Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Understanding steroids

In most cases, when anabolic steroids are discussed amongst the general public, they are under the impression that steroids will automatically make one extremely strong and muscular. When the subject is bought up, people will think of ‘roid rage’, heart-attacks and bodybuilders.

Reality is, the masses are misinformed and share the same stigma as the media and government. Let’s talk about what a steroid is and how they function in scientific depth.

Firstly there are two types of steroids, anabolic and corticosteroids.

Corticosteroids are prescribed by doctors, with its function being to control and eliminate inflammation within the immune system. They do not assist in building muscle mass in any shape or form.

Conversely, the term anabolic steroids is not very ambiguous. They are man-made derivatives of testosterone, a male sex hormone, which is a compound used to build muscle. Testosterone is legal with a doctors prescription and is used by thousands of men around the world.

Testosterone assists with delayed youth puberty and other health conditions which would contribute to muscle loss such as cancer and AIDS. Who would have thought steroids were good for something?

Knives can be used to severely hurt or kill a human being yet they are able to cut food with relative ease. Does that mean knives are bad and should be made illegal because they can be inappropriately used despite all of the necessary usage of one on a daily basis?

The same could be said for steroids.

Due to how effective and powerful this synthetic compound is, within the last 50 years, testosterone and its derivatives it has been misused and abused. Some professional athletes have admitted to using 100 times the legally prescribed dose.

We can all agree that steroids are very powerful and if they were not effective, little to no people would use them. Like any other drug, anabolic steroids do have devastating side effects when used incorrectly. Let’s look at a common side effect.

Liver damage is always associated with illicit substances and drugs. The liver is the body’s filter, breaking down toxins with a multitude of enzymes before the toxins can reach your bloodstream. As we would expect, when a steroid is taken, liver enzymes will increase in order to break down the compound.

The liver breaks down anything that passes through it, so does that mean that the liver will get damaged every time it filters something?  Of course not! Its function is to break down toxins, so how will it be affected if it’s doing its job?

In saying that, the liver is not invincible and will eventually break down.

By no means am I suggesting that taking drugs is good for you. The purpose for a drug is to alter a particular part of the body which is the intention. However, drugs also affect non-targeted areas in our body.

All drugs are made up of chemical components which are damaging to our cells, which supports the fact that tissue damage is resultant when a compound enters our bloodstream.steroids3


One comment on “Understanding steroids

  1. ssq1996
    May 8, 2016

    Great look at the other side of a topic that is usually approached very narrow-mindedly. Introducing the legal medical benefits of steroids is a perfect way to reconstruct the stigma around anabolic steroids.

    Although the article is mainly about steroid education and is titled “understanding steroids” I would have loved to take a look at understanding why people put their body at risk even with the side effects made so prevalent in today’s society. Im not suggesting completely sidetracking your connotation but just a brief look would be suffice.The National Institute on Drug abuse ( provides much detail on the mentality behind substance abuse and possibly little snippets of information from this sit could have been included.

    Overall my understanding of the steroid itself has broadened which makes this a fantastic blog post.


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This entry was posted on May 7, 2016 by in Burwood - Friday 2pm and tagged , , .

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