Anabolic steroids are a synthetic version of testosterone and are taken to build muscle and improve athletic performance. Unfortunately, anabolic steroids are extremely dangerous. They have been linked to infertility, testicle shrinkage, low sperm count, and baldness in men as well as facial hair growth, deepened voice levels, enlarged clitoris, and irregular menstrual cycles in women. Excessive use leads to harmful side effects including hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, liver tumors, enlarged heart, heart attacks, and kidney disease. Anabolic steroids are banned by all major sports organizations and are considered controlled substances in numerous countries. There are, however, alternatives to anabolic steroids for performance enhancement.
Several commercial steroid alternatives are available on the market today. Some of the most common are: Andro-Shock, a supplement designed to boost natural testosterone levels; Ecdy-Bolin, an ecdysterone supplement designed to increase lean muscle tissue while reducing body fat; Nitrobol, a high protein supplement that increases amino acids; and Pumped Extreme, creatine to enhance muscle strength and energy.
Protein supplements have been shown to increase muscle mass with some of the least side effects. Eggs, soy, and dairy products all contain protein, but supplements carry it in much higher quantities. Whey protein supplements are the most common. Protein supplements work by encouraging the creation of amino acids which leads to the building of muscle tissue. Muscles also recover quicker after an intense workout when given an influx of protein. Protein supplements are not dangerous as long as dosing recommendations are followed.
Zinc supplements also show positive results in muscle development. Zinc supplements are typically found in tablet or capsule form, as opposed to the powder forms available for protein supplements. Extreme amounts of zinc can lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, but taken in proper doses, the mineral performs great benefits. Zinc can strengthen the immune system, helping fight infection and disease. It can also boost testosterone levels and increase muscle growth.
Mono-saturated fats boost testosterone levels and can be found in vegetable oils, seeds, and nuts. Mono-saturated fats are considered a “healthy” fat. These fats can help promote weight loss and lower bad cholesterol levels. They should, however, be consumed in moderation. Mono-saturated fats should never make up more than 30% of a person’s total caloric intake.
There are still many questions surrounding the safeness of alternatives to anabolic steroids. Always consult with a physician before starting any supplemental program.