Can certain substances serve as a short cut to shaping up? All the facts, right here.
We're talking supplements
Anabolic steroids are often taken in a 'stack' with a number of other drugs and drug-like supplements, or the drug-like supplements may be taken on their own. The use of these supplements seems to have become more common, and in recent years the number of different products available has also increased. Some of the products mentioned below are completely legal to use and are openly sold in health food stores, but others are now considered to be potentially dangerous and their legal status is under review in several different countries. The category of 'drug-like supplements' does not include simpler nutritional supplements such as multivitamins or protein drinks.
This is a chemical that is produced naturally in the human body. It's converted into testosterone and oestrogen, and may pose the same risks to health as anabolic steroids, such as damage to the heart, liver and kidneys, masculine changes in women, mood changes, and erection problems or breast growth in men.
A number of food supplements available as 'training aids' are now thought to contain nandrolone precursors. These are chemical substances that appear to be converted into the anabolic steroid nandrolone when eaten or drunk, and combined with strenuous exercise. If these permitted chemicals are capable of being converted into nandrolone, then it is likely it will have the same health risks as the other anabolic steroids. There have been several cases of athletes who have tested positive for nandrolone and thrown out of competitions, but who strongly deny ever knowingly taking the banned anabolic steroid.
Nalbuphine hydrochloride (Nubaine/Nubain)
This drug is an analgesic (painkiller) that some people inject before a workout. It prevents them feeling the pain of over-exertion, which makes serious injuries much more likely. Nalbuphine also has mood altering effect, and is opiate-based like drugs such as morphine and heroin. This substance is highly addictive, and most heavy steroid users even describe it as 'a junkie's drug'.
Clenbuterol is medically prescribed for the treatment of asthma, but it is sometimes abused because some people think it can burn off fat and slow down the process where the body breaks down protein. Side effects include tremors (shaking), high blood pressure (hypertension), difficulty sleeping, and headaches.
These drugs stimulate the flow of urine, and remove fluids from the body. Bodybuilders sometimes take them before shows to counteract the fluid-retaining side effects of steroids, and to make their muscles appear larger. Unfortunately, strong diuretics also remove vital ions such as potassium along with the fluid, which can cause cramping and collapse.
This is an injectable synthetic hormone that stimulates the body to make more red cells. It allows the blood to carry more oxygen, theoretically increasing a person's ability to exercise, although it has never been shown to improve athletic performance. More cells in the blood makes it thicker, which increases the risk of life-threatening blood clots in deep veins or the lungs, heart attacks and strokes.
This is a stimulant substance that's extracted from a plant known as Ephedra or Ma Huang which is sometimes used in oriental medicine as a tonic. Ephedrine is sold legally in the United States, but is banned in the UK. It gives users an amphetamine-like rush of energy, and is sometimes taken just before a workout to give the user the drive to work harder and push themselves further physically. Side effects include seizures (fits), heart attacks, irregular heart beat, and possibly miscarriage, or even death.
This naturally occurring drug is found incoffee, tea, chocolate, and colas. Large amounts of purified caffeineare added to certain 'training aids' to give an energy boost beforesomeone starts exercising, or it might be taken in the form of caffeinepills. Some 'training aids' mix caffeine with ephedrine, and sometimeswith aspirin. Taking high doses of caffeine causes sleep disturbancesand a feeling of 'jitteriness' or irritability. Deaths from caffeinepoisoning are rare but have been reported occasionally.
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