by Ed Barillas, Staff Writer
In this article I will do my best to describe the effects of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids in the human body. I will try to portray a general view of this instead of pointing out each individual steroid.
First off, you have the anabolic-androgenic steroids, which can be classified into two types – one being injectable and the other oral. When you eat food or anything orally the vast majority of it goes through the liver before entering the bloodstream. As such, injectable AAS cannot be taken orally since the liver will deactivate the steroids in this first passing. The liver uses hydroxyl groups to increase the solubility of the molecules in water and thus makes urine excretion easier to accomplish.
Next you have oral steroids, which involves the modification of the parent steroid to make it rougher for the live to deactivate the steroid molecules. This involves the addition of an alkyl group at the 17 position of the steroid ring. Herein the live can still try to deactivate the steroid but is not as effective as the in-modified steroids. In effect oral steroids go through many cycles through the bloodstream before it gets excreted through the urine. Note here that many oral steroids are excreted from the body with out a change.
Injectable steroids are highly degraded in just one passing through the liver. Many have asked why injectable steroids can still be effective. Simply said, it is because there is a reservoir, which allows a regular release of steroids into the bloodstream, and as a steroid is released into the bloodstream by the liver more steroid is released into the bloodstream from the reservoir. Therefore there are several ways to aid to such a deposit of the steroid.
Next in this process is to use the suspension process which is to use pure testosterone suspended in water and since testosterone has a low solubility in the water the crystals slowly dissolve on the watery environment of the tissue into which it is injected. Therefore the dissolved testosterone is carried through the body by the bloodstream. For example in a testosterone suspension, the reservoir is the actual crystal area where the injection is made and such the crystals do not go to another part of the body wherein the presence of the crystalline testosterone can cause little pain at the injection site. Keep in mind that the testosterone dissolves at a steady constant rate and will last for a few days in the body.
Esters are another way to add a deposit of a steroid and are used in a water insoluble manner of the steroid, which can be converted in the body to the parent steroid that has some solubility in the water. Therefore the parent molecule is esterified with an organic acid and the resulting ester is soluble in oil but only slightly soluble in water. Very often used organic acids are acetate propionate, enanthate, undecylenate and decanoate. Remember that the longer the carbon chain of the acid the more oil soluble the ester will be and the longer it will take for the ester to turn into the parent steroid or de-esterification. A type of enzyme that can be found within the body makes facilitates the esterification reaction in both ways and such it can also attach an organic acid back onto the parent steroid. Take testosterone enanthate, which can actually be turned into testosterone palmitate. Keep in mind that many esters out there are stored in fat cells. It is also believed that esters develop a reservoir of oil/ester that hangs out in the injection site. But oddly enough this is not true while the reservoir idea is true for esters since they slowly release the parent steroid over a period of time, the esters actually disperse throughout the body after the injection before and during the de-esterification reaction to form the parent steroid and they do not stay in the injection area. Take ester testosterone enanthate that has been discovered in tissues through the body including the hair samples of test subjects who have injected T200. If a bio-contaminated one is introduced at the same time as the injection, the body will try to encapsulate the contaminated material and an abscess will form and in this case it will appear as if the ester solution will disperse. Always keep in mind that injecting too much at one site or injecting many times in one site will NOT cause an abscess.
Once the oral steroid has been absorbed from the intestine or a steroid has been released from the reservoir it is passed throughout the body in the bloodstream. Such carrier proteins such as sex hormones and albumin binding globulin can bind around 98% of testosterone under the natural conditions and as such only around 2% of the hormone of free to carry out its orders. When an exogenous steroid is present the level of free steroid is larger than 2% of the hormone is when it is unbound to some of the proteins but is constantly binding and un-binding from a protein. Therefore, at any given time around 2% of the hormone is unbound in the natural state. If the 2% unbound hormone all of a sudden disappears, then the protein would release more hormone such that 2% of the remainder would come unbound. Don’t forget that the bloodstream is the mechanism by which the hormones reach their target tissues.
Once a free molecule of steroids reaches the muscle cells it diffuses into a cell. This diffusion can be with or without transport protein help and once it has reached the cells the AAS makes its way to the cell nucleus where it can attach itself to an androgen receptor and activate the receptor. It is interesting that 2 of these activated receptor complexes are joined together to create the androgen response element. This androgen response element (ARE) interacts with DNA in the nucleus and increases the transcription of certain genes such as muscle protein genes. Keep in mind that the AAS and the receptors are n a state of flux as well as with the carrier proteins. The AREs can be deactivated by losing one of the two steroids that are bound to the androgen receptors. This set equilibrium situation shows us why 1 gram per week of testosterone is more effective than ½ gram per week even as ½ gram appears to be more than enough to saturate all of the ARs in your body. The higher concentration is what makes it likely more that the receptors will be occupied by an AAS and the ARE will interact for a far longer stretch of time.
Androgen receptor activation is the key mechanism in the action of AAS. This mechanism however does not explain the difference between steroids. Another action involves firstly the central nervous system and includes actions such as motor activation and mood. These mechanisms in which AAS effect these actions is not understood at this time. Other actions occur in the liver where some steroids instigate the release of particular growth factors and these different actions of the separate AAS shows is why a stack of two different types of AAS is way better than only using one by itself.
The liver is the main passageway to deactivation of steroids as the chemical structure is changed here to make the steroid more soluble in water for excretion through the kidneys. A good portion of many kinds of steroids are also excreted as is without any alteration by the liver or by creation of the sulphate which is a lot more water soluble. There are a lot of well-informed folks out there that think that AAS causes liver damage since the levels of some types of enzymes like AST and ALT are elevated when steroids are used. Elevated levels of these enzymes are seen in patients with liver damage but from other causes so one can conclude that AAS must cause liver damage since the enzymes are elevated. But in reality, recent work has shown that a true marker of liver damage, GGT, remains unchanged when some AAS are used and many ask whether AAS are really damaging the liver.
So there you have it, a short and to the point starting guide to steroids for newbies, be sure to know that the author does not condone the use of steroids by anyone not under the care and supervision of a qualified medical professional.