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By Dr. George Touliatos | 3 minutes read | Last updated: February 16, 2021 |
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  • Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos

    Evidence Based Research

    What are anabolic steroids?

    Anabolic steroids are a man-made version of chemicals known as hormones that are made naturally by the human body. They are prescription-only medicines that are sometimes taken without medical advice to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance, especially in sports such as bodybuilding. If used incorrectly and abused for improved athletic performance they can cause serious side effects and addiction.

    Are anabolic steroids illegal?

    In the UK anabolic steroids are a class C drug, this means they can only be sold by a pharmacist with a prescription. It is legal to have anabolic steroids for personal use and they can also be imported or exported, as long as this is carried out in person. It is illegal to possess and export/import anabolic steroids if it’s believed you are supplying or selling them, this includes giving them to friends. In professional sport, most organisations ban the use of anabolic steroids and will actively test competitors for banned steroids and other performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

    Why do people take anabolic steroids?

    There are various reasons, the most common being the fact they offer physical changes which provide and athletic advantage. These advantages include an increase in muscle mass, decrease in body fat and overall increase in body size and athletic appearance. There are also mental health conditions such as people who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder where a person spends a great deal of time worrying about their physical appearance, yet their appearance concerns are not noticed by others.

    Testosterone Benefits of Anabolic Steroids

    1/1 Androgenic / anabolic ratio

    50% of AAS cycle provides artificial HPTA and supports androgenic activity.

    1. Increase strength
    2. Increase anabolism (lowering cortisol & elevating IGF1)
    3. Positive nitrogen balance
    4. Elevation of BMI and stimulation of BMI
    5. Fat burning
    6. Aggression

    Anti ageing

    1. Maintenance of BMH/BMR (anabolism)
    2. Skin elasticity (sebum production)
    3. Joint libricatoin (aldosterone stimulation)
    4. Anti depressant (serotonin, dopamine, DHT)
    5. Improvement in BMD (calcium retention)
    6. Against anemia (EPO release)

    Anabolic steroids performance enhancing effects

    1. Increase in muscle tissue & strength
    2. Increase in RBCs & stamina improvement
    3. Improvement in motivation (androgenicity)
    4. Euphoric effect (aromatisation & estrogens)

    A survey conducted by T-Nation with 2385 men found the primary reasons for taking steroids were improving appearance (82.2%) and inceasing strength (50%), self-esteem and body image also ranked high (29.87%). The most surprising statistic is that less than 10% of the men in the survey took anabolic steroids to improve athletic perofmance.

    What are the most popular anabolic steroids?

    Source: (T-Nation)

    1st and 2nd were testosterone enanthate and testosterone cypionate.

    • 3rd – Methandrostenolone
    • 4th – Trenbolone
    • 5th – Oxandrolone
    • 6th – Nandrolone Decanoate
    • 7th – Equipoise
    • 8th – Testosterone Propionate
    • 9th – Stanozolol
    • 10th – Sustanon 250

    What are the most reported side effects of anabolic steroids?

    There are a range of side effects associated with long term use of anabolic steroids, here are the most common ones reported:

    Over 94% of people using steroids reported side effects:

    • Testicular Atrophy – 62.94%
    • Hypersexuality – 50.69%
    • Hypertension – 43.44%
    • Mood Changes – 42.64%
    • Erectile Dysfunction – 32.96%
    • Dyslipidemia (abnormal blood fats) – 27.97%
    • Gynecomastia – 26.08%

    Some symptoms were more prevalent in users over 35 years old:

    • Dyslipidemia – 32.91% vs. 25.88%
    • Hair Loss – 27.12% vs. 20.69%
    • Tendon Rupture – 9.89% vs. 6.92%
    • Left Ventricular Hypertrophy – 6.64% vs. 2.92%
    • Infertility – 9.82% vs. 6.92%
    • Injection Site Abscess – 12.43% vs. 8.05%
    • Polycythemia (increase in number of red blood cells) – 20.9% vs. 9.0%

    What are the main adverse side effects of anabolic steroids?

    By Dr. George Touliatos (Medical Director Balance My Hormones)

    Cardiovascular system

    • Decreased HDL, Increased LDL/TC => Atheromatic index distortion (>5) = increase risk of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack)
    • Cardiomegaly & left ventricular hypertrophy = chronic heart failure, hypertension
    • Altered endothelial integrity of coronary arteries = spasm, in combination with nicotine = ischmia (angina pectoris) and chronic heart disease
    • Increased levels of sodium & calcium = arrhythmias (atrial/ventricular)

    Liver-biliary tract

    • Pharmaceutical hepatitis: increase of liver enzymes-transaminases (SGOT, SGPT/AST, ALT)
    • Cholestasis: obstructive jaundice (inccrease of cholestatic markers: ALP, GGT, BIL)
    • Hepatic Peliosis (cysts in hepatic lobes): structural changes = severe liver dysfunction and hepatic rupture
    • Hepatocellular carcinoma

    Reproductive system (sex glands)

    • Supression of HPTA: primary hypogonadism, gradually turns into secondary, testicular atrophy, reduction in semen production and quality, changes in libido and infertility
    • Gynecomastia
    • Hypertrophy of the prostate gland (BPH)
    • Malignant hyperplasia of prostate gland
    • Masculinisation in women (acne, hirsutism, changes in libido, voice deepening, clitorus enlargement, menstrual irregularities and reduction in breast size

    Anabolic Steroid Harm Reduction and Balance My Hormones

    Balance My Hormones provide steroid harm reduction services, should you need help with any of the above side effects associated with anabolic steroid usage please contact one of our consultants today.

    References / Scientific Studies / Further Reading

    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/anabolic-steroid-misuse/

    https://www.t-nation.com/living/anabolic-steroids-a-survey-of-2385-men

    https://muckrack.com/george-touliatos/articles

    https://www.gov.uk/penalties-drug-possession-dealing

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    Evidence Based Research

    This article has been researched and written based on scientific evidence and fact sheets that have then been crossed checked by our team of doctors and subject matter experts.

    References, sources and studies used alongside our own in-house research have been cited below, most of which contain external clickable links to reviewed scientific paper that contain date stamped evidence.

    Our team of healthcare experts and GMC registered doctors are licensed to UK GMC standards. We strive to provide you with the latest evidence based, researched articles that are unbiased, honest and provide you with accurate insights, statistics and helpful information on the discussed topic to ensure you gain a better understanding of the subject.

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    About the Author: Dr. George Touliatos

    Doctor Touliatos is the EU Medical Director for BMH. He is a physician who specialises in biopathology and is a former competitive bodybuilder and light heavy weight champion (2000, 2009, 2010, 2013). He is an expert in medical prevention and harm reduction regarding PEDs use in sports and HRT/TRT in men. He has contributed to the American Muscular Development magazine (2019), and extensively developed articles on anabolic.org and steriodabuse.org websites. He has his own weekly show on MD TV, known as ‘Ask Dr. Testosterone’, and has participated in several seminars across Greece and Cyprus, numerous TV and radio appearances, interviews in newspapers and websites, twice appearing in TRTrevolution.com.

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    Last update: February 16th, 2021

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