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A Closer Look at Testosterone vs Steroids: Effects on Muscle Growth

Julian Carter


testosterone vs steroid

The terms “testosterone” and “steroids” often pop up in fitness and bodybuilding.

However, people often confuse these terms, despite them being very different from each other. 

First of all, testosterone is a hormone naturally produced in the body.

Artificial testosterone used by individuals with low levels is a steroid, but it is legal and safe if prescribed by a doctor and taken in the correct dosage.

In this article, we’ll compare testosterone vs steroids and break down their differences.

We’ll also explore these substances and how they impact muscle development.

Difference between steroids and testosterone

Testosterone is the hormone your body makes on its own, while steroids contain synthetic forms of testosterone used for performance enhancement and muscle growth.

Natural testosterone production is a basis  of male development and muscle growth. 

Testosterone is an essential natural hormone produced in the body, primarily by the testes in males and smaller amounts by the ovaries in females.

It helps regulate protein synthesis, a key muscle repair and growth process. 

According to a study, it is related to men’s growth because it is the primary male sex hormone.

But in certain cases, individuals turn to steroids or testosterone boosters to speed up the process. 

However, using steroids to increase muscle mass can come at a cost. 

These steroids can produce high amounts of testosterone along with other harmful chemicals such as its many esters, nandrolone esters (typically nandrolone decanoate and nandrolone phenylpropionate), stanozolol, and methandienone, etc.

Long term use of these steroids can lead to many health hazards such as liver damage, acne, cholesterol problems, dangerous changes in your heart, etc.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy vs steroids

Testosterone vs SteroidSource: Pixelshot
Injection and vial of Testosterone

Individuals with low testosterone levels often go for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) under the guidance of a doctor. And testosterone is a commonly used medicine in TRT.

TRT aims to restore hormonal balance and alleviate related symptoms through various methods such as testosterone pills, injections, patches, etc. 

It involves careful testosterone administration under medical supervision, ensuring a more controlled approach to muscle growth.

Testosterone is also available in synthetic forms in anabolic steroids along with other chemicals.

However, taking testosterone without a doctor’s permission and at a very high dosage is considered steroid abuse.

Steroids are synthetic substances often used to replicate testosterone’s effects. They are illegal, especially in sports.

Steroids can have a similar effect as TRT, but their synthetic nature can lead to unpredictable outcomes and health risks.

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  • Testosterone vs anabolic steroids

    According to a 2023 study, Anabolic steroids, often referred to as “steroids,” are synthetic derivatives of testosterone. 

    While both TRT and anabolic steroids can promote muscle growth, anabolic steroids are known for having more potent effects. 

    However, unlike TRT, anabolic steroids are often taken in higher doses.

    Anabolic steroids are mostly used by athletes and bodybuilders looking for quick gains, but they may also experience negative consequences. 

    In contrast, TRT focuses on medically addressing low testosterone levels.

    It provides a safer and more controlled way to promote muscle growth without the extreme risks.

    If you’re suffering from low testosterone, you should always consult a doctor and go for safe methods for increasing testosterone rather than relying on steroids.

    Side effects of steroids and TRT

    AcneSource: pixelshot

    The appeal of rapid muscle development through steroids might seem tempting, but it’s crucial to acknowledge the potential side effects. 

    According to Healthline, steroids can disrupt the body’s natural hormone balance.

    It can lead to unwanted side effects such as hair loss, acne, and even more severe health issues like liver damage and cardiovascular problems.

    There are also certain misconceptions related to steroids. For instance, some people think steroids make the penis smaller, but there is no scientific proof.

    Meanwhile TRT, under medical supervision, addresses low testosterone levels effectively.

    TRT offers benefits such as improved mood, energy levels, muscle mass, and reduced risk of osteoporosis. 

    It aims to bring testosterone levels back to a healthy range. However, there can be certain testosterone side effects, if misused, such as sleep apnea, skin allergies, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, etc.

    If you are a sportsperson, unauthorized use of steroids can lead to serious health and legal complications. Be very careful about your decisions.

    Safety and legality

    When it comes to legality, Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is a medically sanctioned approach to address low testosterone levels. 

    It involves carefully monitored administration of testosterone under the guidance of a doctor. 

    Meanwhile, using steroids for performance enhancement is illegal and poses health risks as it contains extremely high doses of testosterone.

    It can also lead to certain severe legal consequences

    Recommended Article
    Before you go for TRT, be sure to look out for low testosterone causes and symptoms in your body.

    Summing up

    The choice between Testosterone Replacement Therapy and steroids for muscle growth requires a thorough understanding of the potential benefits, risks, and legality. 

    Both options contribute to muscle development. However, using steroids can result in severe health complications. 

    TRT offers a safer alternative for individuals with diagnosed low testosterone levels. 

    It also helps enhance muscle growth with medical help.

    So clearly, in the testosterone vs steroids battle, the safe and legal testosterone method wins.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are steroids and testosterone the same thing?

    No, they are not the same.
    Testosterone is a steroid, but its safe use under medical supervision is legal and safe.
    However, abused steroids are synthetic substances that mimic the effects of testosterone and have side effects.

    What’s the difference between testosterone and steroids?

    Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone in the body. At the same time, steroids are synthetic compounds that include high doses of testosterone along with other harmful chemicals designed to replicate testosterone’s effects.

    What’s safer, testosterone or steroids?

    Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) under medical supervision is generally safer than using anabolic steroids, which can lead to severe health risks.

    Can you take testosterone instead of steroids?

    Yes, Testosterone Replacement Therapy is a medical option to address low testosterone levels. It should only be carried out under the guidance of a doctor.

    Is testosterone a form of steroids?

    Technically, yes, testosterone is a steroid, but it is safe when used under a doctor’s prescription and guidance is used by individuals whose bodies don’t produce enough of this hormone to carry out various bodily functions smoothly.

    Are testosterone boosters better than steroids?

    Testosterone boosters aim to enhance the body’s testosterone production naturally. In contrast, steroids are synthetic compounds that can have more potent effects but also greater risks However, consult a doctor before using testosterone boosters or other hormonal supplements, as they can have side effects too.

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