Dr Kedar Padte
When my neighbours’ son Andro who was 16-years-old had a queer question, my mind was in for a spin.
He said: “My gym instructor is the most muscular guy in the city but says he has erectile problems. He is now 24-years-old and has been into body building since he was 15-years-old. I wouldn’t have paid attention to his comment except that ever since I have started muscle building drugs, my morning erection seems to have waned.”
I asked what body building substances he uses and he replied “Uncle a large number of supplements are used to gain muscle. They range from creatine, whey protein, egg white, beta-alanine, anabolic steroids, HCG injections and testosterone supplements.”
Creatine is available only in natural animal foods such as beef, tuna or salmon. At three grams per day it can give one’s body building a push.
Since one cannot eat beef and tuna everyday Andro asked if eggs have creatine.
After being informed that eggs do not have creatine he asked what his vegan friends should eat to gain creatine.
The liver converts other amino acids into creatine which is an amino acid itself. Eating a high protein diet and whey protein can help vegans gain muscle. “How many egg whites should I have,” asked Andro.
I suggested a maximum of four egg whites for Andro as he isn’t very tall. However, excess protein is of no use to the muscle and may only put stress on one’s kidneys. Andro then asked if he should increase his carbohydrate intake too. He was informed that it depends on the duration and isotonic/isometric exercises he does.
Good side of steroids: In addition to gains in strength and muscle mass steroids also seem to provide more energy and aggressiveness, things that are conducive to good workouts (but not in interpersonal relationships). Depending on the steroids used one may also get cell voluminising effects that promote a bigger pump.
Psychological effects of steroids: The degree of side effects is directly proportional to the dosage and type of the steroid. It is also dependent of the genetic propensity of the subject. Therefore, it would be impossible to predict what kind of side effects a user might encounter during a period of use.
However, if one has abused the drugs by using high dosages for very long periods of time, one may never be able to re-establish natural testosterone production. One will then need to contact an endocrinologist and possibly stay on low dose testosterone therapy for life.
Types of anabolic steroids available: Anadrol, Dianabol, DecaDurabolin, Testosterone, Proviron, Masteron, Testosterone Suspension and Testosterone Undecanoate.
Steroid users risk developing:
Increased liver function; depression of natural testosterone production; increase in cholesterol levels and blood pressure; altered thyroid function; headaches; nose bleeds; cramps; development of beastlike tissue in men (gynecomastia); insulin insensitivity (even though DecaDurabolin improves the insulin metabolism); androgenic side effects such as thinning hair, enlarged prostate, oily skin, water retention, increased body hair and aggressiveness; stunted growth in teenagers; and accelerated growth of tumours.
Females encounter androgenic side effects.
Some boys use HCG too (human chorionic gonadotropin injections). While temporarily increasing the testosterone production from the testes, the long term use of HCG may be harmful.
The steroids mentioned earlier may stop endogenous testosterone production permanently.
(Columnist is a well-known gynaecologist practising in Panaji. Send in your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org)