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A Guide To Performance Enhancing Drugs

  • Thread starter MuscleMecca Crew
  • Start date
MuscleMecca Crew

MuscleMecca Crew

MuscleMecca Crew
May 11, 2012
Across all sports in the world, the topic of performance-enhancing drugs is an open secret, and nobody seems to be ready for that discussion.

Over the years, baseball players have been accused of using PEDs, and football players are regularly suspended for failing blood tests.

Recently, the death of bodybuilders has been on the increase. Most of them just drop dead on stage, in the pool, or in the gym. Upon their death, you'd find that their hearts are 3 times the size of a normal man's heart.

We refer to them as "normal drugs," but performance enhancement drugs are an enhancement of the chemicals we already have in our bodies.

PEDs increase these inherent chemicals, and sometimes they work, but the risks and adverse effects prove that the end doesn't always justify the means.

Most athletes are driven by determination and passion to be at the top of their games and emerge as champions, and so they think that they have to do "all it takes". Unfortunately, using PEDs to boost performance has serious adverse effects. This article will provide information about these PEDs, their health benefits, and their risks.

At the end of this guide, you'd be more informed about PEDs and you'll be able to make a more rational decision about the use of these drugs.

What are steroids?​

Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) is an artificial form of testosterone, which is the main sex hormone in males. Though it's most common in males, females also produce testosterone, but in littler proportion than men. This chemical affects the vital parts of the body, such as the liver, kidneys, bones, and reproductive and nervous systems.

The normal testosterone level in men starts at 300-1,000 ng/dL and for 15-70 ng/dL, so steroids use increases the level of this hormone and it can have serious adverse effects.

Now that you know the technical definition of what steroids are, let's see the use and benefits.

Uses and Benefits of AAS​

When you hear the word steroids, what comes to mind is that it is mostly used by bodybuilders to increase muscle mass, strength, and power output. While that's true, AAS is also used for diverse purposes. The major benefits of anabolic steroids include the following:

  • It increases the muscle tissue due to enhanced protein synthesis.
  • It helps to decrease body fat percentage.
  • Aids increased muscle strength and power.
  • Ensures enhanced recovery from workouts and injury.
  • Gives improved bone mineral density.
  • Room for better muscle endurance.
  • It increases red blood cell production.

These possible effects are beneficial to not only bodybuilders but other groups of individuals, including:

  • Athletes that want to increase their speed and power output​

Naturally, every athlete wants to emerge as a winner in their respective sports and this can be achieved by working and practicing extra hard. But some decide to go an extra mile by using performance-enhancing drugs. AAS has proven to increase muscle mass and increase speed and power output. Athletes using AAS are likely to experience increased strengths of 5-20% and weight gains of 2-5kg.

  • Strength athletes that want to increase muscle mass and strength​

Steroid use is not uncommon in strength sports like bodybuilding and powerlifting. AAS is used to boost muscle mass, power output, and strength. In bodybuilding, muscle mass, strength, and muscle size are all that matter and that explains the use of steroids. Bodybuilding federations do not have a particular objection to steroid use as they are more liberal about it. Also, some bodybuilders mix different types of AAS which may include growth hormones and insulin.

  • Those with muscle-wasting diseases​

Though this isn't common, AAS can be used by people suffering from muscle loss diseases like AIDS, and kidney and liver disease. AAS can be used on these people to improve their muscle mass. Although it may prove useful for this kind of disease, the risks involved should be put into proper consideration.

Risks and Side Effects of AAS​

The effects of AAS vary according to the intake of the substance. However, below are the major downside of anabolic steroids
  • Increased risk of heart disease:​

Anabolic steroid use coupled with hardcore exercises can cause a massive increase in the size of the left heart ventricle. It can also cause an increase in blood pressure and this may leave you vulnerable to heart disease and death.
  • Can cause aggressive behavior​

This is found commonly in males. Steroid use has been proven to cause an increased aggression rate in both teenage males and adults.
  • Can affect body image​

The use of anabolic steroids has already been classified as a body image disorder substance. And it quite evident in some bodybuilders with their monster size shapes and body
  • Can cause liver damage​

AAS can have a likely consequence on your liver. Especially when it is taken orally and in excess, it can cause your liver to function abnormally.
  • May cause gynecomastia​

This refers to excessive development of the male breast, usually the effect of hormonal imbalance. This can occur when you stop taking the anabolic steroids — which means you have to take them continually to maintain balance in your body.
  • Decreased production of testosterone​

Anabolic steroid use can be associated with hypogonadism; which results in deficient development of secondary sex characteristics— like the shrinking and decreased function of the testes.
  • Can cause infertility​

Since steroid use causes a reduction in the function and size of the testes, it reduces sperm production and consequently causes infertility.

Side Effects for Women​

AAS also affects women. Women should take note of the adverse effects of taking anabolic steroids.

  • It deepens their voice.
  • Experiencing facial changes and hair growth.
  • Enlarged clitoris.
  • Suffering from irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Extreme reduction in breast size.
  • Infertility.

What is Androstenedione​

Androstenedione (andro) is a naturally occurring steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands, ovaries, and testes. This hormone can be converted into testosterone and can serve as estrogen in both males and females.

You will find Andro in any legal medical establishment because it can be used based on prescription. However, the use of Andro as a performance-enhancing drug is not allowed in the United States and as such is considered illegal.

Moreover, manufacturers and bodybuilding magazines have stated that Andro doesn't in any way help athletes to engage in intensive training and recover faster. It's also backed up scientifically that Andro doesn't cause an increment in testosterone level and it doesn't make the muscle stronger in any way.

Side Effects of Androstenedione in Men​

  • Irritable acne.
  • Diminished sperm production.
  • Shrinking of the testicles.
  • Enlargement of the breasts {gynecomastia}.

Side Effects of Androstenedione in Women​

  • Severe acne.
  • Masculinization, such as deepening of the voice and male-pattern baldness.

P.S: The use of androstenedione in both males and females can cause damage to the heart and vital blood vessels. Consequently, the risk of heart attack and stroke in users.

What is Human Growth Hormone?​

Human growth hormone is a hormone that performs anabolic functions. Also, it serves as performance-enhancing drugs. Athletes take this drug to improve muscle mass and increase performance. However, there's no guarantee that this drug increases strength or improves endurance.

Human growth hormone is an approved drug and you can get a prescription for it and it's dispensed by injection. However, those that use it excessively have it through illegal means most of the time.

Side Effects of Human Growth Hormone​

The risk involved in the intake of human growth hormone varies among individuals and the rate of intake. However, the major risks involved with this drug include:
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fluid retention
  • Diabetes
  • Vision problems
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Impaired glucose regulation
  • Enlarged heart (cardiomegaly)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

What is Erythropoietin?​

Erythropoietin is a glycoprotein secreted by the kidneys that stimulate the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin. This hormone can be used in the treatment of anemia in people suffering from kidney diseases.

However, for athletes, the intake of erythropoietin causes a smooth flow of oxygen to the muscles. The artificial version of this chemical, Epoetin is mostly used by athletes that need more endurance, for example, cyclists.

Side Effects of Erythropoietin​

Excess use of this drug may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and blockage of the pulmonary artery in the lung. The use of this drug was used excessively in the 90s by cyclists and this resulted in the death of about 18 cyclists.

What are Diuretics?​

Diuretics are drugs that disrupt your body's original balance of fluids and salts, and this can consequently cause dehydration. This lack of water in the body can cause a massive decrease in an athlete's weight and that is the main reason why they take it, to reduce weight. Also, diuretics assist athletes to escape being caught for drug use because it reduces the concentration of the urine. This drug is often referred to as the " masking" agent.

Side Effects of Diuretics​

Whether the drug is used as prescribed by medical personnel or it's used of one's own volition, users are still exposed to the adverse effects which include:

  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Potassium deficiency
  • Drop-in blood pressure
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Death

Performance Enhancing Drugs

On a Final Note;​

Naturally, every sportsman wants to have a competitive edge over other competitors, however, is the use of performance-enhancing drugs worth the risks involved?

The risks involved in the intake of these drugs are sometimes fatal and no matter your perspective on performance-enhancing drugs, the risks involved remain the same and don't change to accommodate any user's excesses.

Also, most sports federations show great displeasure in the use of PEDs because of the risks involved and their negative effects on health.


Well-known member
Sep 24, 2017
Thank you for this article. It is very informative.