What do anabolic steroids do and possible side effects from taking them
The short answer to the question, “what do anabolic steroids do” is that they help the body to grow and to add bulk – both bone and muscle. To fully understand the role that anabolic steroids play, it is first important to understand what they are.
- Anabolic steroids are the man-made version and variations of the naturally occurring male hormone testosterone. 
- Anabolic steroids affect the male sex traits such as a deeper voice, facial hair, and development of sperm.
- Anabolic steroids affect the body’s growth cycles and play a part in how and when we add muscle, bone, and other bulking characteristics.
- Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones
- Anabolic steroids can be prescribed as a medication to treat wasting diseases such as cancer.
Anabolic Steroids are a Large Family of Drugs
There many forms of anabolic steroids and each puts a different spin on what testosterone does. They include:
Anadrol – Adds bulk rather than causing you to drop fat
Anavar – Popular for both men and women as a milder form of a bulking agent.
Clenbuterol – often prescribed as an ingredient in broncho-inhalers it works as a cutter for rapid loss of stubborn fat.
Clomid – is an anabolic steroid that blocks estrogen which can help in the prevention of female characteristic development by men who take steroids for bulking and cutting.
Cytomel – A man-made version of triiodothyronine that is produced by the thyroid. This is an anabolic steroid that increases the available energy load and is used to help power workouts.
Deca Durabolin – Typically used for bulking but also stacked with other anabolic steroids as a cutter.
Dianabol – A bulking steroid that also helps the body produce energy for lifting more, powering longer workouts, and creating large, bulky muscles.
Winstrol – One of the most popular stacking anabolic steroids it is a prime ingredient in cutting routines.
The list goes on and includes many others. The unofficial list contains 24 different anabolic steroids. Each does something slightly different, and many are stacked together to obtain optimum effects. Most, if not all are illegal to possess without a prescription, but that does not prevent their use.
Anabolic Steroids as Bulking Agents
The human body uses testosterone as part of the hormonal and chemical recipe for repairing and adding muscles. Our body is smart, and when you lift 200 pounds or do 200 pushups the wear you put on your muscles causes damage – small tears. Your body repairs the damage, and when the same type of damage occurs, it replaces the torn muscle cell with one that is larger and stronger. It does this to prevent the repeated damage. Anabolic steroids that take advantage of this relationship help the body to repair and replace torn and damaged muscle cells quickly. Therefore, bodybuilders use bulking anabolic steroids. 
Anabolic Steroids as Cutters
Cutters help you lose body fat and help muscles look crisp and sharp. They are used to give bodybuilders a hard, chiseled look. Not all anabolic steroids help you lose body fat, but some, such as Winstrol have a reputation for doing just that. That reputation is not exactly a whole truth. Winstrol must be used with a low-fat diet and plenty of exercises for your body to begin to lose stubborn fat stores. It is not the Winstrol that makes you lose weight, it is the low-fat diet and exercise. Winstrol only makes the process easier. Some anabolic steroids help to prime the body’s natural fat-loss systems to work more efficiently. In that way, they help you lose fat, but otherwise, they are not fat burners.
Anabolic Steroids as Energy Producers
Some anabolic steroids help the body to produce more energy and as such can help a bodybuilder to exercise for longer periods or to lift more weight. Both are beneficial if you want to push past your natural endurance. Anabolic steroids are hormones, and they manipulate the way our body uses the ADP cycle.
Do Anabolic Steroids Damage the Body?
Anabolic steroids are powerful hormones, and misuse of them can lead to significant health problems and even death. In the brain, they can alter our mood and even our behavior making us depressed, violent, and even suicidal. There are terms within bodybuilding about the effects on behavior with the use of steroids – “Roid Rage” is just one example of an altered behavior where someone becomes easily angered and even violent.
Changes in appearance also occur, and even though people take anabolic steroids to change their appearance in what they think is a positive way, they can be surprised at the results. For example, a woman who takes anabolic steroids might find her voice becomes much deeper, and that hair begins to grow on her face and breasts. A man who takes anabolic steroids might begin to develop breasts or there are immediate health issues too such as overdose.
Even from a single-use, overdose can occur. Mistaking fast-acting insulin for long-acting insulin will likely land you in the ER if not the morgue. There is potential for liver and kidney damage and many anabolic steroids come with a long list of potential side effects including damage to your heart, increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and erectile dysfunction.
So, while many people take anabolic steroids to help them gain muscle and to look better, the risks involved are significant. There is also a lot of misinformation available on the internet which dismisses real warnings or misleads people into thinking that the risk associated with anabolic steroids is minimal. They are not. If you choose to use anabolic steroids outside of the guidance of your doctor, then do so by being fully informed about what the steroid does, how it affects your body, and what the risks are that is poses.
James passion is fitness and everything related to optimizing your health and wellness. He utilizes progressive overload and macro calculations and mental techniques like mind-muscle connection in his training. He shares his teachings as a senior coach.