by Josh Hodnik
Steroids and other bodybuilding drugs are generally viewed as risky and potentially deadly. This perception has lead anabolic steroids being classified as schedule III drugs along with the painkiller codeine and sedative ketamine. With the exception of anabolic steroids, most drugs in the schedule III category are mind altering and have the potential for dependency and many other health problems. While the dangers of anabolic steroids are often overplayed, there are still risks that shouldn’t be ignored.
There are a large number of bodybuilding drugs available today. While many are relatively safe when used in moderation, there are some that carry a high potential for health problems such as kidney and liver damage, cardiovascular disease, and even death. I will cover six of the bodybuilding drugs that I consider to be the most dangerous available today.
DNP (2,4 dinitrophenol) is a compound that can induce extreme fat-loss in a short period of time. This yellow, crystalline solid is primarily used in the manufacturing of dyes, wood preservatives, and pesticides. The French in the First World War first used it to make explosives. It was observed that workers exposed to DNP when making explosives experienced weight loss, elevated body temperature, and excessive sweating. DNP’s health risks were unknown at this time, and many deaths would result from this exposure. After a study conducted at Stanford University involving DNP in 1931, it found it’s way into many diet medications. It was eventually banned from being sold as a diet aid after several deaths occurred.
DNP works by inhibiting FOF1 ATP, the synthase molecule in the body. ATP is used in transferring energy within cells. The body converts adenosine diphosphate into ATP and converts it back to adenosine phosphate after being used. DNP inhibits this synthesis and energy is expelled as heat. DNP has been shown to cause a metabolic increase by a whopping 50 percent. This can result in fat-loss in the range of a pound per day.
The metabolic increase associated with DNP results in an increase in body temperature. Unlike many drugs that the body builds a tolerance to over time, DNP’s effects are enhanced the longer its taken. As DNP levels increase in the body, so does body temperature. Any miscalculation in DNP can result in a person literally being cooked from the inside out. If a person’s body temperature climbs to high from DNP use, it can result in permanent brain and organ damage, or even death.
Insulin is a powerful anabolic agent that has been used by bodybuilders for many years. Insulin helps to stimulate the formulation of glycogen from glucose. It also helps amino acids and other nutrients reach muscle cells. Insulin has an influence on other hormones that make it very attractive to bodybuilders. It increases IGF (insulin growth factor) and it increases LH (leutenizing hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), both of which increase testosterone production. The increase in testosterone is not much of a benefit to a bodybuilder that’s already taking higher than normal exogenous testosterone, but the increase in amino acid and glycogen uptake from insulin is very anabolic in itself. Insulin has the potential to add a large amount of muscle while increasing strength, but it also has the potential to be very dangerous.
There are many protocols that can be used when taking insulin for bodybuilding purposes. All carry a chance of sending an individual into a hypoglycemic state. If hypoglycemia sets in and simple sugars aren’t ingested quickly, the result could be hypoglycemic shock. This can lead to a number of symptoms ranging from mild to life threatening. These include cold and pale skin, hand tremors, decreased strength and muscle coordination, headaches, and even death. While insulin use can be anabolic, it can also be fatal.
Cheque Drops (Mibolerone)
This steroid was first used to treat dogs that were in heat by shutting down the cycling of their ovaries. After initially being used as a veterinary drug, it was discovered that this steroid could boost aggression in athletes before an event. It was once rumored that Mike Tyson took cheque drops on the night he bit Evander Holyfield’s ear. While this rumor may not be true, this potent steroid will increase aggression, and competitive powerlifters and fighters have used it for years. Not very common, and not highly recommended, this steroid is sometimes used before training sessions to increase workout intensity. Cheque drops are effective as quickly as 30 minutes after ingestion. While this steroid is far more effective than any preworkout in the market today, using it on a regular basis can lead to some serious health concerns.
Cheque drops are a 17aa steroid and can be severely damaging to the liver. Even when used in low doses, this steroid has shown to cause severe illness and liver damage in as little as two weeks. This drug is more anabolic and androgenic than testosterone, but the low toleration of this compound by the liver wont allow someone to take it at a high enough dose to have an impact on muscle growth. Cheque drops can benefit an athlete that may need a surge of aggression before an event, but this steroid is arguably the most liver toxic steroid available today.
Halotestin is an anabolic steroid with very strong androgenic properties. This steroid does not convert to estrogen. So estrogenic side effects such as water retention, gyno, and fat storage are not a concern. Halotestin is much more androgenic than anabolic, which makes it a popular drug among athletes where an increase in strength and not necessarily muscle size is needed. This makes it a favorable steroid for boxers and MMA fighters, where an increase in weight or muscle size may cause a jump in weight classes. Halotestin is a 17aa steroid and it can be a very toxic drug. The possibility of liver damage is a legitimate concern with this drug. Stacking halotestin with other 17aa oral steroids or taking it for prolonged periods of time can compound liver damage. This steroid is often used to bring out a hardening effect leading up to a contest since there is no build up of estrogen. Halotestin is an effective steroid for increasing strength and muscle hardness. Its range of uses is narrow and its very toxic to the liver. Halotestin is one of the more dangerous steroids that a bodybuilder can use. Using a safe steroid such as anavar or primobolan in its place would be a wise choice.
EPO is not commonly used as a bodybuilding drug. As long as there are individuals that are willing to take any drug to improve appearance, regardless of its dangers, we can conclude that there are bodybuilders using EPO. EPO is a naturally occurring hormone that affects red blood cell count (RBC). By increasing RBC from taking synthetic EPO, an increase in oxygen transport and endurance can be expected. This drug is common among endurance athletes such as cyclists. Its believed by some that EPO can increase muscle fullness and vascularity, and this belief has lead some bodybuilders to add this to their drug cycles.
By raising RBC, EPO thickens the blood. This increased blood viscosity increases the risk of heart attacks, blood clots, and strokes. This risk can be increased even further when the heart slows down during sleep. The ability of EPO to turn blood into a sludge like substance can become more of a problem when anabolic steroids are used, which can cause an increase of RBC itself. If dehydration occurs as it does with a bodybuilder on contest day, blood can become so thick from EPO that it can’t circulate throughout the body. This can easily lead to death. EPO use among bodybuilders is rare, but there are people that are set on pushing the envelope to compete.
There is a lack of solid evidence that supports EPO as being beneficial for a bodybuilder. However, there is plenty of data suggesting that this drug can lead to serious problems including death.
Anadrol is an oral steroid that was first developed in the 1960s to treat muscle wasting diseases and anemia. This potent steroid is well known for how quickly it can increase size and strength. Estrogen levels can climb considerably with the use of anadrol, making water retention and gyno major problems. Since much of the weight gained while taking anadrol is in fact water retention, much of it can expected to be lost once use is discontinued. Anadrol use is much more common than the other drugs discussed here. As with cheque drops and halotestin, anadrol is a 17aa oral steroid. Like all steroids in this category, anadrol is liver toxic. Liver enzymes increase dramatically with the use of anadrol. This steroid may not be as liver toxic as cheque drops or halotestin, but its ability to cause damage is a concern. Liver enzymes appear to return to normal when it is used for only 4-6 weeks and use is stopped. When anadrol is used at doses above 100mg a day or for extended periods of time, the potential for permanent liver damage does exist. The dangers of this steroid increase when it is combined with other oral steroids and/or alcohol.
All bodybuilding drugs carry risks. Especially when abused. While some drugs carry more risks than others, the ones discussed here are some of the most dangerous and they should be avoided. There are many very effective bodybuilding drugs available today. And with so many choices available, one doesn’t have to risk their health in order to reach their goals.