In any sport, steroids are a common discussion, especially at the competition level. It is very easy to understand why they are illegal in most sports and large federations like IBJJF will test the top Black Belt Adult athletes for steroid use at the highest competition level. Steroids give athletes an advantage so you may be thinking, why not? If you aren't competing, why shouldn't you use steroids and get strong?
Steroids are a common drug and even anti-inflammatory drugs can be a steroid. However, the steroids that are illegal in sports and that need to be avoided are anabolic-androgenic steroids. These drugs often contain testosterone or synthetic androgens that are structurally similar to testosterone. They are expected to enhance the individual's performance by building muscle mass, losing fat and promoting aggressiveness.
Although it may sound appealing to enhance your game and feel like you can beat up everyone at your gym, there are some serious side effects related to steroid use. Here are some of the most common risks and why you should avoid steroid use:
1. High Blood Pressure / Heart Disease: by increasing blood pressure and cholesterol, steroids can lead to heart disease or worse, a stroke.
2. Liver Damage: the liver helps process steroids and can develop tumors or blood-filled cysts that may cause liver failure (known as peliosis hepatitis).
3. Skeletal Damage: younger athletes taking steroids before completing natural growth can experience stunted growth from steroids.
4. Physical Appearance: superficially, athletes on steroids can develop acne rashes, and even balding.
5. Infertility: both men and women who are habitual steroid takers can experience temporary infertility until the effects of the steroids are reversed.
If you're considering taking steroids for reasons that are not medically advised by your health professional, educate yourself on all of the possible side effects before making the decision.