Steroids are often written about in negative terms and it’s easy to focus on only their negatives. We’ve all heard that steroids cause a number of unpleasant side effects, that they’re liver toxic and that they’re ‘ruining all sports.
But the question then is: why do steroids exist at all? If steroids are really so dangerous and negative, why were they ever ‘invented’? And why do people continue to take them?
At the end of the day, the reality is that steroids have health benefits. Different steroids were therefore invented for different reasons but often this would involve those health benefits. And many steroids today are still actually used medicinally. Other steroids meanwhile were invented for other beneficial purposes – such as for use on livestock!
And athletes continue to take these illicit substances under the radar because they still can offer a host of tempting benefits to help them in their chosen sports.
How Steroids Can be Beneficial
Most anabolic steroids work by acting on the androgen receptors. These are sites in the body that are activated by androgen hormones – such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. These in turn can be described as the ‘male hormones’. These exist in greater quantities in men and they act to increase the appearance of male traits such as muscle mass, low body fat, hair and aggression. At the same time, testosterone also has a number of other interesting benefits, such as strengthening the bones.
These are all benefits that can be particularly helpful for a number of different health issues. For instance, steroids can be helpful for muscle wasting diseases and for osteoporosis/brittle bones. Likewise, steroids can be used to help increase testosterone levels in men who have a deficiency – or even in women who are undergoing sex changes! Testosterone injections are a regular part of ‘HRT’ (hormone replacement therapy).
In livestock, Trenbolone acetate in particular is often used to increase muscle mass, thereby leading to stronger and meatier animals!
Steroids in Sports
The same benefits are also highly advantageous in sports. Extra testosterone leads to great muscle mass for sports like bodybuilding and to extra strength for sports like football, wrestling, discus etc. Not only that, but the fat loss makes steroids appealing for aesthetic purposes and the enhanced recovery allows athletes to train harder without injuring themselves.
For all these reasons, steroids continue to be popular in sports. And for the fans of those sports, the argument could be made that this makes the sport more engaging and dramatic to watch. Certainly, this is something that has fuelled the use of steroids in bodybuilding.
But then again, you can also make the argument that this gives certain athletes an advantage – and that it makes the sport difficult to relate to. With the considerable health risks involved with steroid use, it’s also concerning that this might put off potential future athletes from ever wanting to get involved in the sport.
This is why it’s always better to turn to natural, safe and legal supplements wherever possible and it’s why steroids are only ever considered the last resort in medicine!