Steroids are often in the news for negative reasons, most typically when they involve a scandal about a professional athlete who uses them – including the recent example of the lengthy suspension handed down to baseball All-Star Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins.
Clearly, if an athlete is willing to put their reputation, health and future employment at risk, then there must be be benefits to using steroids as a means to gain a competitive edge. It’s important to note that the benefits do come with many short-term and long-term risks, however.
Steroids Increase Muscle Strength
Scientific studies, as well as the words of those who’ve used them, show that steroids definitely increase muscle strength. A 2007 study show that the form of testosterone know at enanthate increased bench press strength and cycling performance.
This research also demonstrated that increases were noted even in as little as three weeks, as opposed to previous research which showed that the effects were typically obtained in at least twice that amount of time – or more. Indeed, steroid use can increase muscle strength quickly.
Steroids Increase Body Size
There has been much research done that supports the claim that steroids increase body size. In 2009 study, the effects of enanthate on healthy weight-lifters were significanly increased body weight, increased bicep girth, and increased quadricep circumference.
It was also noted that it also contributed to tighter abdominal muscles. This study was noteworthy because other studies have shown that while steroids increase body size, they don’t necessarily have a fat-reducing effect.
Steroids Increase Healing Rate
Many athletes have used steroids to hasten the recovery process from injuries, and the effect of steroids on healing is also well-documented. Scandals involving well-known athletes such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens repeatedly mentioned how steroids sped up the healing process.
Moreover, a 2009 study showed that a synthetic derivative of testosterone known as oxandrolone was effective in treating people who’ve suffered severe burns and injuries.
Steroids Come With Increased Risk
While steroids come with many benefits, there are also a variety of risks associated with their use. A 2004 study noted the positive effects that performance-enhancing drugs have, but also noted negative issues such as an unwanted increase in libido, aggression and disfiguring acne and loss of hair.
Additionally, the hormonal milieu – which has been hypothesized as playing a role in a wide range of diseases – can be altered by steroids. Of greater concern the effects steroids can have on cardiac function.
Testosterone that has been derived from outside sources has been shown to increase a person’s resting blood pressure, while also decreasing good cholesterol in the blood. Steroids have also been shown to the heart’s structure and function.