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.