Steroid dangers highlighted

By Deborah Condon

Athletes who use anabolic steroids to enhance their performance are putting their future health seriously at risk, the results of a new study indicate.

According to researchers, the use of these steroids may significantly increase a person's susceptibility to viral infections and different types of cancer, even if used at doses 50 times less than those commonly used by steroid abusers. This is because they weaken a vital part of the body's immune system.

The study involved 24 people, divided into two groups, who were based at a training camp. The participants in one of the groups were injected with an anabolic steroid, while the others were injected with a placebo. However the participants were not told which they had been injected with.

Both groups were then put through a training regime under the supervision of an Olympic standard coach. They were monitored for six weeks.

The researchers found that the effectiveness of NK (natural killer) cells, a type of white blood cell that is crucial to the body's immune system, was reduced by 20% in those who had been injected with steroids.

This reduction comes on top of the already reduced immune system that many athletes have through stressing their bodies with intensive training, according to Dr Robert Weatherby, who led the study at the Southern Cross University in Australia.

The research team believe that this 20% reduction in NK cell activity is probably even greater at the higher level of steroids normally taken by sports people and bodybuilders.

"Even at the doses we gave - 50 times less than those commonly used by athletes and bodybuilders - and for a period of only six weeks, the body's ability to defend itself against viruses and cancers is likely to be significantly lessened", Dr Weatherby said.

The researchers also discovered significant psychological changes in those who had been injected with steroids. Unlike other drugs, which merely alter mood for a short time, this study indicates that steroids may actually cause a change to human personality, something which is normally stable throughout life.

Those taking anabolic steroids were less empathetic towards other people and were also less sensitive to the effects of their actions on others.

The study was carried out in conjunction with Channel 4 and New Scientist magazine.


Anonymous - 20/08/2004 10:48

And the disturbing thing is, these drugs can beoughtover theweb with great abandon and little control by anyone who has the money to do so.

hermon(KFI11496) - 21/08/2004 13:54

Athletes frequently use steroids to raise and inhance their performance. The use of steroids results in weekening the immune system, thus causing several disease. In our studies steroids causes the reduction of the NK cells activity. The intake of steroids changes ones personality.

hermon(KFI11496) - 21/08/2004 17:20

It is greatfull that in the Athens Olimpic Games a careful wachout is being taken on doppig drug such as steroids, and if necessary the athletes are disquilified.

Anonymous - 23/08/2004 08:37

Hernon, in your first psting, you hit of exactly whatthe report highlihted. You might let us know tho', exactly what NK cells are. Also, as regards, personality change, those on drugs whichincrease their testosterone, can experience, agression and rage more easily. It should not be forgotten that te study refers to the over-use of steroids amonf athletes. It should be borne in mindthat for many suffereing from slin and lung problems, steroid use under medical supervision is sometimes the only thing which makes life bearable for the sufferer.

Anonymous - 23/08/2004 09:03

Does taking steroids eg Prednisol fby children have the same side effects?

John(johnwilliams) - 23/08/2004 20:55

To anonymous 23/08/04 regarding your query about Prednesol in children. The report studied anabolic steroids - Prenesol is not an anabolic steroid. As wellas that the report studied excessive dosage. In the case of prednesol it would have been prescribed by your doctor and dispensed by your pharmacist and both would have checked the dose. Of course anyone fooish enough to buy these products over the internet is asking for trouble.

Anonymous - 24/08/2004 08:18

John there is another postng available regarding buying drugs over the web. Yes, it is important to differentiate between the use of anabolic steriods (or even sterols which areplant derived but dothe same thing) and steroids whichb are medically perscribed for a complaint or illness.

googie - 10/04/2009 00:44

wer can u get anabolic steroids in ireland?

Anonymous - 14/04/2009 14:09

Googie, steriods need to be presribed by your doctor and dispensed by your pharmacist and should only be used to treat specific illnesses yunder medically qualified supervison - any other use of method of attainment is quite frankly very stupid and ;likely to get you into a lot of legal trouble given that it may be contrary to the law.

Russel - 01/05/2009 23:08

Does account for all types of steriods, example I'm on steriods up and down for the last two yrs. Have lung disease and keep getting infections. For the last year I'm on the steriods constantly. Just like to know if it is possible that these are doing more harm than good. I just cant shake off the infections without the help of the steriods, infection will go for about three days and back it comes as nasty as ever, does any of you with comments suffer with the same problem, if so did you eventually get it under control. Honestly I think I'm losing the battle?


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