I wrote this article because it appears that “are steroids vegan” is a popular search on Google these days.
To the best of my knowledge, steroids are not vegan*.
*But steroids are technically vegetarian.
Steroids are found in animals, plants, and even fungi. All steroids are manufactured in cells from the sterols lanosterol (animals and fungi) or cycloartenol (plants).
From a nutritional standpoint, vegetarians and vegans don’t need anabolic steroids to bulk up any more than meat-eaters. Vegetarian and vegan bodybuilders tend to be health-conscious people, so they are more likely to shun performance-enhancing drugs.
As vegan bodybuilder, Billy Simmonds commented, “I laugh at the drug tests. I don’t even eat meat!”
ATTENTION: This is not an endorsement of steroids. In no way, am I suggesting that you should use them!
As you know, some bodybuilders decide to take steroids to boost their performance and aesthetics. In moderation, my research shows that not all steroid use is inherently bad.
However, there’s a tendency for their abuse because they work so well.
Steroids Used by Bodybuilders
According to the editors at Steroid.com, an unbiased resource that does not promote, discourage, or sell steroids, there are 32 common types of anabolic androgenic steroids used for performance and therapeutic purposes. These are a few of the most common ones used:
- Anavar (oxandrolone) to promote mass and strength
- Winstrol (stanozolol) for cutting
- Anadrol (oxymetholone) to promote conditioning in cutting cycles
- Dianabol (nandrolone-sypionate) to promote mass, strength, and muscular endurance
- Tren (trenbolone-enanthate) for extreme metabolic enhancement, cutting, mass and strength
- Testosterone to promote mass, strength, and muscular endurance
How Steroids Work
According to Thomas D. Fahey from the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at California State University, steroids work by stimulating receptor molecules in muscle cells, which activate specific genes to produce proteins.
“The effectiveness of anabolic steroids is dependent upon unbound receptor sites in muscle,” he wrote. “Intense strength training may increase the number of unbound receptor sites. This would increase the effectiveness of anabolic steroids.”
Short-Term Side Effects
A medical study published in Sports Medicine found that short-term administration of steroids can increase strength by about 5-20% and increase body weight in increments of 2-5 kilograms. However, the study found that steroids had little to no effect on fat mass or athletic endurance.
Regardless of diet choices, bodybuilding steroids may result in the following short-term side effects:
- Hormone imbalances
- High blood pressure
- Mood changes and depression
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increase in sex drive and aggression
- Increased body hair growth
The Center for Substance Abuse Research cites the following as short-term physical side effects of anabolic steroids on both men and women:
Long-Term Side Effects
There are absolutely no long-term scientific studies done on steroids as of today despite the bombardment of how media portrays the topic. Only speculation and antidotes exist. That being said, here are three “strong possibilities” for long-term physical side effects of anabolic steroids:
- Reduced sexual functioning
- Liver damage (oral steroids)
- Reproductive organ impairment
How Eating Plants Can Benefit Steroid Users
Without exception, proper nutrition is the best supplement for any bodybuilding training routine. According to fitness expert and author, Gary Matthews, “Most steroids allow faster muscle growth through greater recovery, while others help increase strength which allows for greater stress to be put onto a muscle.
“Without food to build the muscle or training to stimulate it nothing will happen. Most of the weight gain seen with the use of some steroids is due to water retention and is not actual muscle.”
Whether taken intravenously, intramuscularly, orally, or topically, the way steroids work in the body is very complex. If you’re going to take steroids, you’re best off keeping your diet as simple as possible.
Your body can only utilize steroids if enough protein is present, so you must get enough plant-based protein in your diet. Since steroids have a cholesterol nucleus in their structure, you need to have enough cholesterol in your diet to synthesize the steroids.
As strength coach, Mark Rippetoe, and Lon Kilgore, Ph.D. point out in their book, Practical Programming for Strength Training, cholesterol is a precursor to testosterone production in the body.
Since steroids can cause blood potassium levels to decrease, you’ll need to get enough potassium in your diet. And if you’re taking oral steroids, which irritate the gastric mucosa and increase HCL secretions, you’ll need to eat foods that neutralize HCL levels.
Dr. John Berardi, Ph.D., author of The Metabolism Advantage points out that dietary fats also come into play because they assist the body’s natural functioning and are critical to tissue regeneration.
While taking steroids, it’s also important to eat five or six meals per day, at the same time each day. Research has shown that regular meals in short intervals induce the body to continuously release insulin.
This is key since insulin transports amino acids to the muscle cell and the body is in an anabolic state. An irregular eating schedule is counterproductive to your fitness routine.
Vegetarian Foods to Eat While Taking Steroids
- Protein-rich foods like quinoa, soy milk, seitan, and peanut butter
- Complex carbohydrate-rich foods like zucchini, potatoes, beans, and asparagus
- Cholesterol-rich foods like eggs with yolk, dried fruits, cashews, and almonds
- Potassium rich foods like bananas, apricots, and dates
- Foods that neutralize HCL like bananas, yogurt, and ginger
Foods to Avoid While Taking Steroids
- Spicy foods
- Alcohol and carbonated drinks
- Lemons, oranges, and other citric fruits
- Coffee and tea with caffeine
- Salty foods
Veganism Is Typically Not Anabolic
Eating a vegan diet does not cause extraordinary muscle growth. Generally speaking, a vegan diet consists of a lot of carbohydrates, low fat, and low protein. These are virtually the worst conditions to build muscle and for natural testosterone production (testosterone is derived from cholesterol).
Vegan bodybuilders have to work hard to engineer their meal plans towards a low-carb, high-fat, high-protein diet. Adding coconut oil, MCT oil, avocado, veggie burgers, vegan protein powders and you can get back in the game easily.
What this means:
Yes, it is harder to build muscle from a standard vegan diet, but not impossible, and you can make the suggested modifications to get into an anabolic state.
Most medical professionals advise against steroid use for performance purposes, but there are ways to lessen the side effects if you choose to use them.
Whether or not you choose to use steroids is a personal choice.
Our goal here at VegetarianBodybuilding.com is not to pass judgment, but to reveal the facts.
A plant-based diet won’t eliminate the negative side effects caused by steroid use, but it can help provide your body with the natural nutrients it needs to restore balance.
For topics related to steroids vegan, watch this video – What Happens When You Take Steroids?
Chris Willitts (creator of V3), is the founder and owner of Vegetarian Bodybuilding.
V3 Vegetarian Bodybuilding System is a mixture of science and author’s advice, providing users with optimal diet and exercise. This system is designed for vegans and vegetarians only.
A lot of research has been put in this program. Furthermore, a lot of professional bodybuilders and athletes tried and tested the program, praising its progressiveness and efficiency.
The program is about taking control of your own body and health according to your potential and needs. And worry not; you’ll get plenty of proteins with this system. It will boost you with energy, and you’ll feel just a strong as any carnivore would (perhaps even stronger, depending on how much you invest in your exercise). It avoids vitamins deficiency and provides you with a lot of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Instead of saying things like “I think a plant-based diet is good for athletes and bodybuilders,” the V3 Vegetarian Bodybuilding System claims “I know a plant-based diet is good for athletes and bodybuilders, and I have results to prove it.”
To find out more, visit the website at V3 Bodybuilding – Facts about Steroids Vegan