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Performance-enhancing drugs.

Performance-enhancing drugs.

Performance-enhancing drugs.

So, the basic question which may arise from people who are unaware of the meaning of the title would be about what are steroids and from where do they originate? Is it safe to use steroids and performance-enhancing drugs? If not, are they legal? And if they are not, why do people use them?

This article will cover the morality and the legal aspect of steroid usage and its consequences and many of the repercussions too. I will leave it to the reader thereafter that, if possible, would they ever opt to take steroids or not as it is a matter of personal opinion and this article covers mine.

WHAT ARE STEROIDS?


I will make it easy for you, steroids are generally chemical compounds and substances which are man-made, and some are produced in the body itself. The steroid which is in my knowledge the human body produces is Testosterone which is in more quantity in males as compared to females. Testosterone is one such compound that aids the body to lose fat and gain muscle and also improves strength levels to a certain extent.

One of the very first anabolic steroids was formed in 1935, in Germany as a solution to low testosterone levels. There are medical steroids too which do not carry the same amount of risk as to the type of steroids this article will talk about. I am going to talk about steroids used in bodybuilding and athletics.

IS USAGE OF STEROIDS LEGAL?


This answer is a little complicated, in India, it is actually illegal to use anabolic steroids without a medical prescription. Although each and every professional bodybuilder is on steroids it is not legal in India to use them without a prescription. The usage of steroids is also illegal in our own country, India but can be used after a written medical prescription. Bodybuilding is on a huge rise in our country, do you really think each and every bodybuilder will be able to get an appropriate prescription? If you think so I am going to clear the air a lot of these bodybuilders do not regulate their usage legally. Even in the sport of mixed martial arts, a lot of the fighters have been caught juicing on “gear” before or after fights.

WHAT DO STEROIDS DO TO YOUR BODY?


Generally speaking, using anabolic steroids like Danabol, Turinabol, and Stanozolol improves the overall body composition of a human being. Taking anabolic steroids enhances the metabolism of the body and increases the overall protein synthesis of the human body. You must have noticed your gym friend taking a high protein diet accompanied by a big jar of whey protein? 

Let me tell you, even I take whey protein because it is a natural substance and is derived from milk. Well, not all of the protein I put into my body gets absorbed as I am a natural gym-goer. My rate of absorption of protein could be around 8-10 grams per hour and that is kind of slow provided that I need at least 1-1.5 grams of protein on every kg of my bodyweight. That means I need to have more than 100 grams of protein in my diet. Well, taking steroids does increase the ability of the body to use protein to build muscle and some say it does not really help in better absorption, but it surely helps to utilize it better than a natural athlete. 

There are performance-enhancing drugs like EPO which increase the ability of the red blood cells to absorb more oxygen and increase hemoglobin levels, thereby increasing the overall endurance of the human body and stamina. UFC fighter TJ Dillashaw was caught red-handed after he tested positive for EPO after his title fight with bantamweight champion and one of my favorite fighters Henry Cejudo. He was given a 2-year ban from competing by the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency). 

Even the famous cricketer Andre Russell was banned from playing for a certain period of time as he tested positive for a Performance-Enhancing Drug. Steroids can also cause water retention in the body which may give a bulky look and a muscular look to the user. For that people then use certain diuretics to take out water from the body and then give them a shredded look. Steroids also improve the overall strength of a person. I watched a YouTube video of an influencer named Tarun Gill who stated that he was using an ECA stack along with Stanozolol which fuelled him for his workouts.

NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF STEROIDS?


Steroids, when not taken under supervision are substances that can ruin your life. I am going to write the following negatives of steroids as pointers-

  1. Severe acne may even bleed a lot and cause intolerable pain.
  2. Hair loss because of the use of SARMs (excessive usage, SARMs are not steroids but do have anabolic properties.).
  3. Cardiovascular problems.
  4. Severe cases of Gynecomastia (unusual chest fat around the nipples).
  5. A severe spike in blood sugar levels may cause illnesses.
  6. A drastic decrease in testosterone levels after going off-cycle.
  7. May cause a decrease in sex drive.

In my personal opinion, the cons of steroid usage outweigh the pros. Steroid addiction is a very real thing, once a person sees a drastic change in his body and gets muscular and athletic, may continue taking them before realizing how much it damages the heart, liver, and the overall hormonal balance of the body. Several bodybuilders have died due to the usage of steroids, a famous example is Rich Piana who was open about his steroid usage and ended up succumbing to his unhealthy steroid usage. It was observed by doctors that his heart and liver had increased to twice the size of an average human heart. 

One recent example is Mr. Olympia, In 2018, Shawn Rhoden died of a massive heart attack. I suppose his usage must have killed him. I have even watched an interview of a boy who started his steroid cycle at 17, got severe bleeding acne, and had such low testosterone levels that his testosterone report was similar to an old man’s testosterone levels. It damaged his mental health so much that he even failed a class.

IN CONCLUSION, IS IT ETHICAL?


The usage of steroids is a very subjective matter. It is totally a personal decision to hop on a cycle or go off-cycle. In the sport of bodybuilding, you have to get on the juice because there is no chance that any person can build the number of muscles pro-bodybuilders do. I can name a few steroids like Trenbolone, GH, Aquaviron, etc which bodybuilders generally use. They use it to give themselves a larger-than-life look on the stage and to get that stage physique steroids are necessary. And everyone standing on the competition stage is juiced to the gills.

As a first-year learner, I am not 100% knowledgeable about morals and ethics but I believe that the profession of bodybuilding requires the use of steroids and I think from a bodybuilding standpoint and how much the industry has grown, it puts morals into a grey area. Whereas in athletics it is completely unethical to use steroids as the organizations which regulate sports like boxing, MMA has put a ban on steroids as it obviously gives an edge over other athletes and sanctions ban on people who use them in competition. We all know how Lance Armstrong, a famous former cyclist fell from grace after his own steroid bust. In bodybuilding, it is illegal but the whole industry practically runs on the juice because, without it, it won’t bring money to the sport.

It is banned just on paper but everybody uses it in pro bodybuilding and there is no such regulation too. The athletics industry does not practically run on roids, that is the difference. After reading this article, I leave it up to you whether steroid usage is ethical or not.

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