Steroids have been around, in some fashion, since the 1930s, when scientists created a synthetic form of testosterone to help treat men who were unable to produce enough of the hormone for normal growth, development, and sexual functioning. In the Second World War, additional experimentation showed the value of artificial testosterone in helping malnourished soldiers gain weight and improve performance overall. It was not until the 1956 Olympics when Russian athletes showed the rest of the world exactly how much performance could be enhanced that American scientists were inspired to change the game. They created a more selective form of what we now know as anabolic steroids, and supermen ran rampant through the games until the Olympic Committee banned them in 1975.
Today, anabolic steroids are not available legally without a prescription. Doctors will usually only allow their use in cases such as delayed puberty and other medical conditions resulting from low testosterone levels. They may be taken topically as a gel or cream, injected into a muscle, or even orally as a pill.
Nevertheless, the “black market” for unprescribed anabolic steroids is huge. Men use them to grow musculature, lower body fat, and increase strength.
You should know that the black market steroids are typically 10 to 100 times higher in dose than what a doctor would usually prescribe for a medical problem. Of more concern is the common practice of “pyramiding,” in which the steroids are consumed in a cycle from no drug to a high dose over a period of weeks to months.
Anabolic steroids will grow your muscles, sure, but they've also been known to shrink your testicles, reduce your sperm count, raise your blood pressure, elevate your “bad” cholesterol, lower the “good,” cause a stroke, and disable your ability to father children. If those side effects aren't enough to dissuade you, the drugs have been known to cause irritability, rage, aggression, violence delusions, addiction, cancer and even male-pattern hair loss.
There is a legal “natural” line of “steroid supplements” that containcertain steroid hormones also made by the human body. These usually contain a compound abbreviated as DHEA, which can be converted into other steroid hormones – including testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol – in your body. Unfortunately, none of these supplements have been tested to the point that we even know for sure if they work. We do know, however, that if they are taken in large enough amounts, they share many of the side effects of the illegal steroids – sort of a “lose-lose” proposition.
Sources: Men's Health