Did you know that using steroids too much can lead to gynecomastia, also known as the enlargement of male breasts? The last thing you want to do when you’re trying to build muscle is grow breasts. But there are also more serious side effects associated with steroids that you should know about.
SARMs are an alternative to steroids that have been growing in popularity in recent years. But when it comes to SARMs vs steroids, is there really a difference? Is one better at building muscle than the other and is one more dangerous to your health?
Keep reading and learn more about the difference between SARMs and steroids down below.
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What Are Steroids?
To start off, we’ll discuss steroids, how they work, and what side effects they might cause, especially in the long term.
Steroids used for building muscle are known as anabolic steroids. These are different from other types of steroids, such as corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids are used to treat certain health conditions. On the other hand, anabolic steroids are mainly used to increase strength and muscle mass, although, on rare occasions, they may also treat certain health conditions. Anabolic steroids have dubious legality and are often illegal in competitive sports and bodybuilding.
Steroids aren’t like any other component in the body, not proteins, lipids, or anything else. Instead, steroids are unique because they come from testosterone, a male hormone in the body. Anabolic steroids are also known as anabolic-androgenic steroids or AASs.
The main reason why people use them (usually men) is to burn fat and build muscle. You might be wondering why people would use steroids when they could achieve their results through diet and exercise.
Many men find that dieting and exercising alone aren’t enough to get the results they’re looking for. Some men might spend hours at the gym and still have a bit of flab on their bodies that they don’t like.
More than that, dieting and exercising can take a long time before they start to produce any meaningful results. A big reason why people, especially bodybuilders, like to take steroids is that this drug is able to produce significant results in a short amount of time.
However, keep in mind that if something sounds too good to be true, it often is. That’s the case with steroids. People who take steroids, especially for a long time, often end up with far more problems than when they started out.
How Do Anabolic Steroids Work?
As mentioned before, anabolic steroids come from testosterone. What wasn’t mentioned before is that steroids are artificial versions of testosterone. Testosterone is one of the several androgenic hormones in the body.
It’s one of the most potent male hormones. It occurs naturally in the body and in high amounts in men. Women also have testosterone, but in much lower concentrations.
The difference in testosterone levels accounts for many of the physical differences between men and women. For example, during puberty, boys experience a lowering of the voice, increased strength, and the growth of facial and body hair. These results are all due to testosterone.
Testosterone is also important for building muscle. This is one of the most prominent reasons why most men have more muscle mass than women. Men who have conditions that keep their testosterone levels low often have weak muscles and are unable to grow facial hair.
When you take anabolic steroids, you’re essentially supplementing your body with male hormones. This is one of the reasons why it becomes so easy to build muscle once you start taking them. By supplementing your body with this androgen supplement, your body will start to increase its muscle mass and strength as a result.
In a way, using steroids is almost like going through a second puberty. Soon after using steroids, you’ll notice that you’ll have far less body fat and that your muscles will be bigger and stronger. You’ll also notice that it’ll be easier to build muscle and lose weight than ever before.
You shouldn’t be surprised if you see that you’re gaining weight on the scale because this weight will be mostly muscle. And keep in mind that muscle is heavier than fat.
The Side Effects of Steroids
So far, you might be thinking that steroids sound like the perfect thing you need to start building up your body. However, once you learn about some of the side effects it can cause, you might change your mind.
At the beginning of this article, you learned that steroid use can lead to the development of male breasts. This is one of the many side effects of steroids.
It happens because steroids can mess with the hormones in your body. When this happens, you’ll experience an increase in breast tissue, along with breast tenderness and discomfort.
Once you develop gynecomastia, the only real treatment to get rid of it would be surgery. Because steroids affect the hormones in the body, there are many more hormone-related side effects you could expect to experience. For example, hair loss is a common side effect of using steroids.
Hair loss and balding are both common in men who have higher levels of testosterone. Since steroids supplement your body with artificial testosterone, losing your hair wouldn’t be surprising. Acne is another common side effect.
As mentioned before, using steroids is almost like going through another puberty. Since your body’s hormones will be flying all over the place, people who use a lot of testosterone tend to end up with pimples. Those who have acne-prone skin or who had acne as teenagers may be more prone to developing acne while taking steroids.
Steroids can also cause organ damage. Liver damage is one of the most common forms of this since the liver is responsible for drug metabolism. However, steroids can also contribute to the development of heart disease.
Steroids may also end up causing the prostate to enlarge, leading to difficulty urinating. In some cases, prostate cancer may occur.
What Are SARMs?
Fewer and fewer people are using anabolic steroids because of all the dangerous side effects they can cause. But this leaves a gap in the bodybuilding community.
If you want to avoid the dangers of steroids, does that mean that you’ll have to struggle to build muscle the old-fashioned way? Not necessarily.
There’s a way you can build muscle almost as fast as you can when taking steroids, but without any of the side effects. The solution has to do with SARMs, also known as selective androgen receptor modulators.
SARMs are slowly becoming more popular because people are discovering their benefits in contrast to steroids. While SARMs and steroids are very similar and produce comparabel results, they work in different ways due to their unique chemical structures. For that reason, while steroids can cause a whole slew of side effects, SARMs don’t.
SARMs have a longer history than you might expect and they weren’t always as great as they are today. They came about in the 1940s as steroidal SARMs. The scientists back then were aiming to invent drugs that could treat cancer.
They found that instead of treating cancer, SARMs could cause a significant increase in muscle mass in a short time. Not only that, those who took steroidal SARMs were able to burn fat faster than usual. But since steroidal SARMs were, indeed, steroidal, they came with many of the side effects that steroids today still produce.
These side effects included liver damage and heart disease. As a result, SARMs became widely unavailable to the public. They only reemerged in the 1990s when a pharmaceutical company reinvented SARMs and made them into non-steroidal SARMs.
These are the SARMs that we use today and they’re safer than ever before.
How Do SARMs Work?
Before you get too excited and go out to buy SARMs, there are a few things you should know about how they work first. First, you’ll need to understand what are androgen receptors.
As mentioned before, an androgen is a male hormone, such as testosterone. While this isn’t a complete overview of androgen receptors, the important thing to keep in mind is that there are androgen receptors throughout our bodies. Specifically, you can find these androgen receptors on our skeletal muscles.
40% of the human body, by weight, is made of muscle, mostly skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscle is a type of voluntary muscle, meaning that we can move it at will. It’s the type of muscle that we break down in the gym so it can get bigger and stronger.
Skeletal muscle is covered in androgen receptors. For that reason, it isn’t surprising that men tend to have bulkier muscles while women have smaller, leaner muscles since women don’t have as many androgens to stimulate those receptors. Even though men have more androgen hormones, the hormones that they produce naturally often aren’t enough to obtain the huge muscles that many bodybuilders have.
For that reason, SARMs exist. SARMs are able to bind to these androgen receptors. When they do this, they can make it easier to build and strengthen muscles.
You might be wondering how SARMs differ from steroids since they both seem to be able to do this.
The trick that SARMs have is that while they target the receptors on skeletal muscle, they’re also able to avoid the receptors in other parts of the body, such as organs. Avoiding organ receptors is important because otherwise, SARMs would end up damaging the organs much in the same way as steroids.
The Safety of SARMs
You’ll find that if you ever buy SARMs, you won’t have to deal with the plethora of side effects as you would when taking steroids. That’s because SARMs don’t affect the body’s hormones as steroids can. Non-steroidal SARMs work so well because their chemical structures aren’t based on steroids as they once were.
Instead, their new and improved structure is based on proteins instead. This makes them much safer. You won’t have to worry about having mood swings as you would with steroids.
As mentioned before, SARMs can avoid the receptors on bodily organs. More than that, they also avoid the receptors on the prostate. This is important because steroids tend to create a lot of problems for this organ.
Most notably, steroids tend to enlarge the prostate. Since the ureter passes through it, this may create problems such as difficult or even painful urination. But the downsides don’t stop there.
Steroids may even increase the risk of prostate cancer. Since SARMs can’t target the prostate, you won’t have to worry about any of these problems. Not only are SARMs safer than steroids, but they’re safer than other bodybuilding alternatives as well, such as prohormones.
Prohormones can be toxic to the body much like steroids, but SARMs are quite the opposite. Instead, they seem to be filled with benefits. In addition to being able to increase muscle size and strength, SARMs are able to increase bone strength as well.
This is because SARMs reduce the rate of bone resorption. Since the body isn’t absorbing as much bone, the bone tissue can stick around and get stronger.
SARMs vs Steroids: Make the Better Choice
When it comes to SARMs vs steroids, you shouldn’t have any trouble deciding which one is better. Steroids can be dangerous and can cause problems such as liver damage and heart disease. On the other hand, SARMs can produce similar results as steroids but without any of the dangerous side effects.
To learn more, check out the health section on our website.
Alice Christina, a seasoned health writer, combines her passion for wellness with a strong foundation in evidence-based research. She crafts insightful content that empowers readers to make informed health decisions. Alice's expertise shines through her concise and reliable health articles.
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