The term steroid refers to a group of chemical substances that have almost the same structure. There are three types of steroids that are very well known to most people. These are:
a) These are the hydrocortisone-like drugs. They are medically referred to as corticosteroids. These drugs are mostly ingredients in both prescription & non-prescription preparations including ointments and crГЁmes that are used to manage itching and rashes. This set of steroids is not thought to be addictive to the user. Examples include Lanacort and Cortaid.
b) We have the female hormones that are known medically as progestogens and estrogens. These steroids are responsible for the development of female sexual secondary characteristics and for the maintenance of the reproductive system. The hormones that have been named above are the main ingredients in birth control prescription pills. They are not thought to be addictive either.
c) The male sex hormones are referred to as androgens. Testosterone is an androgen that is responsible for maintaining the male reproductive system as well as the development of male sex characteristics. Testosterone drugs have been recently shown to have properties that make them liable for addiction and abuse. These are the drugs that are called anabolic steroids.
All the steroids that have been listed above are only different because of a slight structural variation. Under certain conditions the body is able to alter one type of steroid into another steroid altogether.
The term anabolic refers to a substance that is capable of promoting the build up of muscle mass and tissue or promotion of nitrogen accumulation in the muscles. The direct opposite of anabolism is the process of catabolism. This is the act of breaking down of worn out cells and tissues and then replacing these with new tissues and cells. A normal body is able to carry out both catabolism and anabolism within a balanced framework.
This is a very complex situation that sees the continual replacement of both tissue and muscle yet there is no alteration in the body mass. The rigorous weight training workouts are thought to be anabolic because they result in the addition of muscle mass. Similarly a protein diet is also thought to be anabolic though this has not been fully proven.
Anabolic steroids contribute to the growth of muscle mass under certain determined conditions. The body’s natural steroid is the hormone testosterone. The high level of this hormone in the male body is the reason why men have bigger and stronger muscles as compared to ladies.
It was once thought that there was a difference between androgenic and anabolic steroids. Chemists once thought that it was feasible to create new steroid types that could help grow muscle tissue without resulting in side effects. It is for this reason that the terms androgenic and anabolic steroids are used. Later it was discovered that anabolic and androgenic results were the outcome of the action of the same drug on different tissue types. It is now known that a steroid that builds up muscle mass is also responsible for the masculinizing effects.
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