What are anabolic steroids ?

Technically called anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs)Trusted Source, steroids are a type of artificial testosterone. They can be taken as a supplement to replace or add to your body’s natural levels of testosterone.

Testosterone (T) is a hormone typically associated with the male body. The average male has about 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) of this hormone in their body.

Testosterone is most known for causing changes to the male body during puberty, making the voice deeper and the body hairier. It also increases sperm production in the testicles.

The female body also produces TTrusted Source. But it’s usually found in smaller amounts, where it’s used to keep bones strong and sexual function healthy.

And having testosterone levels that are higher than normal, such as through use of steroids, can help create proteins that are used to support:

  • muscle growth
  • hair growth
  • sexual functions
  • bone density

That’s why steroids are associated with athletes like bodybuilders. It’s thought that the more anabolic steroids you take, the more potential for strength and muscle growth you have. That’s why you may hear these referred to as performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

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