Friday, October 24, 2014

Steroids and Injecting Anabolics: The Highs, Lows and Woes

Anabolic steroids are drug versions of the male hormone testosterone. Like most drugs, steroids can be taken by mouth or delivered by intramuscular injection. Tablets are a convenient way of taking medications: You simply pop them into your mouth and swallow. Injectable drugs, on the other hand, are a little less convenient, as they require a needle, a syringe and a sharp pinch.

The side effects are similar for both tablet and injectable versions of steroids. Generally speaking, the health risks are predominantly dose-related'the bigger the dose, the greater the risk. But tablets and injections differ slightly when it comes to complications. Tablets are potentially more harmful to the liver. Any drug that is absorbed from the gut passes through the liver before it's distributed elsewhere in the body. And when taken in large amounts by mouth, some drugs cause liver damage. Examples include an acute overdose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or long-term alcohol excess. Anabolic-steroid tablets can also upset liver function when taken in large doses, so many steroid users choose injectable forms of the drugs to minimize toxic effects on the liver. Injectable versions are placed into muscle and released directly into the bloodstream, without passing through the liver first. That means larger doses can be injected without making the liver take a big hit. There's a trade-off, however. Although the liver is partly spared drug toxicity, injections are not risk-free.

Injection Problems

Sticking a needle into your body is not without risk'particularly if the person giving the injection hasn't been trained in the procedure. The common side effects of poor injection technique are as follows:

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Scar-tissue buildup
  • Nerve injury
  • Infection or abscess
  • HIV or hepatitis (from needle sharing)

Injection problems are unrelated to the type of drug inside the syringe. They are purely the result of the needle stick. It doesn't matter whether the syringe contains a steroid, growth hormone, insulin or synthol.

Intramuscular injection inflicts two forms of pain. The first is that sharp pinch as the needle penetrates the skin. The second is a deeper discomfort, as the injection pushes the muscle fibers apart, creating a pocket of fluid. The larger the volume of fluid, the greater the pain. Bigger muscles like the gluteals, or buttocks, and thighs can comfortably accommodate two to three milliliters of fluid. With smaller muscles like the shoulders one milliliter is about the limit. The fluid disappears as the drug gets absorbed, but the site remains slightly damaged and inflamed from the needle stick for a while longer. The degree of pain and how long the drug sits there depend on the type and brand of drug. For example, many steroid users report that injecting the drug Sustenon is like getting kicked in the butt by a horse. This long-acting, oil-based steroid sits in the muscle for several days, and the pain in the butt can last up to a week. If you inject into the same site within the space of a few days, you can double the amount of fluid, double the damage and double the pain. Water-based injectables like Winstrol are usually quicker-acting'they're more quickly absorbed and usually inflict less pain than the oil-based drugs.

Needle size also influences the amount of pain. Larger-diameter needles cause more damage than narrower ones. Needle diameter (in millimeters) is called the gauge. The larger the gauge, the finer the needle in thickness. Obviously, finer needles cause less tissue damage. The narrower the needle, however, the more difficult it is to push the fluid through, and the viscosity of oil-based steroids is simply too thick to pass through tiny needles. It's like a large pit bull trying to squeeze through a tiny cat door. And the small particles in some steroid suspensions, like Winstrol, can lodge in the barrel of small-diameter needles. As a rule of thumb, oil-based steroids can be injected with a 22-gauge (0.7 mm) needle, and the less viscous, water-based steroids can be delivered through 23- or 25-gauge needles. To improve comfort and safety with regular injections, it's better to use the smallest needle possible.

The length of the needle is also important. You need a 1 1/2-inch needle to deliver a deep intramuscular injection into larger muscles like the buttocks, whereas a shorter 5/8-inch or half-inch needle can be used to inject smaller muscles. If you sink a two-inch needle into a smaller muscle, you're likely to hit an underlying nerve or blood vessel.

Every time a needle pierces muscle, a small amount of bleeding inevitably occurs. Under normal circumstances that's not a problem. But if the needle hits a blood vessel, the blood loss into the surrounding tissue can cause an unsightly (and painful) bruise, or hematoma. An injection-site bruise doesn't usually require treatment, but it will take a week or so to resolve. Bruising can be minimized by applying direct pressure on the injection site with a cotton swab or facial tissue. Keep pressing for a minute or two until you're sure the bleeding has stopped. Remember that a trained health-care worker draws back on the syringe before injecting. A back-flow of blood into the syringe indicates that the needle is in a blood vessel. Injecting an oil-based steroid directly into the bloodstream is hazardous, so the needle should be re-sited into muscle tissue before pushing the plunger.

Scar tissue.
An injection needle actually damages muscle. As it plunges inside, it inflicts a tiny hole that heals by forming a scar. A small slither of scar tissue from one injection is no big deal; however, repeated needle sticks eventually create a large area of scarring. And subsequent injections into the hard scarification become more difficult and painful. It's like trying to stick a needle through the sole of a leather shoe'you'll need a hammer to get that needle in your butt. What many bodybuilders don't realize is that scar tissue is not normal muscle tissue'it doesn't contract. It just sits there in the muscle like a golf ball.

Site injection with the oil implant synthol'a practice I call 'spot welding'also creates scar tissue. The muscle tissue becomes inflamed, eventually forming a bump of scar tissue that resembles a tumor. The spot weld doesn't contract: It's false, a fake bulge, the kind you see on a padded bra.

So how can you minimize scar tissue buildup? You've got to reduce the number of injections in the same area. Give your poor butt a rest. There are several ways to achieve this: Stop injecting (duh!), cut back on injectable drugs, or rotate injection sites. Employing an injection-site rotation means using a different site each time you inject, thereby avoiding injecting into the same area for at least a week or two. To illustrate that point, let's say that you require regular intramuscular injections for a legitimate medical reason. The qualified technician would select a different injection site each time.

For example: injection

  1. right buttock; injection 
  2. left buttock; injection 
  3. right thigh; injection 
  4. left thigh; injection 
  5. right buttock again; and so on. 

Get the idea?

Nerve damage.
Be warned that injecting into other muscle sites is not as risk free as it may seem. Over the years I've treated a number of bodybuilders with injection-related complications. It's scary how bodybuilders play their own version of Russian roulette with steroid injections, blindly stabbing different bodyparts without knowing the location of nerves and blood vessels. Most muscles are intimately adjacent to nerves, blood vessels and other important anatomical structures. For instance, the radial nerve lies immediately under the triceps horseshoe, the sciatic nerve under the lower portion of your glutes and the quadriceps teardrop directly over the lining of the knee joint. If your misplaced needle hits an artery or vein, the extra blood loss creates a good-sized bruise. Strike a nerve with your needle, and it feels like an electric shock. The damaged nerve can result in loss of feeling and muscle weakness.

So what are the safe injection sites? Unfortunately, an in-depth anatomy lesson is beyond the scope of this article, but medical texts will tell you that the three commonly used safe sites for administering intramuscular injections are as follows:

  • the upper outer quadrant of the gluteal (buttocks) muscle
  • the outer aspect of the mid-to-upper thigh
  • the outer portion of the deltoid (shoulder) muscle.

Another possible side effect of poor injection technique is infection. That usually results from accidental contamination of a needle. All injections should be given using a sterile technique in a clean environment, without contaminating the end of the needle. The locker room of your local gym doesn't qualify as a sterile area.

Cleansing the skin with an alcohol swab can help reduce the risk of infection. If the needle does get dirty after it's removed from the sterile packaging, then there's a risk of introducing a bacterial infection under your skin. That can develop into an abscess filled with pus, which usually needs to be lanced or surgically removed. Fake or counterfeit steroids that have not undergone proper sterilization can also increase the risk of bacterial infection.

How can you tell when an injection site is infected? Well, the area is painful, swollen, red and warm to the touch. As the days pass, an infection gradually gets worse rather than better. In contrast, the pain and redness from a noninfected injection-site irritation resolves within a few days. If you don't get treatment for an infected injection site, the infection can spread, causing you to feel generally unwell, with a fever. If you reach that stage, you need to see a doctor right away.

Hepatitis and HIV.
A more serious complication arises from sharing needles. That hazardous practice risks the transmission of HIV (AIDS) and hepatitis B or C. During the 1980s there were a few reported cases of HIV infection in bodybuilders sharing needles, but let's hope no one is crazy enough to share these toys nowadays.

If everybody jumped off a cliff, would you? Or would you stop for a moment and look before you leaped, considering the consequences of your actions, rather than regret your decision when it's too late? Self-administering anabolic steroids is illegal, and so is the unlawful possession of needles and syringes. If you don't have some form of medical training, administering intramuscular injections can be risky, so please make safe, sensible decisions. If you do run into any problems, seek the advice of a medical doctor immediately.

Friday, October 17, 2014

What to eat when using Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids have a ‘building’ effect on the body. They increase synthesis of cellular and sub-cellular structures and are responsible for the increase of overall muscle mass. Steroids have widespread use and indications; they also have powerful adverse effects on almost all systems of the body and should therefore be administered carefully and if possible, locally. Systemic steroid administration is a critical thing and should be done very carefully and only after prescription of a doctor. Systemic administration is either through antral route (oral) or parentral route (intramuscular).

Protein-rich diet
Steroids increase synthesis of proteins in the body. The overall result is increase in muscle mass and this lean body mass increasing effect of the steroids is the reason athletes all over the world use it so frequently. Increase in muscle mass is naturally accompanied by the increase in muscle strength. This is also the reason of steroid administration in people with debilitating diseases like AIDS or chronic hepatitis.

This is only possible if sufficient raw material is present. The raw materials required for protein synthesis are amino acids. These amino acids are acquired from the daily diet. Animal proteins are similar to human proteins. These proteins after consumption are broken down into their component parts. These component parts are then used for building human proteins. It is necessary to eat all sorts of meat including mutton, beef and chicken to stay healthy. Other sources of animal protein include eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.

Other types of amino acids can also be obtained from pulses but plant proteins are not as beneficial as the animal proteins. Their amino acid content differs remarkably. However, for complete protein diet, both types of amino acids are required.

Eat sufficient Cholesterol
Steroid hormones have a cholesterol nucleus in their structure. This means cholesterol is necessary for the synthesis of steroid hormones in the body. When on the steroid hormone therapy, it is important to take cholesterol rich diet so that the hormone synthesis within the body also boosts up. Substances rich in cholesterol include egg yolk and dry fruits like cashews, pistachios, and almonds.

Too much cholesterol is however, not recommended. This is because if blood cholesterol is very high, it starts depositing in blood vessels. This might cause arterial occlusion and can be even more harmful if the rough surface of cholesterol plaque activates coagulation system of the body. The resulting blood clot will decrease the diameter of the blood vessel even more and may even dislodge and form embolus in the arteries of the brain or lungs.

Consumption of Complex Carbohydrates
Consumption of complex carbs is important. Fiber adds bulk to your food and prevents constipation. By adding bulk, it also prevents over-eating. Consumption of simple sugars depends upon the condition of the patient. If steroid production in the body is less, simple sugars are recommended. Simple sugars increase insulin levels in the blood, which in turn boosts estrogen production. These carbohydrates are however, contra-indicated in people undergoing steroid cycle management to control the excess amounts of steroid hormones being produced in the body.

Caloric requirement with steroid therapy
Caloric requirements increase when on steroid therapy. This is because insulin levels in the body increase and these increased levels decrease the blood sugar making the person feel hungry. Instead of eating abundantly three times a day, eat small infrequent meals. Splitting your daily food into six and seven small meals is helpful and results in a much better utilization of the energy reserves of the body.

Foods rich in Potassium
Steroids cause blood potassium levels to deplete. Potassium is a very important cation. It is necessary for maintaining resting membrane potential and so prevents muscles from contracting or the nerves from firing impulses in the absence of sufficient stimulation. It is better to incorporate potassium rich foods in your daily diet like apricot, peaches, dates, and milk. Low potassium levels can cause abnormalities pumping of the heart. This can lead to arrhythmias in severe conditions and may even prove fatal.

Foods which neutralize HCL
Steroids can also be taken orally. A number of harmful effects like candidiasis accompanies oral intake of steroids . Candidiasis is oral thrush caused by yeast of normal flora called Candida albicantes, which are normally non-pathogenic, but manifests as oral or vaginal thrust or skin wounds. When the immunity of the patient is compromised, steroids blunt the rapidity and intensity of the immune response and therefore make the person prone to innumerable infections.

Moreover, steroids irritate the gastric mucosa. Due to this, HCL secretion increases and mucous lining of the stomach becomes prone to damage. It is best to eat foods like yogurt and milk, which neutralizes stomach acid and protects the epithelium from corrosion.

It is best to avoid foods that can further harm the GIT mucosa, including:

  • Spicy foods
  • Fruits rich in citric acid like oranges, lemons
  • Fizzy drinks and alcohol
  • Coffee and tea. Caffeine and theophylline present in coffee and tea respectively, stimulate gastric glands and thus increase production of gastric acid.

Do not take non-selective COX inhibitors or COX-1 inhibitors. These are drugs like aspirin. By inhibiting COX (or cyclooxygenase enzyme), they block the synthesis of protective prostaglandins which maintain the integrity of the gastric mucosa. In the absence of these prostaglandins, the mucosa becomes prone to damage by acidity.

Go for less salty items

Steroids alter the homeostasis of the body that results in salt and water retention and potential edema may be seen at sites where skin is loose such as on ankles, scrotum and eyelids. This can be controlled and prevented from being aggravated if low-salt diet is used. Avoid adding salt to curry or any other meal you consume. This has additional importance for hypertensive individuals as salt raises blood pressure. This increase in blood pressure is also due to the retention of water caused by increased salt intake. Avoid cheese, salted nuts, peanut butter and sausages as these contain a lot of salt in them.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Anabolic Steroid Side Effects

Anabolic steroids are effective in enhancing athletic performance. The trade off, however, is the occurrence of adverse side effects which can jeopardize health. Since anabolic steroids have effects on several organ systems, a myriad of side effects can be found. In general, the orally administered anabolic steroids have more adverse effects than parenterally administered anabolic steroids. In addition, the type of AS is not only important for the advantageous effects, but also for the adverse effects. Especially the AS containing a 17-alkyl group have potentially more adverse affects, in particular to the liver. One of the problems with athletes, in particular strength athletes and bodybuilders, is the use of oral and parenteral anabolic steroids at the same time ("stacking"), and in dosages which may be several (up to 40 times) the recommended therapeutical dosage. The frequency and severity of side effects is quite variable. It depends on several factors such as type of drug, dosage, duration of use and the individual sensitivity and response.

Liver Function

Anabolic steroids may exert a profound adverse effect on the liver. This is particularly true for orally administered anabolic steroids. The parenterally administered anabolic steroids seem to have less serious effects on the liver. Testosterone cypionate, Testosterone enanthate and other injectable anabolic steroids seem to have little adverse effects on the liver. However, lesions of the liver have been reported after parenteral nortestosterone administration, and also occasionally after injection of testosterone esters. The influence of anabolic steroids on liver function has been studied extensively. The majority of the studies involve hospitalized patients who are treated for prolonged periods for various diseases, such as anemia, renal insufficiency, impotence, and dysfunction of the pituitary gland. In clinical trials, treatment with anabolic steroids resulted in a decreased hepatic excretory function. In addition, intra hepatic cholestasis, reflected by itch and jaundice, and hepatic peliosis were observed. Hepatic peliosis is a hemorrhagic cystic degeneration of the liver, which may lead to fibrosis and portal hypertension. Rupture of a cyst may lead to fatal bleeding.

Benign (adenoma's) and malign tumors (hepatocellular carcinoma) have been reported. There are rather strong indications that tumors of the liver are caused when the anabolic steroids contain a 17-alpha-alkyl group. Usually, the tumors are benign adenoma's, that reverse after stopping with steroid administration. However, there are some indications that administration of anabolic steroids in athletes may lead to hepatic carcinoma. Often these abnormalities remain asymptomatic, since peliosis hepatis and liver tumors do not always result in abnormalities in the blood variables that are generally used to measure liver function.

Anabolic steroids use is often associated with an increase in plasma activity of liver enzymes such as aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (AP), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT). These enzymes are present in hepatocytes in relatively high concentrations, and an increase in plasma levels of these enzymes reflect hepatocellular damage or at least increased permeability of the hepatocellular membrane.

In longitudinal studies of athletes treated with anabolic steroids, contradictory results were obtained on the plasma activity of liver enzymes (AST, AST, LDH, GGT, AP). In some studies, enzymes were increased, whereas in others no changes were found. When increases were found, the values were moderately increased and normalized within weeks after abstinence. There are some suggestions that the occurrence of hepatic enzyme leakage, is partly determined by the pre-treatment condition of the liver. Therefore, individuals with abnormal liver function appear to be at risk.

Anabolic Steroids and the Male Reproductive System

Anabolic steroids are derivatives of testosterone, which has strong genitotropic effects. For this reason, it will not be surprising that side effects include the reproductive system. Application of anabolic steroids leads to supra-physiological concentrations of testosterone or testosterone derivatives. Via the feed back loop, the production and release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulation hormone (FSH) is decreased.

Prolonged use of anabolic steroids in relatively high doses will lead to hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism, with decreased serum concentrations of LH, FSH, and testosterone.

There are strong indications that the duration, dosage, and chemical structure of the anabolic steroids are important for the serum concentrations of gonadotropins. A moderate decrease of gonadotropin secretion causes atrophy of the testes, as well as a decrease of sperm cell production. Oligo, azoospermia and an increased number of abnormal sperm cells have been reported in athletes using AS, resulting in a decreased fertility. After stopping anabolic steroids use, the gonadal functions will restore within some months. There are indications, however, that it may take several months.

In bodybuilding, where usually high dosages are uses, after stopping steroid use, often choriogonadotropins are administered to stimulate testicular function. The effectiveness of this therapy is unknown.

The various studies suggest that using more than one type of anabolic steroid at the same time ("stacking") causes a stronger inhibition of the gonadal functions than using one single anabolic steroid. After abstention from anabolic steroids these changes in fertility usually reverse within some months. However, several cases of have been reported in which the situation of hypogonadism lasted for more than 12 weeks.

A well known side effect of anabolic steroids in males is breast formation (gynecomastia). Gynecomastia is caused by increased levels of circulating estrogens, which are typical female sex hormones. The estrogens estradiol and estrone are formed in males by peripheral aromatization and conversion of anabolic steroids. The increased levels of circulation estrogens in males stimulate breast growth. In general, gynecomastia is irreversible.

Anabolic steroids may affect sexual desire. Although few investigations on this issue have been published, it appears that during anabolic steroids use sexual desire is increased, although the frequency of erectile dysfunction is increased. This may seem contradictory, but sexual appetite is androgen dependent, while erectile function is not. Since sexual desire and aggressiveness are increased during anabolic steroids use, the risk of getting involved in sexual assault may be increased.

Anabolic Steroids and the Female Reproductive System

In the normal female body small amounts of testosterone are produced, and as in males, artificially increasing levels by administration of anabolic steroids will affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. An increase in circulating androgens will inhibit the production and release of LH and FSH, resulting in a decline in serum levels of LH, FSH, estrogens and progesterone. This may result in inhibition of follicle formation, ovulation, and irregularities of the menstrual cycle. The irregularities of the menstrual cycle are characterized by a prolongation of the follicular phase, shortening of the luteal phase or amenorrhea. Although these changes are generally more pronounced in younger women, large inter-individual responsiveness to anabolic steroids exists. The effects of anabolic steroids dosages as generally used in sport, on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in females are hardly studied.

Other side effects of anabolic steroid use in females are increased sexual desire and hypertrophy of the clitoris. The few systematic studies that have been conducted suggest that the effects are similar to the effects in patients, treated with anabolic steroids.

Anabolic steroid use by pregnant women may lead to pseudohermaphroditism or to growth retardation of the female fetus. Anabolic steroid use may even lead to fetal death. However, these side effects have not been studied systematically. It is likely that the severity of the side effects is related to the dosage, duration of use and the type of the drug.

Additional side effects of anabolic steroids specifically in women are acne, hair loss, withdrawal of the frontal hair line, male pattern boldness, lowering of the voice, increased facial hair growth, and breast atrophy. The lowering of the voice, decreased breast size, clitoris hypertrophy and hair loss are generally irreversible. Females using anabolic steroids may develop masculine facial traits, male muscularity, and coarsening of the skin.

When anabolic steroids are administered in growing children side effects include virilization, gynecomastia, and premature closure of the epiphysis, resulting in cessation of longitudinal growth.

Serum Lipoproteins and the Cardiovascular System

Anabolic steroids also affect the cardiovascular system and the serum lipid profile. Relatively few studies have been done to investigate the effect of anabolic steroids on the cardiovascular system. No longitudinal studies have been conducted on the effect of anabolic steroids on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Most of the investigations have been focused on risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, and in particular the effect of anabolic steroids on blood pressure and on plasma lipoproteins. In most cross-sectional studies serum cholesterol and triglycerides between drug-free users and non-users is not different. However, during anabolic steroid use total cholesterol tends to increase, while HDL-cholesterol demonstrates a marked decline, well below the normal range. Serum LDL-cholesterol shows a variable response: a slight increase or no change. The response of total cholesterol seems to be influenced by the type of training that is done by the athlete. When a great deal of the exercise consists of aerobic exercise, the increasing effect of anabolic steroids is counterbalanced by an exercise-induced increasing effect, which may result in a net decline in total cholesterol. Aerobic training does not seem to be able to offset the steroid-induced decline in HDL-cholesterol and its subfractions HDL-2, and HDL-3.

The precise effect of anabolic steroids on LDL-cholesterol is unknown yet. It appears that anabolic steroids influence hepatic triglyceride lipase (HTL) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL). Males usually have higher levels of HTL, while females have higher LPL activity. HTL is primarily responsible for the clearance of HDL-cholesterol, while LPL takes care of cellular uptake of free fatty acids and glycerol. Androgens and anabolic steroids stimulate HTL, presumably resulting in decreased serum levels of HDL-cholesterol.

The effect of anabolic steroids on triglycerides is not well known. It is suggested that relatively low doses do not affect the serum triglyceride levels, while it cannot be excluded that higher doses elicit an increase.

No unanimity exists about the influence of anabolic steroids on arterial blood pressure. The response is most probably dose dependent. There is some data suggesting that high doses increase diastolic blood pressure, whereas low doses fail to have a significant effect on diastolic blood pressure. Increases in diastolic blood pressure normalize within 6-8 weeks after abstinence from anabolic steroids. It appears that repeated intermittent use of anabolic steroids does not affect diastolic blood pressure during drug free periods.

There is evidence that the use of anabolic steroids does elicit structural changes in the heart and that the ischemic tolerance is decreased after steroid use. Echocardiographic studies in bodybuilders, using anabolic steroids, reported a mild hypertrophy of the left ventricle, with a decreased diastolic relaxation, resulting in a decreased diastolic filling. Some investigators have associated cardiomyopathy, myocardial infarction, and cerebro-vascular accidents with abuse of anabolic steroids. However, a possible causal relationship could not been proved, because longitudinal studies that are necessary to prove such a relationship, have not been conducted yet. There is convincing evidence that oral administration of anabolic steroids has stronger adverse effects on the mentioned variables than parenteral administration.

Although the effects of anabolic steroids have an unfavorable influence on the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, no data are available about the long term effects. Most of the mentioned effects appear to reverse within 6-8 weeks after abstention. It is unknown, however, whether the structural changes as reported in the heart, are reversible as well.

Psychological Effects

Administration of anabolic steroids may affect behavior. Increased testosterone levels in the blood are associated with masculine behavior, aggressiveness and increased sexual desire. Increased aggressiveness may be beneficial for athletic training, but may also lead to overt violence outside the gym or the track. There are reports of violent, criminal behavior in individuals taking anabolic steroids. Other side effects of anabolic steroids are euphoria, confusion, sleeping disorders, pathological anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations.

Anabolic steroid users may become dependent on the drug, with symptoms of withdrawal after cessation of drug use. The withdrawal symptoms consist of aggressive and violent behavior, mental depression with suicidal behavior, mood changes, and in some cases acute psychosis. At present it is unknown which individuals are particularly at risk. It is likely that great individual differences in responsiveness may exist. Some individuals try to minimize the withdrawal affects by administration of human choriogonadotropins (hCG), in order to enhance endogenous testosterone production. However, it is unknown in how far the hCG administration is successful in ameliorating the withdrawal effects.

Additional Side Effects

In addition to the mentioned side effects several others have been reported. In both males and females acne are frequently reported, as well as hypertrophy of sebaceous glands, increased tallow excretion, hair loss, and alopecia. There is some evidence that anabolic steroid abuse may affect the immune system, leading to a decreased effectiveness of the defense system. Steroid use decreases the glucose tolerance, while there is an increase in insulin resistance. These changes mimic Type II diabetes. These changes seem to be reversible after abstention from the drugs.

There are some case reports suggesting a causal relationship between anabolic steroid use and the occurrence of Wilms tumor, and prostatic carcinoma. In the literature also sleep apnea has been reported, which has been associated with AS-induced increased in hematocrit, leading to blood stasis and thrombosis.

AS use may affect thyroid function. Administration of anabolic steroids has been found to decrease thyroid stimulation hormone (TSH), and the products of the thyroid gland. In addition, thyroid binding globulin (TBG). These changes reversed within weeks after discontinuation of anabolic steroids use.

A serious consequence of anabolic steroids use may be the multiple drug abuse. On the one hand athletes use different kinds of drugs in an attempt to counterbalance the side effects: hCG, thyroid hormones, anti-estrogens, anti-depressants. On the other hand people try to support the anabolic effects of anabolic steroids by using additional anabolic hormones as for instance: different types of anabolic steroids at the same time, growth hormone, insulin, erythropoietine, and clenbuterol. Because most of this takes place outside the official medical circuit, it is likely that these practices may lead to serious conditions.

Friday, September 26, 2014

T3 and the Modern Athlete

So you've decided to use T3 to help you shed fat now that you've read up on it and gotten past the nay sayers who expound the ills of shutting down your body’s own production of natural thyroid. Wonderful, T3 when used correctly can be a great addition to any diet and cardio plan. Read that again boys and girls, IN ADDITION TO ANY DIET AND CARDIO PLAN!!! If you've turned to T3 because you think it's a magic pill that will allow you to eat like crap and still lose weight you've been listening to the wrong advice. Can you lose weight/fat while using T3 and still eating junk food, unfortunately yes to a degree. I say unfortunately because this fact often leads people to do just that, it starts with a cheat meal that turns to a cheat day, which eventually has the athlete eating whatever and whenever they want and still they lose some weight. So what's wrong with this if the eventual out come, weight loss that is, is reached? The first problem is the weight you are losing may not be fat if your eating like crap, the second is what happens when you stop the T3 cycle and your metabolism is suppressed temporarily, if you were eating sloppy during the T3 usage your most likely to keep following that pattern and the combination of a slow metabolism combined with sloppy eating results in rebound weight gain. So in the end what have you really accomplished outside of being able to eat what you want with out getting any fatter for a month or so? And that's if you’re lucky and the rebound weight gain doesn't push you past your starting weight!!!

Now that I have your attention and you know what NOT to do, let's concentrate on what TO do. Just like any other chemical we find in our arsenal, T3 can and is used in a variety of ways when it comes to dosage and length of cycle, both for cutting and bulking. This article will deal with cutting use only. There are some who prefer to "hit it hard" and go high dosage with a quick taper down at the end losing a great amount of weight in a short time, but this way tends to eat as much muscle as fat in my experience and you end up looking basically the same as when you began, except that you weigh less and are smaller. There are those who like to use the same dosage throughout the cycle with no taper up or down figuring if your metabolism is going to be sluggish anyhow why waste the days using it at a low dosage when you could be burning more fat on those days. Then there are those who slowly taper up, maintain the highest dosage for a set time and then slowly taper down. It's the last group I'll concentrate on here, as this is the system that has shown it's best overall results with those I've worked with.

Let's start with the dosage, T3 is a very individual drug, when it comes to dosage I've seen guys use as high as 250-300mcg/day and others as low as 25mcg/day where both athletes lost fat and reached their goals. As a rule I start everyone (and for now I'm dealing with men I'll pen an article on women’s usage in the future) at 25mcg/day. I usually base the time of the cycle on their individual weight loss goals, if it's a smaller amount I'll go 3 weeks tops, if it's a lot of weight to lose we'll go 4, 5 and sometimes 6 weeks. I generally don’t go over 6 weeks with anyone, as T3 tends to stop working in most people after that amount of time. I’d rather they run 4 weeks cycles with 2 weeks off where they use an ECA stack or Clen during the break to continue to lose fat, then run another 4 week cycle. So the 1st 3 days in this cycle would be 25mcg/day, then the 2nd 3-day period is 50mcg/day, etc. The typical 21-day cycle will look like this:

Days 1-3.................. 25mcg/day
Days 4-6...................50mcg/day
Days 7-9...................75mcg/day
Days 10-12................100mcg/day
Days 13-15................75mcg/day
Days 16-18................50mcg/day
Days 19-21................25mcg/day

As you can see the dosage is increased by 25mcg/day every 4th day until the maximum dosage is reached for the subject, in this case 100mcg/day, then lowered the by the same 25mcg/day increments every 4th day until the end of the cycle. Given that most of the people I've worked with have tried everything else and are still considerably overweight when they start, the full 4-week cycle is often used instead of the 21-day cycle. The one I've used lately with the most success is as follow, remember the jumps are still 25mcg/day but this time you increase/decrease the dosage every 4 days:

Days 1-4...................25mcg/day
Days 5-8...................50 "
Days 9-12.................75 "
Days 13-16...............100 "
Days 17-20...............75 "
Days 21-24...............50 "
Days 25-28...............25 "

Note: You could also do the 3-day increase/decrease and hold the maximum dosage of 100mcg/day for days 10-19, but some find 100mcg/day makes them too uncomfortably warm and they sweat too much, especially during the warmer months.

There you have it, simple yet effective. If you remember to supplement your diet with plenty of protein (which every lifter should anyhow), eat a clean calorie controlled diet, drink 1-2 gallons of water per day and to take a mild steroid cycle to minimize muscle loss you should be able to see rapid fat loss with this cycle. I should also mention that some people like to stack T3 with Clenbuterol for even better results. Good luck and may you all reach your cutting goals!!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Myths and Dangers of Anabolic Steroid Usage

There are a lot of misconceptions about what steroids are, how steroids work, and why steroids are dangerous. If you are curious about the subject of steroids, let's eliminate certain misconceptions that surround these drugs. I have never experimented with steroids and do not endorse their usage but this unbiased and researched report is intended to provide you with objective information of what these drugs are and what they can and cannot do.

What are Anabolic Steroids?

Anabolic steroids are a synthetic copy of the hormone testosterone. They have been the subject of much debate over the last few decades as well as misinformation. Athletes, especially bodybuilders, may feel lured towards them as these drugs do increase muscle size, strength, and stamina.

Taking Any Kind of Steroid Will Result In Death

The first thing that we need to understand is that steroids are drugs. Even Tylenol and Aspirin can cause serious problems if you take them in large quantities. All drugs when misused and abused haveOn the issue of variety, there are many different types of steroid out there. There are injectable steroids and oral steroids. The injectable kind are generally more androgenic (provide male characteristics like hair growth and aggression) in nature and less damaging to organs like the liver. The oral versions are more anabolic in nature and cause more side effects than their injectable brothers as they have to be processed by the liver. Different steroids have different properties so there are some that have more tendencies to build muscle mass while others have a tendency to increase strength. As their properties vary, so do their side effects. Usually the stronger the steroid (especially if oral), the more side effects you can expect.

The Good Side of Steroids

On the issue of variety, there are many different types of steroid out there. There are injectable steroids and oral steroids. The injectable kind are generally more androgenic (provide male characteristics like hair growth and aggression) in nature and less damaging to organs like the liver. The oral versions are more anabolic in nature and cause more side effects than their injectable brothers as they have to be processed by the liver. Different steroids have different properties so there are some that have more tendencies to build muscle mass while others have a tendency to increase strength. As their properties vary, so do their side effects. Usually the stronger the steroid (especially if oral), the more side effects you can expect.

Based on the fact that steroids give you all of these good effects that bodybuilders constantly look for, it is no surprise that they cause a psychological dependence. Think about it. If you have been taking them for the past 8 weeks, assuming good diet and training, chances are that you got very big and strong quick. You feel unstoppable after the 8 weeks of use. Suddenly you taper them off, up until you completely stop their use. A week later after cessation of use you notice that you are not getting good pumps, that your strength is diminishing regardless of your best effort and that your muscle mass is shrinking! Add to that the fact that for the first few weeks after cessation of use you will feel depressed due to low testosterone levels and it is no wonder that there are people out there that never get off from them.

The Psychological Effects of Steroids

Based on the fact that steroids give you all of these good effects that bodybuilders constantly look for, it is no surprise that they cause a psychological dependence. Think about it. If you have been taking them for the past 8 weeks, assuming good diet and training, chances are that you got very big and strong quick. You feel unstoppable after the 8 weeks of use. Suddenly you taper them off, up until you completely stop their use. A week later after cessation of use you notice that you are not getting good pumps, that your strength is diminishing regardless of your best effort and that your muscle mass is shrinking! Add to that the fact that for the first few weeks after cessation of use you will feel depressed due to low testosterone levels and it is no wonder that there are people out there that never get off from them

Depression Effects of Steroids

Due to the post cycle low period of testosterone along with the fact that your estrogen levels will rise, depression at this time will be very real. In order to minimize this, you would need to get with a doctor and jump on many post cycle drugs that will re-establish your natural testosterone production along with supressing your estrogen levels. If you have an understanding doctor that is willing to help, he may prescribe you with the medications you need. However, chances are that your medical insurance will not cover these drugs due to the fact that the condition was caused due to illegal steroid use. If you do not get these medications, then expect a very bad depression and total loss of gains.

If you do not know what you are doing (i.e. you used steroids with the most side effects, you abused the dosage, etc) then not only will you get bad side effects during the period of use, but you also will also get worst side effects after the use. Again, the degree of side effects is directly proportional to the dosage and type of the steroid and also dependent of the genetic propensity of the subject to get such side effects. Therefore, it would be impossible for me or anyone else to exactly predict what kind of side effects a user might encounter during a period of use. However, one thing is for certain. If you abused the drugs by using super high dosages and for very long periods of time, you may never be able to re-establish natural testosterone production, so you will then need to get with an endocrinologist and possibly stay on low dose testosterone therapy for life.

Steroid Users Risk:

  1. Increased Liver Function.
  2. Depression of Natural Testosterone Production.
  3. Increase in Cholesterol Levels and Blood Pressure (Not conductive to good cardiovascular health).
  4. Altered Thyroid Function. 
  5. Headeches.
  6. Nose bleeds.
  7. Cramps.
  8. Development of breastlike tissue in men (Gynecomastia).
  9. Insulin Insensitivity (Even though Deca Durabolin improves the insulin metabolism). 
  10. Androgenic Side effects such as thinning hair, enlarged prostate, oily skin, water retention, increased body hair, aggressiveness. 
  11. Stunted growth if you are a teenager.
  12. Oral Steroid specific side effects: In addition to the above, the orals also tend to cause nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting.
  13. May accelerate the growth of tumors. 

Again, keep in mind that different steroids offer different side effects and that everything is dosage dependent, so the list above is a generalized list of side effects.

I am not even going to go into the kind of side effects that females encounter when they decide to use these drugs, especially the androgenic ones like testosterone. That could be a whole article by itself, but I think that most people could imagine what happens when you start introducing abnormal amounts of hormones from the opposite sex into your body.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Winter Bulk Cycle with Oral Anabolic Steroid for Added Mass Gains.

Bulking is an art. An art that takes a ton of effort to be successful at. Especially when you are a seasoned juicer who has already put on some mass. If you have not gained at least 20 pounds over the weight you were at before coming over to the dark side, you just have not been juicing effectively and you will be very happy with the information that follows. If you have put on a good deal of size, you will still find useful information in the following paragraphs, but for now, we will not discuss usage of other non-anbolic steroid bulking drugs such as insulin. We will get to that soon though. Keep reading!

The catch with bulking drugs is that you have to accept not being so pretty if you are to really put on some size. Water and a little fat weight have to come with adding considerable size unless you are a genetic abnormality. The most potent drugs for bulking involve the heavy androgenic drugs which also cause large amounts of water retention. All the testosterone esters, anadrol, dianabol, and deca or equipoise when combined with any of the former make for a good bulking team.

One thing you want to take into consideration with here is the mechanism by which each drugs works. Anabolic steroids are either known to have a high affinity for the androgen receptor, and thereby cause growth through this mechanism, or they have effects on growth outside the receptor. For max benefit you want to combine drugs that work by different mechanisms. All orals will work by different mechanism purely on the fact that they are ingested and not injected. The way you get a drug into your body is called the route of administration. When an oral drug is taken it must eventually pass its way through the liver. The first time it does this a few hours after you ingest the oral is the popular term, "first pass". This is just code for the first time the liver has a chance to break down the oral drug. This site of metabolism is also where the functionality of oral anabolic steroids come into play.

The 17 alkylation of oral anabolics is what makes the drug able to pass the liver and not be fully degraded. Otherwise you would be able to drink testosterone and it would work fine. We all know this is not the case. The hydrochloric acid in the stomach would destroy the testosterone molecule way before the liver even gets a chance to metabilize it. This is why the oral test "methyltestosterone" came into existence. Although it is not a very effective drug, it is highly toxic. Methyltestosterone is a prototype oral. It has the most basic of structures added to testosterone to enable its hepatic(liver) survival. They simply added a CH3 or "methyl" group to the 17th postiion on th molecule (you've most likely seen it, it is the thatched roof part of the steroid structure). The reason why I mention this is that the toxicity of orals due to their chemical make-up is not all bad. When a 17 orally alkylated drug passes by the liver, it forces the liver to kick out a little extra IGF-I each time. IGF-I is the most potent anabolic substance in the body. It is through IGF-I modulation that the use of growth hormone exerts its muscle building effects.

The moral of the story:
Regular old testosterone is one of the best bulking drugs there is. As long as you are not super sensitive to estrogenic side effects, this should be your staple for mass building. Novices usually use around 500mg a week of a long acting ester. More advanced bodybuilders use upwards of 1000mg a week. The best way to do this is to find yourself some cheap multi-dose vials of a long acting test like enanthate. But I'm not "telling you to do this", ummm...this is for information purposes only...ok...hypothetically...If you use a shorter acting ester like propionate, it will be much more painful to administer and you will definitley not administer this amount. Prop at 100mg eod is more the norm for novices, 100-200mg daily for advanced. Prop usually comes 100mg/cc, two cc's in one shot of prop hurts!! You will definitely experience some welting if you try this. I do not recommend it. You will either be limping or rubbing your shoulder almost daily. This is miserable. Long acting esters like sustanon, enanthate, cypionate, etc. do not cause this extrem discomfort. Please keep this in mind.

Okay, so we have an oral, either Dianabol or Anadrol, with an injectible testosterone, and now you need a even blood level anabolic like deca or equipoise. Either one will suffice. Remember though, as we've said before, combining aromatizing drugs such as anadrol testosterone esters with progestagenic drugs such as anadrol is very risky for all but those who are not susceptible to gyno. So be careful. Even if you have used androgenic drugs such as test before with no chest soreness, be careful. If you decide to do this, you will want at least one estrogen on hand for precautionary reasons.

Assuming all is well, and you choose to take this aggressive technique, you will need at least a 2mg/lb of bodyweight per week of the injectible anabolic. You could technically use primo or winstrol as well for a little less overall bloat. The dosage patterns will be different with these drugs if used for this purpose and we will talk about this in the future. For now lets assume either Deca Durabolin or Equipose. Deca Durabolin at 300-400mg/week is often used by novices, 600-800mg for advanced. In all the athletes I have known, I have not seen a reason to go above 500mg when combining Deca Durabolin or Equipose with both an oral and a testosterone ester. This dose should be more than enough to get you gaining and keep your joints from aching while you push all that heavy iron (we will get into joint/ligament/tendon properties of anabolics soon).

Friday, September 5, 2014

Clomid by Dragon Pharma

Clomid 50mg by Dragon Pharma is an oral preparation containing 50mg of the substance Clomiphene Citrate.

Clomid, as it is most often called, is one of the most popular PCT drugs today, and is a staple of most bodybuilder's protocol. Clomid is typically prescribed for women to aid in ovulation. In men, the application of Clomid causes an elevation of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. As a result, natural testosterone production is also increased. This effect is obviously beneficial to the athlete, especially at the conclusion of a cycle when endogenous testosterone levels are subnormal. Clomid will gradually raise testosterone levels over its period of intake.

Clomid is typically prescribed for women to aid in ovulation. In men, the application of Clomid causes an elevation of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. As a result, natural testosterone production is also increased. This effect is obviously beneficial to the athlete, especially at the conclusion of a cycle when endogenous testosterone levels are subnormal. Clomid will gradually raise testosterone levels over its period of intake.

Clomid is also effective as an anti-estrogen. With the intake of Clomid, the athlete gets the dual effect of blocking out some of the effects of estrogen, while also increasing endogenous testosterone production.

Users often take the drug in a dosage of 100-150mgs a day for 4-6 weeks following the end of a cycle. Users often add substances such as HCG and proviron to make their PCT plan even more sound and effective.