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What Are Legal Steroids? (Are They Really Good)

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

I have worked as a personal trainer for the last decade, and I have always encouraged my clients to grow their muscles without using anabolic steroids.

Knowing the dangers of those very well, I conducted a few interviews with sports experts and wellness professionals to learn about products containing natural ingredients that claim to be legal steroids.

The main goal of my research was to determine whether they are generally safe and effective at increasing muscle mass without harmful side effects and ultimately could they be a viable alternative to performance-enhancing drugs (PEDS).

Let's begin.

Quick Summary

  • Legal steroids are nutritional supplements made from natural ingredients that people can purchase over-the-counter without a prescription.
  • Taking these supplements might help you work out more efficiently at the gym to achieve your fitness goals faster.
  • Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements may not provide the same immediate results as steroids, but they can supplement your fitness efforts without causing serious health conditions.

What Exactly Are They?

A spilled container full of supplement pills

"Legal steroids" is a term used to describe muscle-building supplements that contain a blend of different ingredients that are not banned in sports.

These products are natural alternative options to steroids and may contain some of the substances listed below [1]:

  • Amino acids like BCAAs, Isoleucine, Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline, and Taurine
  • Cognitive enhancers like Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, and Ginkgo biloba
  • Fruit Extracts like Garcinia Cambogia, Bitter Orange, and Guarana
  • Dietary fibers like Fenugreek and Glucomannan
  • Minerals such as Magnesium, Chromium, and Zinc
  • Non-protein amino acid derivatives like Creatine
  • Fat burners like L-Carnitine and CLA
  • Stimulants like Caffeine, Green Tea extract, and Yohimbine
  • Vitamins like Vitamin D and Vitamin B

In many countries like the United States, you do not need a prescription from a physician to purchase, possess, or use these multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements (MIPS) as these are also categorized.

Furthermore, these dietary supplements are readily available over-the-counter because they are considered natural, legal, and safe for human use [2].

Pouring pills on hand

The main differences between these two are in terms of formulation, availability, and potential health risks [3].

Sports nutritional supplements are formulated with natural ingredients in clinically safe and effective doses.

The FDA regulates these products as over-the-counter products because they have few to no side effects, even when used for an extended time to boost athletic performance [4].

On the other hand, anabolic steroids, also called anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), are synthetic derivatives of testosterone.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) categorizes these anabolics as prescription drugs because they pose a higher risk to their users and are intended to treat or alleviate specific medical conditions [5].

Muscular man holding a supplement container

Some of the performance-enhancing benefits of legal supplements include accelerated muscle growth, increased physical stamina, and improved general well-being.

Helps Increase Muscle Size

These nutritional sports supplements may help in building muscle mass by promoting the development and regeneration of the skeletal muscle tissues with ingredients like creatine.

One study found that weight lifters who received creatine supplementation in addition to their resistance training gained three times the amount of muscle fiber growth and twice the amount of body mass as those who did not [6].

Related: How Fast Do Steroids Work to Build Muscle?

Helps Improve Muscle Strength

These nutritional sports supplements may also aid in improving strength by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), thereby increasing alertness and stamina.

Research suggests that certain stimulants found in these supplements, like caffeine, can improve overall strength and power during intense workouts, enabling you to build muscle more easily [7].

Helps Boost Endurance

Natural supplements may boost endurance by supplying amino acids to muscle cells in greater quantities and at a faster rate than a balanced diet can.

 “Your goal should be to get what you need for optimal health through your normal diet, but supplements are a good way to address a deficiency.”

- Albert Matheny, RD, CSCS, Co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab in New York City

According to research, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) can help accelerate muscle recovery, delay fatigue, and boost endurance, resulting in better physical performance outcomes [8].

Helps Improve Energy Levels

A man full of energy smiling while jogging

These supplements may help improve energy by boosting the body’s ability to metabolize the food you eat, giving you more energy and vigor to exercise.

It has also been shown that B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, found in supplements and pre-workouts, help the body produce energy, which is why athletes use them to enhance their athletic performance [9].

Helps Enhance Mental Cognition

These products may enhance mental cognition as well, primarily by increasing blood flow to the brain, which allows the brain to use more oxygen.

According to one study, natural nootropics such as Ginkgo biloba and L-theanine act can help

improve blood circulation by acting as a vasodilator (widener of blood vessels) for small arteries and veins in the brain, resulting in better memory, creativity, and attention [10] [11].

Helps Reduce Body Fat

Pinching side body fats

Natural steroids may help reduce body fat by speeding up the process of fat burning and preventing fat accumulation in the body.

L-carnitine has been shown to speed up the transport of fatty acids into the cell's powerhouse, the mitochondria, where fat is burned for energy [12].

Also, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has been found to increase the amount of fat-metabolizing enzymes in the body, preventing future fat storage [13].

Helps Increase Testosterone Production

These supplements may also increase testosterone production by stimulating the body's production of Luteinizing Hormone (LH), which stimulates the testes to produce more testosterone.

In a 2017 study, Trigonella foenum-graecum, also known as fenugreek, increased total testosterone levels by 1.08 and free testosterone levels by 1.47 fold, respectively [14].

Can They Have Adverse Effects on Health?

Pouring water on a supplement powder

Legal and natural steroids can have some adverse effects on health because certain ingredients can cause mild allergic reactions, jitters, and stomach cramps if the dosage or nature of the ingredients is not right for your body [15].

However, taking steroids with natural ingredients can eliminate the risk of major side effects of conventional anabolics, including excessive facial hair, high blood pressure, and breast tissue growth in men [16].

Furthermore, anabolic steroid users can also experience withdrawal symptoms such as severe depression, loss of appetite, and decreased sex drive, which is uncommon with natural supplements like these [17].

Related Articles:

FAQs

Can You Buy Natural Steroids Over-The-Counter?

You can buy natural steroids over-the-counter because there are no legal restrictions on purchasing steroids containing natural and legal ingredients.

Furthermore, research suggests that some over-the-counter supplements still contain anabolics, even though recent regulations have made them illegal without prescriptions [18].

Is It Safe To Use Legal Steroids?

Yes, it is safe to use legal steroids because they contain premium, high-quality natural ingredients that have been scientifically validated as safe for human consumption. Also, they

are formulated to enhance muscle mass, provide more energy, and improve well-being.

Do Natural Steroids Help Increase Muscle Mass?

Legal steroid supplements can help increase muscle mass because they usually contain science-backed ingredients that help boost energy, strength, endurance, and focus, which are all necessary to improve athletic performance.

Although they may not provide immediate results associated with illegal anabolics, if used consistently with a healthy diet and regular exercise, they can still significantly support your weight loss and muscle-building efforts without nasty side effects.

If you want to give these a try, make sure to check our guide on steroid alternatives that we researched, tried, and tested with our clients for several months.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413194/
  2. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/fda-101-dietary-supplements
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12857663/
  4. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/ExerciseAndAthleticPerformance-HealthProfessional/
  5. https://www.webmd.com/men/anabolic-steroids
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10449017/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839013/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241904/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257642/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5021479/
  11. https://www.insider.com/nootropics
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4967041/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4574006/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5278660/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2700222/
  16. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/anabolic-steroid-misuse/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7509117/
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25684733/
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