Difference between Steroids and Supplements
Key Difference: Steroids are fat-soluble organic compounds that are naturally present and produced in the human body. These are responsible for a wide range of physiological development such as reproductive growth, tissue regeneration, and caloric synthesis in the human body. Supplements, also known as dietary supplement, food supplement, nutritional supplements, are pills or powders that are developed in order to provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that a person may be missing during their daily diet.
In today’s impatient world, people want everything quick and fast, even when it comes to body building, exercising, losing weight and anything else. The days of working long and hard to complete a goal are long gone, instant results are what people want. Due to this, there has been a significant rise in use of steroids and other drugs in order to build muscles and boost training. However, because of their negative impact, governments have started taking action and have asked people to refrain from using these drugs. The reduction in steroids has increased the use of a healthier component, supplements.
Steroids are fat-soluble organic compounds that are naturally present and produced in the human body. These are responsible for a wide range of physiological development such as reproductive growth, tissue regeneration, and caloric synthesis in the human body. Steroids such as the dietary fat cholesterol, the sex hormones estradiol and testosterone, and the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone are naturally present in the human body. A steroid is a type of compound which contains a characteristic arrangement of four cycloalkane rings that are joined to each other. Steroids can be classified into three types: corticosteroids, anabolic steroids and sex steroids.
The natural steroid hormones are generally synthesized from cholesterol in the gonads and adrenal glands. These forms of hormones are lipids. They are fat-soluble and can usually pass through cell membranes, bind to steroid hormone receptors and then bring about changes within the cell. In addition to natural steroids, synthetic steroids are also available under the name of anabolic steroid. Anabolic steroids are drugs that mimic the effects of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone in the body. They increase protein synthesis within cells, which results in the buildup of cellular tissue (anabolism), especially in muscles.
Most common uses of steroids are in body- building, developing muscles and increasing performance in sports. Certain steroids such as corticosteroids have a variety of medical uses in treating illnesses such as inflammation in the body like asthma, arthritis, eczema, and even cancer. Other types of steroids can also be used for bone marrow stimulation, growth stimulation, appetite and preservation and increase of muscle mass, to accelerate puberty in late bloomers, male contraception, prevention of bone loss, hormone replacement and gender identity disorder. Artificial testosterone, a type of steroid, can be used in order to help treat infertility, correcting hormonal imbalances and as a contraceptive. Steroids can be administered through inhaling, injecting, orally or in gel form to apply directly. Though artificial steroids have medical uses, excessive and prolonged usage of steroids for wrong purpose can result in adverse effects such as liver damage, high blood pressure, baldness, heart failure, etc. It can also cause psychiatric effects such as mood disorders, aggression, hypomania, suicidal thoughts, etc.
Supplements, also known as dietary supplement, food supplement, nutritional supplements, are pills or powders that are developed in order to provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that a person may be missing during their daily diet. In some countries these are classified under foods, while in others it is known as drugs or health products. These are for use in addition to a person’s average diet and should not replace the diet in any manner.
A type of popular supplement, known as body building supplement, is a type of dietary supplement that is used by athletes and body builders. These supplements are used to enhance weight gain, promote weight loss or improve athletic performance. The most popular supplements are vitamin supplements, protein, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), glutamine, essential fatty acids, meal replacement products, creatine, weight loss products and testosterone boosters. Dietary supplements have shown results similar to those as steroids, however eliminating the risks.
Supplements come in liquid, power, tablet and capsule form and are classified depending on their nutritional benefits. Body builders most commonly use supplements that are high in protein as it is much most helpful in creating muscles. Supplements which are the closest to anabolic steroids are Ginseng, creatine monohydrate, protein and fat-loss supplements. According to studies, though the supplements perform similar results to anabolic steroids, they are safe and have little or no side-effects. However, nutritionists and fitness experts recommend a proper diet, regular exercise and training in addition to the supplements.
Image Courtesy: e-steroid.com, johnalvino.com