosterone synthesis. But here, too, there is a big difference with anabolic steroids. Sports nutrition stimulates the production of its own testosterone, and steroids replace it, which causes the body to stop producing this hormone. Regular supplements do not cause this effect, but only increase testosterone levels without exceeding safe levels.
What to choose – steroids or sports nutrition?
Steroids can be taken, but it is very important to be careful and use the products carefully. If you take it in cycles without exceeding the dosage, and after the course take PCT drugs (restore the body), then you can achieve good results and minimize the number of side effects.
It is very important to decide exactly whether to take steroids, because they always carry with them the risk of hormonal changes. As a rule, they are necessary only in those cases when the bodybuilder has reached the limit and without stimulation he cannot increase his performance. We are not recommend to use these methods for young and immature athletes.
The harm of steroids to the body is a medical fact. This does not mean that side effects will necessarily occur as a result of taking them. But the probability is very high.
Sports nutrition in this regard is absolutely safe. Side effects can occur only with individual intolerance or allergy to the components, exceeding the dose or combining incompatible funds.
In other cases, the sports food does not cause any harm. Scientist approved these supplements. When you combine it with exercise and proper nutrition, produce very good results.