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Does Your Body Produce Steroids? (From A Doctor)

Donald Christman
Published by Donald Christman
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

Over the years, I've trained many athletes and bodybuilders who perceived steroids just as synthetic products designed to speed up muscle growth and improve performance.

Steroids are primarily produced by the body, and they were synthesized in the lab less than a century ago to actually mimic the structure and function of their natural counterparts produced by our glands.

To help my clients and readers understand that and the fact that steroids have many different functions besides muscle building, I spoke to an endocrinologist who’s a friend of mine and has a Ph.D. in Sports Medicine to dive deep into this topic.

Here’s what I’ve found out.

Quick Summary

  • The human body naturally produces steroids, including cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen.
  • By getting enough sleep, eating healthy fats, and exercising regularly, you can help your system produce adequate amounts of steroid hormones.
  • In addition, combining a healthy lifestyle with legal steroids that contain vitamins, minerals, and nootropics can increase your steroid production.

Is It Possible to Produce Natural Steroids?

Flexing left arm muscles

It is possible for the body to produce natural steroids through the process of steroidogenesis, where cholesterol is converted into biologically active steroids [1].

The natural production of steroids is incredibly important to maintaining the body's normal physiological processes and regulation of immune response, inflammation, and nutrient metabolism [2].

In addition to steroids, the body can produce amino acid derivatives that can act similarly to steroids.

Here are some of those steroid and steroid-like compounds that our bodies naturally produce:

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is the most common steroid in the body, and it serves as a precursor to all steroid hormones.

It is synthesized in the liver, brain, and bloodstream, and including moderate amounts in your diet can help you keep a hormonal balance [3].

Natural Steroid Hormones

A man with perfect abs

Testosterone

Testosterone (T) is the male sex hormone responsible for regulating sexual desire, fat distribution, and healthy bones and muscles in men.

It can also contribute to the healthy production of sperm and blood cells [4].

The region in the brain called the hypothalamus, and the pituitary gland, which it controls, both affect testosterone production, which is produced in the gonads (testes and ovaries), where the Leydig cells synthesize and secrete testosterone.

The hypothalamus gives instructions to the pituitary gland on how much testosterone to make, and then the pituitary gland instructs the gonads: in men, the testes, and in women, the ovaries [5].

Both genders can produce a small amount of testosterone in the adrenal glands as well.

The effects of testosterone on muscle development are very well-researched, and that’s what’s in focus the most for bodybuilders.

For example, in a 1989 study, testosterone administration accelerated muscle protein synthesis in all subjects by 27 percent, resulting in significant gains in muscle mass [6].

Furthermore, research has found that men may increase their natural T levels by eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of quality sleep, and supplementing with natural testosterone boosters [7].

Estrogen and Progesterone

Woman with fit body

These two main female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone are also produced in the gonads (testes and ovaries) and are responsible for normal sexual and reproductive development and for keeping bones and muscles strong in women [8].

Research suggests that estrogen can directly influence the structure of muscles, tendons, and ligaments which may help in improving muscle and bone mass and strength [9].

Moreover, research has shown that women can boost their estrogen and progesterone levels by consuming various healthy foods, reducing stress, and keeping a healthy body weight [10].

Cortisol

Cortisol is another steroid hormone that can be produced naturally in the adrenal glands, and it regulates your body's response to stress and controls carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism [11].

According to research, cortisol may help accelerate higher muscle gains. In a study conducted on children, it was found that a decrease in cortisol in the blood led to more fat and less muscle tissue [12].

Furthermore, long-term exposure to either high or low cortisol levels may result in certain health conditions such as Cushing syndrome and Addison's disease [13].

You can keep your cortisol balanced by practicing mindfulness, working out regularly, and reducing alcohol intake [14].

Calcitriol (D Hormone)

Woman smiling holding drinking water

Calcitriol, or D hormone, is a metabolite of Vitamin D responsible for promoting healthy bone formation by increasing calcium absorption and maintaining serum calcium levels [15].

Research has found that supplementation of D vitamins is associated with significant improvements in muscle size and strength by preventing oxidative stress and promoting muscle regeneration [16].

Moreover, it has been shown that the parathyroid hormone (PTH) in the body stimulates the production of calcitriol, and taking high doses of Vitamin D and magnesium can help in increasing PTH levels [17] [18].

Related: Is Vitamin D a Steroid?

Natural Amino Acid Derivatives That Act like Steroids

Woman in gym touching her arm muscles

Creatine

Creatine is derived from three amino acids, glycine, arginine, and methionine, and it is synthesized in the liver. It has been shown to improve muscle strength, cognition, and physical performance [19] [20].

"Creatine supplementation does not build muscle directly. But it does have an indirect effect. You can work out more intensely, and this translates into muscle gains."

- Susan Kleiner, Sports Nutritionist, Seattle

Several studies on the combined effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training found an average increase of 8 percent in muscle strength and 14 percent in weightlifting performance [21].

Moreover, consuming certain foods such as red meat and fish and taking nutritional supplements can help you increase your levels of creatine in the body [22].

D-Aspartic Acid

D-aspartic acid (DAA) is an amino acid that is primarily found in the pituitary gland and testes, and it is not used to build proteins but instead regulates the production and release of testosterone in the body [23].

In research studies, DAA has been shown to increase testosterone levels in men who do not exercise but did not affect its levels in those who train regularly [24].

It has been found that eating meat such as beef and chicken breast, oysters, and eggs and taking herbal supplements can help increase DAA levels in the body [25].

How Can You Boost Your Body's Production Naturally?

Woman stretching outdoor

You can boost your body's steroid production naturally by exercising regularly, eating food that contains natural steroids, and taking supplements including vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are proven to stimulate natural production.

Engaging in Regular Exercise

According to a study, increasing physical activity in inactive individuals can slightly improve levels of steroids in the body.

Furthermore, it has been shown that the higher the intensity of the exercise can further give a significant increase in hormone levels [26].

Eating Certain Foods

Foods, such as milk and meat products, fish, and poultry, can influence hormone production and release by altering the levels of various metabolites in the blood [27].

Moreover, researchers have found that eating bananas with bromelain enzyme may increase testosterone levels while eating fava beans can increase growth hormone levels [28].

Multi-ingredient bodybuilding supplements contain blends that may stimulate the synthesis of certain hormones in the body.

Supplements containing Vitamin D, Zinc, and nootropics such as Ashwagandha and DAA, for example, may aid in the stimulation of testosterone production [29].

What Are the Benefits of Natural Production?

Some of the benefits of natural steroid production include increased strength, muscle size, and endurance without the negative effects associated with anabolic steroids.

Moreover, boosting testosterone levels naturally can help men in the following ways [30]:

  • Reduce excess body fat
  • Increase sexual drive
  • Enhance blood circulation
  • Improve erectile dysfunction
  • Increase muscle growth

In addition, while steroids can be produced by the body naturally through a healthy diet and exercise program, supplementing with natural alternatives to anabolic steroids can boost testosterone even faster and with no harmful side effects.

Are There Risks to Boosting Natural Steroid Production?

A person in bad that can't sleep well

There are no reported health risks associated with boosting steroid production through supplement use, even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't approve most supplements, except creatine in short-term use [31].

However, there are some minor and temporary side effects you can expect when you are a first-time user, including:

FAQs

What Differs Natural Steroids From Synthetic Steroids?

Natural steroids differ from synthetic steroids in their methods of production and safety of use.

Unlike man-made versions of steroids, which may cause an increased risk of high blood pressure over long-term use, natural steroids are produced using natural sources and are safe for human consumption.

Can Natural Steroids Enhance Athletic Performance?

Yes, natural steroids can enhance athletic performance by improving muscle strength, attention, and tolerance to high-intensity resistance training.

When all these processes take place, bigger muscles are gained more quickly, which leads to better performance.

How Long Does Your Body Take To Produce Natural Steroids?

Your body continuously produces natural steroids, but it may take several months to boost them if you want to build muscles quickly or restore their levels during times of deficiency.

Although there are several proven ways to increase testosterone levels, I always advise my clients to consider adding natural and legal steroid-like supplements to their healthy diet and consistent workout to accelerate their performance and muscle building further.

Our team has tried and tested several legal alternatives to anabolic steroids, which were able to provide comparable results for our clients in terms of building muscle mass noticeably faster but without negative health effects.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365799/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/steroid-hormone
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2757135/
  4. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/understanding-how-testosterone-affects-men
  5. https://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/testosterone/ 
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2917954/
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322508#natural-ways-to-maintain-testosterone
  8. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/estrogens-effects-on-the-female-body
  9. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2018.01834/full
  10. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22354-low-estrogen
  11. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22187-cortisol
  12. https://bmcpediatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12887-021-02837-3
  13. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/cortisol-test
  14. https://www.bodylogicmd.com/blog/how-to-balance-cortisol-levels-and-relieve-your-symptoms-of-chronic-stress/
  15. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/calcitriol
  16. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2021.660498/full
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3677418/
  18. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypoparathyroidism/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355381
  19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21387089/
  20. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-creatine/art-20347591
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14636102/
  22. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263269
  23. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Aspartic-Acid.aspx
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5571970/
  25. https://www.livestrong.com/article/518754-foods-high-in-d-aspartic-acid/
  26. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33890158/
  27. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3888442/
  28. https://fruitsandveggies.org/stories/8-great-natural-fruit-and-veggie-aphrodisiacs/ 
  29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6920068/
  30. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/testosterone-and-the-heart
  31. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2048496/
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