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Types of performance enhancing steroids

Among the most popular performance enhancing steroids are anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, erythropoietin (EPO), beta-blockers, stimulants and diuretics to name just a few. While drugs such as these get a lot of publicity, they are perhaps not well understood. What do they do? What are the health risks in the short or long term?

Anabolic steroids

Anabolic steroids are drugs derived from testosterone, a hormone which is produced in the testes of males and, to a much lesser extent, in the ovaries of females. Testosterone is partially responsible for the developmental changes that occur during puberty and adolescence and is also involved in controlling the build-up and breakdown of the main biochemical components of all tissues, including muscle. There are two types of anabolic androgenic steroids: Exogenous steroids are synthetically created versions of the testosterone hormone. These substances cannot be naturally produced by the body. Endogenous steroids are naturally occurring substances in the human body that are involved with the metabolic pathways of testosterone. Because testosterone affects muscle growth, raising its levels in the blood can help athletes increase muscle size and strength. Anabolic steroids can be taken in tablet form or injected directly in to the muscle. Some of the most common types of anabolic steroids include:
  • stanozolol
  • nandrolone
  • boldenone
  • trenbolone
  • androstenedione
  • tetrahydrogestrinone (referred to as THG or The Clear).
Athletes who use anabolic steroids claim that as well as increasing muscle mass, they reduce body fat and recovery time after injury. But the androgenic (masculinising) side-effects—such as increased body hair and a deepening of the voice—are not always desirable, particularly in women. To counteract these side-effects, scientists developed steroids that retain their anabolic effects but have a lower androgenic effect.