Muscle Fiber Types

Home > Steroids in sports, fitness and exercise

Steroid Research Introduction
Steroid Research Aims

Steroid Benefits

Steroids and Muscle Development
Steroids Promote Endurance
Steroids and Recovery
Steroids and Fat Metabolism

Steroid Consequences

Steroids Cardiovascular System
Steroids and Lipoproteins
Steroids and Reproduction
Steroids and Hepatic Effects
Steroids and Psychology
Steroid Adverse Effects


Steroid in Sports Fitness and Exercise

Steroids should only be taken under close supervision of a doctor. The information provided here should not be taken as medical advice.

The information in this section is the product of a research dissertation Sports and Exercise Science undertaken by Ross Forsyth at The University of Aberdeen. Published by permission.

Androgenic-Anabolic steroids (AAS) are used throughout the sporting world to enhance performance and provide a ‘cutting edge’ over competitors. They are banned by all sporting bodies because of their ergogenic properties and harmful side effects.

Many misconceptions surround the use of AAS. Reported benefits and consequences are largely unsubstantiated with little scientific evidence. This review aimed to analyse the current available evidence and decide wither the benefits really are worth the consequences when athletes take AAS.

Increases in strength and lean body mass are proven to occur with supraphysiologic doses of AAS. This is extenuated when taken in conjunction with an intense resistance programme. Athletes requiring good strength and increased mass may benefit from this. Female athletes on AAS may have benefited in the past but improved performance has still not been attenuated to AAS use.  No gains in aerobic endurance and no reduction in fat can be attributed to AAS.

The male reproductive system is negatively affected. Fertility can be lowered during periods of AAS use. Testicular atrophy may also occur. This is due to AAS the suppressing the hypo-thalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Reduction in HDL-cholesterol and increases in LDL-cholesterol happen when on AAS. This provides a cardiovascular risk to users. Furthermore left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy may also occur. This could be an underlying cause of sudden deaths attributed to AAS, although further evidence is required. AAS may also negatively affect the herpetic system. Raises in the both alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels in the blood appear to happen during periods of AAS use. AAS may also affect behaviour with aggression and hostility appearing more prevalent in users. Athletes could become more competitive but may see negative consequences in their personal lives.

Athletes will see benefits in strength and increases in muscle mass. However they will also suffer physiological draw backs. These side-effects may not negatively affect an athlete’s performance but can put their health at risk. Much ambiguity remains regarding some of the further consequences that have been attributed to AAS but not yet proven.  Athletes taking AAS should be made aware of the risks.

End of Steroids in sports, fitness and exercise