We have all heard of athletes or bodybuilders using steroids to gain a competitive edge. But such steroids have serious physical and psychological side effects. The use of anabolic steroids is illegal and banned by medical associations as well as professional sports organizations. Despite the serious health consequences, some athletes experiment with steroids and they end up risking both their health and career.
So what’s the alternative? How can we reap the benefits offered by steroids and avoid the associated risks? This is where legal steroids enter the picture. Legal steroids, also known as multi-ingredient-pre-workout supplements (MIPS), offer benefits similar to that of steroids without such adverse side effects.
What Are Steroids?
Steroids are man-made versions of certain hormones in our bodies. There are two types of steroids. Corticosteroids function like the hormone cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. They are used for reducing inflammation and suppressing overactive immune responses. The second type is anabolic steroids which are the synthetic versions of the male sex hormone testosterone. It is used to build muscle mass and is often taken illegally by athletes or bodybuilders to improve their performance and physical appearance.
However, these can be legally prescribed for men by a physician only if less testosterone is produced in the body. It is also recommended by experts to build muscle mass for people suffering from AIDS, cancer and other debilitating diseases. Steroids tend to have undesirable side effects, especially when consumed for long durations. Even when they do prescribe steroids, doctors tend to give the lowest possible dose of steroids and only for a short duration to get the condition under control. Steroids that are not prescribed by the doctors are called illegal steroids.
What are Legal Steroids?
Illegal anabolic steroids may help build muscle mass quickly but cause side effects such as testosterone suppression, hair loss, liver and kidney problems. Legal steroid alternatives contain various formulas with natural ingredients such as Tribulus Terrestris that raise testosterone levels without such adverse side effects. You can also stack multiple legal steroids to boost your performance and endurance.
There are many brands of legal steroids in the market. While some of them do have scientifically proven health benefits, many others in the market may be harmful. Side effects of such supplements include cardiovascular and liver diseases, reproductive organ damage and severe mood swings.
Other than athletes or bodybuilders, people who benefit from using legal steroids are those who are suffering from testosterone deficiencies, delayed puberty, muscle wasting due to diseases like AIDS and cancer. It may be prescribed by doctors for women who are going through menopause and for people undertaking sex-change surgeries for a hormonal replacement that supports physical changes to the body.
How Do Legal Steroids Work?
Most legal steroids work by boosting testosterone levels which in turn help increase protein synthesis and muscle building. When bodybuilders or athletes perform their exercises, micro-tears occur in their muscle fibers. The body’s natural repair system kicks in and mends the tear. Your muscles become stronger and bigger as a result of this natural repair process.
When you take a legal steroid or a natural testosterone booster, the androgen receptors of the muscle cells absorb the steroid from the bloodstream. The steroid has the capability to interact with the DNA of the cells promoting protein synthesis which results in increased cell growth and muscle mass. Other ingredients in legal steroids, such as creatine, boost your energy output to increase endurance and promote performance.
Creatine in Legal Steroids
Creatine, found naturally in foods such as fish and meat, turns into creatine phosphate in our body. Creatine phosphate is required for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which, in turn, supplies the energy for muscle contractions.
Creatine is a common ingredient found in legal steroids to help the growth of muscle fibers and muscle mass. A 1999 study found that creatine helps in muscle functions and enhances performance and build fat-free muscle mass. It is best to consult a doctor before taking such supplements as an overdose outside the prescription limit is an abuse of these supplements and may result in undesirable consequences.
The Journal of the International Society Sports Nutrition published its review in 2007 on the benefits of creatine monohydrate. It stated that creatine is the most effective nutrition for physical training and building muscle mass. The supplement was found to be not only safe but also prevents muscle injury and certain medical conditions. Researchers observed no short or long term adverse side effects to its use.
Under proper supervision and guidance, creatine monohydrate can become a healthy and safe alternative to anabolic drugs. Creatine products are readily available as dietary supplements and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (USA).
The Bottom Line
The terms ‘legal steroid’ is a misnomer as these supplements are not steroids at all. Legal steroids are considered as natural alternatives to synthetic anabolic steroids. If you are serious about bodybuilding or your focus is simply on getting a healthier and stronger body, you don’t have to turn to risky and illegal steroids which have serious health consequences. You can choose from a variety of ‘legal’ brands that offer you benefits similar to that of anabolic steroids.
But the market is flooded with such multi-ingredient-pre-workout supplements and testosterone boosters that claim to boost your endurance and performance. Before purchasing, check the ingredients listed on the label to ensure they contain only natural ingredients and no synthetic hormones. But if the label claims that the product will offer visible results in a week’s time, it is probably a fake product. Legal steroids do not require a prescription and they can be ordered online easily.