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Does steroids increase muscle mass?

People claim that legal steroids are harmful and can essentially ruin your life. On the other hand, there are also people that oppose this argument regarding steroids and state that they are not dangerous and can increase muscle gain if used responsibly.

The discussion about the use or misuse of steroids is a never-ending one especially if people base their arguments on mere anecdotes rather than scientifically proven facts and statistics.

If you are among the uncertain lot trying to figure out the effects, or lack thereof the information about steroids, then you should continue reading this article.

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What are Steroids?

Anabolic-androgenic steroids, more commonly known as steroids are essentially testosterone derivatives that are synthesized.

Note: Before going into the details, it is important to know that the testosterone is the hormone in the human body that causes male characteristics such as facial hair, male genitals, etc to grow. Testosterone is also the cause of the increase in bone or muscle mass.

Steroids are synthesized in such a way as to provide the enhanced anabolic (increased bone and muscle mass) effect in the body with minute androgenic effect (facial hair, etc.).

Steroids increase the capability of muscle cells to produce the protein which consequently increases muscle size and strength (with a proper workout plan). Steroids also help the body in producing Adenosine triphosphate, generally referred to as ATP, which provides energy for muscle mobility.

Ways of Ingestion

Different kinds of steroids are either consumed orally (in the form of pills) or injected in the upper surface of the buttocks.

Some athletes are known to inject steroids in some regions of the body to confine muscle gain in that particular area. This practice is harmful and damages the area of injection.

The practice of taking steroids after regular intervals such as six weeks or 12 weeks is referred to as “cycling”. On the other hand, when people take different steroids (orally or otherwise) simultaneously it is called “stacking”. People claim that stacking enhances the effects of the steroids and can subsequently increase muscle mass.

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Does it work?

Before addressing the “side-effects” of steroids, let us first study the “desirable effects” of taking steroids.

There is a limit to the amount of muscle you can gain without the use of steroids. The muscle growth obtained by the use of steroids, as it will be clear with the subsequent research, significantly surpasses that gained through a workout without steroids.

At Maastricht University, researchers found that within a 10 weeks duration, subjects gained a muscle growth of 4-11 pounds (on average) by doing resistance training and taking normal amounts of steroids. What makes this finding astonishing is the fact that, scientifically, one can only gain a maximum of 25 pounds in the first year of weightlifting (without steroids). It means that by using steroids, you could accomplish in a couple of months what would typically take a year.

Another interesting finding is from research conducted at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, which confirmed that people who used steroids without training gained more muscle than those who did training without taking steroids.

So next time if you encounter someone that claims that one can reach the level of Arnold Schwarzenegger without the use of steroids, ask them to read these statistics!

The Dark Side

Before dictating the bad news, it is important to say that taking steroids is not as harmful as its enemies portray it to be, however, taking steroids and thinking it is all good is not far from the lies either. Just like in the case of most things, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

According to scientific claims, the effects of steroids can be either permanent or temporary.

Following are some of the effects that can be reversed by abstaining from steroids:

  • Acne, oily hair/skin
  • High blood pressure and aggression
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels
  • Testicular atrophy
    Some effects that are known to be permanent are mentioned below:
  • Baldness
  • Heart dysfunction
  • Breast development
  • Liver disease

Apart from this, researchers claim that the use of steroids can make a person addictive to its use. The addiction can either be psychological or biological.

The Verdict

People who think that they can use legal steroids to increase muscle gain and be risk-free are living a false dream, it is true that one can significantly reduce its side-effects with smart usage.

Yes, steroids increase muscle mass and do so considerably, but there are some side-effects to it as well. So, after a careful study of the gains and the possible losses, the choice is yours.

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