Thread: How do steroids actually work?
11-15-2004, 01:18 PM #1
How do steroids actually work?
I've done some searching around and can't quite find the answer that I'm looking for. I found this over in the educational forum:
Originally Posted by JohnnyB
11-16-2004, 03:03 AM #2Senior Member
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you need testostyrone to build muscle so the more test you have in your body the more muscle you will grow and quicker.
11-16-2004, 03:33 AM #3Originally Posted by sbeast007
From what I understand, steroids increase the amount of nitrogen your cells can hold, which increases the rate protein can be synthesized into muscle. That explains why they make you bigger faster, but I'm not too sure about drugs like halo that make you stronger but not bigger
11-16-2004, 04:45 AM #4Senior Member
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if you get stronger then u should get bigger i would think they go hand in hand, unless u just keep doing light weights all the time which would get boring.
11-16-2004, 05:52 AM #5Originally Posted by AandF6969
11-16-2004, 06:13 AM #6
You will have 50 times morew test in your body than you naturally Would..
11-16-2004, 07:01 AM #7Originally Posted by Dimes
11-16-2004, 07:26 AM #8Anabolic Member
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From what I've read, when a muscle is damaged it attracts protiens. The retention of these protiens cause an increase in the muscle diameter. Testosterone is the main contributer in the retention of these protiens. (Now here is the part that I'm not sure of) We all know that men have more test than women, from what I've read, men have 4-10 mg's of free test in their system at anytime and women have around .1 mg's. Which would put men at about 40 to 100 times more free test than women. Wich would explain why women don't get huge.
11-16-2004, 07:36 AM #9Anabolic Member
Originally Posted by wired-up
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Water bloat scares a lot of guys and they take stuff trying to defeat it, but actually water bloat is responsible for 60% of the muscle gains. Its not just water, the steroids also make you retain greater amounts of protein, calcium, nutrients and all this stuff is IN the water bloat and its storing it at and near all the muscles which are also bloating. This way when you work out and tear down the muscles, all these nutrients are nice and conveniently located very near where the muscles need it, this gives you much less soreness or damage to the muscles and causes more rapid healing. This very same feature of bloating is what makes creatine the best non-steroid anabolic substance as well. After water bloating, then suppression of cortisol by anabolic steroids brings in another 20% of what nets you gains, the remaining 20% of the effect of steroids is the actual androgenic activity since muscle building is a secondary sexual trait.
Last edited by Ntpadude; 11-16-2004 at 07:43 AM.
11-16-2004, 08:02 AM #10
The 'bloat' is def a factor that helps you grow. Muscles are about 70% water naturally. They function best in a highly aqueous environment. The water holds nutrienst as mentioned and alllows your muscle to fuction at their peak.
11-16-2004, 11:00 AM #11
Ill give you some articles to read.
posted by Fcontact on Qualitymuscle
TESTOSTERONE … WHAT DOES IT DO ?
The main androgen focused upon for this discussion is testosterone. But please
realize that almost all synthetic AAS are chemical variants of testosterone and therefore
much of the characteristics apply to them as well. (But not all!) Testosterone has two
distinct characteristics or effects.
First, its anabolic characteristics (tissue building) which express themselves as
increased and accelerated muscle tissue build-up which leads to faster recovery time after
training, illness, and injuries, and to a quicker "regeneration" (I hate that word!) of the
entire body. This is because an anabolic response leads to the promotion of protein
synthesis and tissue repair or increase.
Secondly, androgenic characteristics or effects which are commonly referred to as
secondary male characteristics that promote sexual behavior, libido, development and
maturing of the penis, body hair, beard growth, deeper voice, aggressiveness, and
formation and maturation of sperm. And of course, as any pubescent boy will tell you,
increased production of the sebaceous gland and pimples.
As mentioned before, circulatory levels of testosterone also effect HPTA function,
so I should not list it as a characteristic unless I also list pretty much every other sexhormone
When discussing the characteristics of testosterone or its androgen cousins and
synthetic AAS relatives, it is important to understand the difference between free (or
active) testosterone and bound (or inactive) testosterone/AAS (Anabolic/Androgenic
Steroids ). Bound testosterone is inactive because it is bound to SHBG (Sex Hormone
Binding Globulin) and to a lesser degree, albumin. The sex-steroid molecules are bound
by SHBG contained in the blood, which prevents them from fitting into their receptors.
That will be explained later. Free (unbound/active) testosterone is able to transmit its
characteristics because it fits into receptors. Bound testosterone equals about 97-99% of
total testosterone circulation while free testosterone equals 1-3% of total testosterone.
That probably does not sound like much, but even 0.1-0.3 mg of free testosterone has a
whole lot of individual separate molecules. And 1 molecule can activate every receptorsite
it binds to.
Males have a total testosterone reference range of 225-950 ng/dl (nanograms per
decaliter). And a free testosterone reference range for males is 1-3% of the total
testosterone reference range. Females have a total testosterone reference range of 14-76
ng/dl and a free testosterone reference range of 0.5-1.8 ng/dl.
Bound testosterone can be unbound due to metabolic requirements and different
steroid molecules. And both endogenous and exogenous AAS can react differently to
SHBG. For this reason some synthetic AAS can alter the ratio for any other free and/or
bound androgenic levels.
*As can prohormones and some minerals such as zinc, copper, and magnesium.
Most steroid molecules are specific to their respective cell receptors. This means
only testosterone/androgen/AAS molecules can fit into (and transmit their respective
message) testosterone/androgen receptor-sites. This is due to shape and size much like a
key and a lock: Some keys can fit into other locks, but only the right key can fit in and
activate the mechanism. Steroid molecules travel through the blood stream and
lymphatic system. This means that everywhere blood goes, the molecules are sure to
follow. Using muscle cells as an example, testosterone molecules circulate until they
come into contact with testosterone/androgen receptor-sites on the muscle cell. Then
they lock together and they form a complex called (what else?) a steroid / receptor
complex. Now the complex travels to the cell nucleus where it can bond to specific
sequences on the nucleic acid sections of desoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Here is where a
transcription happens and a template of the DNA is created, resulting in messenger
ribonucleic acid (mRNA). The mRNA exits the cell nucleus and bonds to/with RNA in
the liquid part of the cell called the cytoplasm. Here a translation of the message takes
place and an increase in protein synthesis occurs. There is a correlating decrease in
catabolism as well. This is because testosterone molecules can occupy cortisol receptorsites
and block them. Therefore cortisol can not get in to transmit its message. The
results are growth! A simple way of looking at this is… you go to someone's house to
deliver a message and their mom relays it exactly so the job gets done. Sorry about the
techno-geek info, but it helps later.
*It should be noted that different labs in different places use slightly different reference
ranges. As example 300-1000ng/dl is a common male reference range used by my local lab.
11-16-2004, 11:01 AM #12
ANABOLIC -ANDROGENIC STEROIDS : Mechanism of Action and Effects on Performance
Thomas D. Fahey
Exercise Physiology Laboratory
California State University, Chico
Chico CA 95929 USA
Fahey, T.D. (1998). Anabolic-androgenic steroids: mechanism of action and effects on performance. In: Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine and Science, T.D.Fahey (Editor). Internet Society for Sport Science: http://sportsci.org. 7 March 1998.
How Anabolic Steroids Work
Anti-Catabolic Effects Of Anabolic Steroids
Anabolic Steroids and Performance
Anabolic steroids are drugs that resemble androgenic hormones (sometimes called male hormones) such as testosterone (Figure 1). Athletes consume them in the hope of gaining weight, strength, power, speed, endurance, and aggressiveness. They are widely used by athletes involved in such sports as track and field (mostly the throwing events), weight lifting, and American football. However, in spite of their tremendous popularity, their effectiveness is controversial. The research literature is divided on whether anabolic steroids enhance physical performance. Yet, almost all athletes who consume these substances acclaim their beneficial effects. Many athletes feel that they would not have been as successful without them.
There are several possible reasons for the large differences between experimental findings and empirical observations. An incredible mystique has arisen around these substances, providing fertile ground for the placebo effect. The use of anabolic steroids in the "real world" is considerably different from that in rigidly controlled, double-blind experiments (in a double blind study, neither the subject nor experimenter knows who is taking the drug). Most studies have not used the same drug dosage used by athletes. Institutional safeguards prohibit administration of high dosages of possibly dangerous substances to human subjects. Subjects in research experiments seldom resemble accomplished weight-trained athletes. Under these conditions, we must assess the results of sound research studies, as well as clinical and empirical field observations, in order to obtain a realistic profile of the use, effects on performance, and side effects of these substances.
How Anabolic Steroids Work
Male hormones, principally testosterone, are partially responsible for the tremendous developmental changes that occur during puberty and adolescence. Male hormones have androgenic and anabolic effects. Androgenic effects are changes in primary and secondary sexual characteristics. These include enlargement of the penis and testes, voice changes, hair growth on the face, axilla, and genital areas, and increased aggressiveness. The anabolic effects of androgens include accelerated growth of muscle, bone, and red blood cells, and enhanced neural conduction.
Anabolic steroids have been manufactured to enhance the anabolic properties (tissue building) of the androgens and minimize the androgenic (sex-linked) properties. However, no steroid has eliminated the androgenic effects because the so-called androgenic effects are really anabolic effects in sex-linked tissues. The effects of male hormones on accessory sex glands, genital hair growth, and oiliness of the skin are anabolic processes in those tissues. The steroids with the most potent anabolic effect are also those with the greatest androgenic effect.
Steroid hormones work by stimulation of receptor molecules in muscle cells, which activate specific genes to produce proteins (see Figure 1). They also affect the activation rate of enzyme systems involved in protein metabolism, thus enhancing protein synthesis and inhibiting protein degradation (called an anti-catabolic effect).
Figure 1: How a Steroid Hormone Works
Heavy resistance training seems to be necessary for anabolic steroids to exert any beneficial effect on physical performance. Most research studies that have demonstrated improved performance with anabolic steroids used experienced weight lifters who were capable of training with heavier weights and producing relatively greater muscle tension during exercise than novice subjects. The effectiveness of anabolic steroids is dependent upon unbound receptor sites in muscle. Intense strength training may increase the number of unbound receptor sites. This would increase the effectiveness of anabolic steroids.
Anti-Catabolic Effects Of Anabolic Steroids
Many athletes have said that anabolic steroids help them train harder and recover faster. They also said that they had difficulty making progress (or even holding onto the gains) when they were off the drugs. Anabolic steroids may have an anti-catabolic effect. This means that the drugs may prevent muscle catabolism that often accompanies intense exercise training. Presently, this hypothesis has not been fully proven.
Anabolic steroids may block the effects of hormones such as cortisol involved in tissue breakdown during and after exercise. Anabolic steroids may prevent tissue from breaking down following of an intense work-out. This would speed recovery. Cortisol and related hormones, secreted by the adrenal cortex, also has receptor sites within skeletal muscle cells. Cortisol causes protein breakdown and is secreted during exercise to enhance the use of proteins for fuel and to suppress inflammation that accompanies tissue injury.
Anabolic steroids may block the binding of cortisol to its receptor sites, which would prevent muscle breakdown and enhances recovery. While this is beneficial while the athlete is taking the drug, the effect backfires when he stops taking it. Hormonal adaptations occur in response to the abnormal amount of male hormone present in the athlete's body. Cortisol receptor sites and cortisol secretion from the adrenal cortex increase.
Anabolic steroid use decreases testosterone secretion. People who stop taking steroids are also hampered with less male hormone than usual during the "off" periods. The catabolic effects of cortisol are enhanced when the athlete stops taking the drugs and strength and muscle size are lost at a rapid rate.
The rebound effect of cortisol and its receptors presents people who use anabolic steroids with several serious problems: (1) psychological addiction is more probable because they become dependent on the drugs. This is because they tend to lose strength and size rapidly when off steroids. To stave off deconditioning, athletes may want to take the drugs for long periods of time to prevent falling behind. (2) Long-term administration increases the chance of serious side-effects. (3) Cortisol suppresses the immune system. This makes steroid users more prone to diseases, such as cold and flu, during the period immediately following steroid administration.
Some researchers have speculated that the real effect of anabolic steroids is the creation of a "psychosomatic state" characterized by sensations of well being, euphoria, increased aggressiveness and tolerance to stress, allowing the athlete to train harder. Such a psychosomatic state would be more beneficial to experienced weight lifters who have developed the motor skills to exert maximal force during strength training. Diets high in protein and calories may also be important in maximizing the effectiveness of anabolic steroids.
Anabolic Steroids and Performance
The effects of anabolic steroids on physical performance are unclear. Well controlled, double blind studies have rendered conflicting results. In studies showing beneficial effects, body weight increased by an average of about four pounds, lean body weight by about six pounds (fat loss accounts for the discrepancy between gains in lean mass and body weight), bench press increased by about 15 pounds, and squats by about 30 pounds (these values represent the average gains for all studies showing a beneficial effect). Almost all studies have failed to demonstrate a beneficial effect on maximal oxygen consumption or endurance capacity. Anabolic steroid studies have typically lasted six to eight weeks and have usually used relatively untrained subjects.
Most changes in strength during the early part of training are neural: increased strength is mainly due to an improved ability to recruit motor units. Anabolic steroids affect processes associated with protein synthesis in muscle. Studies lasting six weeks (typical study length) would largely reflect neural changes and could easily miss the cellular effects of the drugs.
The gains made by athletes in uncontrolled observations have been much more impressive. Weight gains of thirty or forty pounds, coupled with thirty percent increases in strength, are not unusual. Such case studies lack credibility because of the absence of scientific controls. However, it would be foolish to completely disregard such observations because the "subjects" have been highly trained and motivated athletes.Please see the articles on pharmacology of sport and sports medicine in the countries of the former Soviet Union for more information on anabolic steroids.
American Medical Association, Council on Scientific Affairs. Medical and non-medical uses of anabolic-androgenic steroids. J. Amer. Med. Assoc. 264: 2923-2927, 1990.
Bahrke, M.S., C.E. Yesalosk, and J.E. Wright. Psychological and behavioural effects of endogenous testosterone levels and anabolic-androgenic steroids among males: a review. Sports Med. 10: 303-337, 1990.
Buckley, W.E., C.E. Yasalis, K.E. Friedl, W.A. Anderson, A.L. Streit, and J.E. Wright. Estimated prevalance of anabolic steroid use among male high school seniors. J. Amer. Med. Assoc. 260: 3441-3445, 1988.
Rogozkin, V. Metabolism of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids. Leningrad: Nauka, 1988.
United States Olympic Committee. USOC Drug Education Handbook. Colorado Springs: USOC, 1989.
11-16-2004, 11:04 AM #13
All anabolic -androgenic steroids (AAS) are diriatives of testosterone . Each has an index ratio assigned to it on how anabolic (actual building effects --> muscle tissue, bone density, ...) versus androgenic (male-like effects --> bodyhair, deepening the voice, prostate ... effects that originally helped you to become a man from the time you were a fetus to a matured adult) the compound is. A purely anabolic steroid might be ideal but it is not currently an option - they all exert some androgenic effects... but how much varies depending on the compound.
Testosterone is a natural androgen and the one used as a reference drug to the others. On the theraputic index for anabolic steroids , testosterone rates a 1 as the standard. Anabolic steroids were orignially developed to alter the testosterone molecule to increase anabolic functions and decrease androgenic - the ratio being the therapeutic index. For example, compared to testosterone... Deca scores an 11-12... significantly more anabolic than androgenic.
The basic goal of stacking compounds is to increase the total AAS use posted by warrior
with as little unwanted androgenic side effects as possible - stuff like prostate enlargement, effects on male pattern bladness, increase bodyhair, ... sometimes to limit water and/or fat retention as well...
For example, using 500mg of testosterone with 500mg of nandrolone per week versus using 1000mg of testosterone can have less of an impact on the prostate since you basically cut the total weekly androgen use with a nortestosterone diriative that has lower androgenic effects...
So why is testosterone even use in a cycle if it's deriatives have less androgenic side effects? First off - nothing is better than testosterone. It is the hormone that your body is most accustomed to... you have it running through your veins every day your life. You shouldn't shut your system without, at the very minimal use a replacement dose of testosterone. But from clinical studies - you get the most anabolic effects from test using at least 300mg per week. I can not recall the pathway that many of heavy androgenic steroids take to have such a pronounced an effect on strength and muscle building - but I believe it has much more to do with the cross-overbinding to glucocorticoid receptors (cortisol blocking) than increaseing protein synthesis...
But in one sentance... androgenic means male-like while anabolic refers to the tissue building effects.
11-16-2004, 11:20 AM #14
Steroids increase your protein synthesis thus you recuperate faster from your workout. Basically this means accelerated gains as you can train more often. You can also train harder as water is stored by the body, increasing your muscle cell size, and thus strength. So you work out harder, and more often, and all that good protein you shovel in repairs those torn muscle fibres, building bigger muscles to combat this stress and breakdown.
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