Anabolic steroids have received more bad press after allegedly claiming the life of a 17-year-old boy this week. Matthew Dear, of Southend, Essex was reportedly taking steroids in preparation for the selection test for the Royal Marines, which he was planning to take in three months time after his 18th birthday.
Lincolnshire GP Dr Derek Dewar has issued a warning stating that the drug is unsafe. He said: “Although the body creates the substance naturally the strain that has been used in the drug has not been properly refined.”
Developed in the late 1930s primarily to treat delayed puberty, impotence and muscle wasting diseases, the drug was soon used in sport to enhance performance. Anabolic steroids are notorious amongst weight trainers as they help muscle tissue repair causing them to gain size very quickly.
As a result there can be many side-effects from use of the substance, which is illegal when not prescribed by a doctor. For men these can include shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts, anger problems and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
The drug can also causes problems for women, such as growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, changes in the menstrual cycle, enlargement of the clitoris and deepening of the voice.
As the drug is so effective and the seriousness of the side effects is not often understood, this can lead to people overlooking them. Dr Dewar admits that he rarely deals with steroid related problems but has seen what psychiatric effects the drug can have.
“I have dealt with one patient who suffered from ‘roid rage’ and the drug has had a long term effect on the stability of his mental health,” said Dr Dewar.
Peter Rogerson, who has been bodybuilding for 20 years and owns a supplement business in Lincoln, feels steroids are unnecessary with the improvements made using legal supplements.
Rogerson said: “Ten years ago I could see why people resorted to steroids but now there are alternatives. Protein is the building block of supplements that helps muscle repair and then there is creatine which increases energy levels and speeds up recovery rates.”
He went on to say: “Now supplements are getting more effective people assume there must be some negative side to them in the same way as steroids but this is not the case”. Dr Dewar also approves of the use of legal supplements which cause no danger to health.
The idea behind the legal supplements is to provide a cheap and practical addition to your diet. One ounce of chicken breast contains roughly seven grams of protein and a protein shake can contain around 40 grams.Tweet