While anabolic steroids receive negative press as an accomplice in athletic cheating, they are drugs with the potential for both beneficial and damaging effects. Like any drug, effectiveness depends on dosage. A higher dose may or may not increase the desired effect, but higher doses can exponentially increase the damaging or toxic effects. Ethical use of steroids depends on intent and the personal health of the user, as that is the body most impacted.
Steroids typically require a prescription from a doctor. Some doctors use steroids to relieve pain or to treat muscular diseases. There is nothing unethical about the medical use of steroids. The drug treats a disease and athletic cheating is not the main concern. Use of anabolic steroids can be an option for a healthy adult in order to create muscle mass.
Off the bat, steroids are more practical for men to use than women. Steroids are chemically similar to testosterone, and so a woman who used these drugs might suffer unsightly changes to her body. Women who do use steroids are forced to apply very small doses and often in combination with other drugs. Men might expect to experience greater manliness, but this is not guaranteed.
Steroids increase muscle mass when combined with regular exercise and a good diet. Testosterone promotes muscle development, but muscles must still be exercised in order to strengthen and grow. Just because a chemical is present in the body, it does not mean that all desirable effects will be experienced. For steroids to work, men must spend hours at the gym and must attend the gym frequently.
Diet is the greatest factor in muscle growth. Whenever muscles are used intensely, they undergo strain. They burn calories and they also burn amino acids and nutrients. These must be replenished in order for muscle to repair itself and grow. A person who works out but who does not take vitamin pills or a large amount of protein will likely experience limited muscle growth. In fact, his muscles will hurt for longer periods of time because of slow repair.
Muscle growth requires a high protein diet that is also rich in nutrients. This means finding an inexpensive source of protein, but also consuming different forms of protein. Rice and beans are a source of fiber and protein, but so are bread, lentils, oatmeal, and eggs. Eating salads promote weight loss and are also a valuable source of vitamins and amino acids. In other words, an athlete requires an excellent diet in excess. This can be very expensive without a thorough knowledge of nutrition.
The biggest ethical concern of anabolic steroid use is overuse. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. The body does not like its muscles too big, but steroids allow them to grow bigger. Very large muscles are not necessarily good for health, and the body might react chemically to a high dose of anabolic steroids. Some men have grown breasts because their bodies overcompensated for steroid abuse.